Not as nice as Larry Emdur.
March 20, 2006 2:31 PM   Subscribe

[Newsfilter] Australia's far north has been hit by a tropical cyclone, named Larry, likened by some to have been powerful as Hurricane Katrina, and considered worse than Cyclone Tracy, which virtually wiped Darwin off the face of the map just over 30 years ago.

The ABC has captured some stunning footage which shows the worst affected town of Innisfail both during the storm, and in its aftermath. [Win Broadband, Real Broadband]. [more inside]
posted by Effigy2000 (38 comments total)

 
Thankfully it seems that no-one has been killed by this powerful storm, however I've not heard squat about how Larry affected remote Aboriginal communities in the Cape area as it moved inland. I suspect that many, if not all, of these communities will have been equipped to handle this event. If there were any fatalities they will be here.

But whether you're indigenous or not, alot of people have been affected by this disaster, so it's worth noting that the Red Cross has started an appeal for help to help the victims of Larry.
posted by Effigy2000 at 2:32 PM on March 20, 2006


I wouldn't say stunning, exactly. More atmospheric.
posted by mert at 2:54 PM on March 20, 2006


Katrina wasn't actually that strong when it made landfall, it just so happend we had this city below sea level, see...
posted by delmoi at 3:13 PM on March 20, 2006


Where are the looters?
posted by ColdChef at 3:22 PM on March 20, 2006


delmoi: Biloxi-Gulfport and environs do not sit below sea level--and neither do some parts of New Orleans, for that matter. But NOLA wasn't the whole story by any means.
posted by raysmj at 3:30 PM on March 20, 2006


"Where are the looters?"
posted by ColdChef at 9:22 AM AEST on March 21

Nowhere to be seen. I hate to engage in some seemingly arbitrary Bush-bashing, especially when this event has nothing really to do with Bush or FEMA, but compared to the Bush Administration's response in the wake of Katrina, our political leaders (Premier Peter Beattie of the State of Queensland and even my nemesis, John Howard, Prime Minister of Australia) are all over this natural disaster.

They're on the ground now (well, Beattie is; Howard arrives tomorrow) making sure that the response is coordinated and that the Emergency Services are on top of things too. No doubt this is contributing to the general state of order that is existing in what is otherwise a state of disaster.
posted by Effigy2000 at 3:35 PM on March 20, 2006


Amazing that there were no casualties (Innisfail population 8,000).

Last night's ABC news quoted 300kph/185mph winds at landfall in Innisfail - that's incredible (trying to find reference, bear with me).
posted by strawberryviagra at 3:42 PM on March 20, 2006


Why does God hate Darwin?

Oh, right.
posted by LordSludge at 3:43 PM on March 20, 2006


"are all over this natural disaster. "

Good. At least some people learned from Katrina. ;-)

Good news that nobody was killed. News reports that most of the injuries were minor.

How often does Australia get hit like this anyway?
posted by drstein at 4:02 PM on March 20, 2006


Effigy2000 writes "I hate to engage in some seemingly arbitrary Bush-bashing, especially when this event has nothing really to do with Bush or FEMA, but compared to the Bush Administration's response"

Bush is protecting America, by making sure we're fighting cyclones over there, so we don't have to fight them here in the Homeland.
posted by orthogonality at 4:03 PM on March 20, 2006


"How often does Australia get hit like this anyway?"
posted by drstein at 10:02 AM AEST on March 21

Tropical cyclones are pretty common up in North Queensland during summer.

However, Larry was 'special'. While they are common, it's rare to see them pop up around this time of year. Also, they are rarely as powerful as Larry was. Larry was a category 4 to 5 cyclone when it hit. Most cyclones that reach the mainland are usually only a 2 to 3 in strength. So while we get hit alot during certain months of the year, it is a rare event indeed for Australia to get hit by a storm this big.
posted by Effigy2000 at 4:14 PM on March 20, 2006


Sydney Morning Herald coverage says banana and sugar crops are wiped out. Figure 18 momths for those plantations to recover.
posted by Cranberry at 4:24 PM on March 20, 2006


Oregonians spell funny; anyone else would have written months
posted by Cranberry at 4:25 PM on March 20, 2006


One of the worst effects is the doubling of the price of bananas (this area grows 95% of the Australian crop). The only looting so far seems to be at a badly damaged hotel. And yes, Larry is fun.
posted by tellurian at 4:31 PM on March 20, 2006


Bush is protecting America, by making sure we're fighting cyclones over there, so we don't have to fight them here in the Homeland.

OK, that was funny.
posted by languagehat at 5:00 PM on March 20, 2006


With a storm of such fury it is amazing and wonderful that no one was killed.
posted by caddis at 5:13 PM on March 20, 2006


Effigy2000 writes "However, Larry was 'special'.... Also, they are rarely as powerful as Larry was."


posted by orthogonality at 5:14 PM on March 20, 2006


Yeah, they really should give cyclones better names. Lucifer, or something.

