Posted by: malcolmjamesjwells | 25/02/2015

In the path of Cyclone Marcia

We had been awake since 4am, waiting for the arrival of Cyclone Marcia. The imminent arrival of the storm was presaged by a slow but sure build-up of wind and rain. We ate breakfast in silence, watching the moody grey sky and wondering what it had in store for us.

As the morning wore on the rain became steadier, the wind blew more fiercely. We look out over a normally placid scene of mangroves that give way to the sea. On the horizon we can see half a dozen of the Keppel Islands. As the morning wore on the islands disappeared behind a wall of driving rain. Then the mangroves were gone and we could barely see the road at the bottom of the slope on which our house perches. Occasionally the wind died slightly, only to return in ferocious gusts. The rain began to pump under the windows and we placed towels along the sills to soak up the moisture. We would eventually move all the furniture to one side of the room, the tiled floor smothered with sodden towels that we occasionally rung into buckets and emptied. It was a losing battle and soon the floor resembled a wading pool, the rain spurting up in little fountains before running down the lower panes of glass. The windows shook, rattled and bowed inwards.

At 11am the house went silent as the radio died and we lost power. No point in putting the standby radio on just yet; there was nothing more they could tell us now. We were on our own for the duration.

At the height of the storm we watched in horror as the roof of our upper deck began rising and falling with the gusts, expecting it to fly away at any time. Luckily it held fast and is still with us. The bistro blind was not so lucky, and now lies shredded and awaiting disposal. At one time I had to dash out to secure it, fighting the gale force winds and stinging rain to re-tie the ropes securing it.

One of the big chunky chairs that we had thought immovable eventually slid along the deck. It bounced down three steps and lay upended on the lower deck. Anticipating it would soon fly away I elected to return it to its original position. Opening the sliding glass door, and battling through the swirling wind and driving rain I dragged the recalcitrant chair upstairs and secured it. My wife opened the door as I tried to return indoors. Before I could step into safety a gust of wind pushed me backwards and almost swept me off my feet. I saw the look of horror on my wife’s face and imagine mine must have looked the same. For a brief moment I thought it would sweep me over the balcony, but I grabbed the door frame and was soon safely inside.

For the next couple of hours all we could do was watch, wait and listen. I have heard some people compare the noise to a jet plane or a speeding train. I heard the noise but it didn’t register; I just wanted it all to end.

By 2pm we breathed a cautious sigh of relief, the wind was still strong and the rain came in horizontal sheets but the worst seemed to have passed. We were safe and the house seemed relatively unscathed; that was enough for now. We would put the radio on, tidy up a bit and start to concentrate on getting back to normal as soon as possible.

I would go out in the morning to see what damage the cyclone had caused.

 

Cyclone 2

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