But, as I'm about to move to Darwin for three years, I'm hoping this complete's Australia's quota of category 5 storms for a while.
posted by Jimbob at 5:30 PM on March 20, 2006


Yeah, they really should give cyclones better names. Lucifer, or something.

Could be worse...

In Japan, they just refer to tropical storms by year and order of occurrence. Larry could be たいふう三 (typhoon 3) or something.
posted by SweetJesus at 6:14 PM on March 20, 2006


All I know about Tracy is that the Hoodoo Gurus wrote a song about it, "Tojo." ("Tojo never made it to Darwin.") Great song, great album, great band. I don't think the name "Larry" would have worked quite as well.
posted by Man-Thing at 6:29 PM on March 20, 2006


AH, the Hoodoo Gurus, now there was a band that knew how to roll their sleeves up.
posted by R. Mutt at 6:36 PM on March 20, 2006


they must be pretty shaken up by this ... they're all driving on the wrong side of the road

but seriously, i was reading this morning that the storm hit at low tide and they got a very small storm surge because of that ... they were very lucky that happened
posted by pyramid termite at 8:38 PM on March 20, 2006


I remember seeing a movie on the typhoon that nearly wiped out Darwin when I was a little kid. Scared the pants off me.

I think that the low casualty rate mostly goes to show the effect of population density in storm prone areas and also the effect of not living right on the waterfront in a flimsy-ass house that isn't connected to its foundation in any meaningful way.
posted by fshgrl at 9:21 PM on March 20, 2006


Johnson River crocodile living in me fridge, and a bloody great tree on the Jubilee Bridge, hey rain, hey rain.

No. 11
posted by emf at 9:44 PM on March 20, 2006


fshfrl - Mass, USA, is about due for a hurricane strike. If it happens anytime soon, the coastal development that's happened since the last big storm to hit the region could make Katrina's damage wake look small by comparison.
posted by troutfishing at 9:44 PM on March 20, 2006


It's great news no one was killed.

The whole East Coast is due, and has been built up enormously--i've read that the number one dream for retirement for the majority of Americans is to live on a coast or by the water.

and this: ...The number of Americans living near the shore increased by 23.6 million between 1980 and 2005, according to a Gannett News Service analysis of population trends in counties nearest the Atlantic and Pacific oceans, the Gulf of Mexico and the Great Lakes. ....
posted by amberglow at 9:53 PM on March 20, 2006


Our house was destroyed by Cyclone Tracy, although we were away for Christmas at the time (and I was only one year old anyhow, so all of this is from what my parents have told me).

The amazing thing about Tracy was how unprepared everyone was - cyclone warnings were common and generally wrong, so the warnings that christmas eve were ignored. I suspect a lot of people were quite drunk too ;)

I can't imagine a cyclone now arriving to find an entire city as unprepared as Tracy did that night. Really it is a miracle that so few died - Even if Larry were as powerful, just the fact that cyclone warnings are so much more accurate now helps immensely.

It is hard to resist comparing with Katrina - the emergency response, even then, was far better organised it seems. 26,000 people were evacuated by air, mostly in large jets diverted to Darwin for the purpose with their chairs ripped out to hold as many people as possible.

The real impact on Darwin was from that evacuation - my family left Darwin, never to return and so did many others. We had no house. it was a miracle we had a car - my dad found it a mile from where he parked it, having blown all that way.
posted by winjer at 10:57 PM on March 20, 2006


They're on the ground now (well, Beattie is; Howard arrives tomorrow) making sure that the response is coordinated

Forgive me if I sound cynical, but Howard was probably thinking "Bonzer, this'll get AWB off the front pages for a few days"
posted by pompomtom at 11:11 PM on March 20, 2006


Queensland has been overdue for a strong cyclone this season, and I think many people thought we'd gotten out of this summer season relatively safe. Not so.

Another one's on its tail too: Cyclone Waiti (updated regularly) is on its way to cause more high winds and rain depressions.

Bring the rain down to us drought-affected southern Queenslanders!
posted by chronic sublime at 11:19 PM on March 20, 2006


For comparison, Cyclone Larry's path.
posted by chronic sublime at 11:20 PM on March 20, 2006


our political leaders ... are all over this natural disaster.

Good. At least some people learned from Katrina. ;-)

It's true. This is from the comments of Sadly, No!, written back around the time of Katrina:
When I’m not snarking aronud [sic] here, I work for an Australian State Government - and after 911, I was chucked onto a cross-Government taskforce that meets from time to work out policy shit for dealing with some of the issues that happen after a major attack/fuckup/disaster.

We’ve just had a meeting called for Monday morning and the email subject line was "No New Orleans here".

So, in less than a week, NOLA has now become a worse case study for other Governments around the world.
posted by moonbiter at 11:45 PM on March 20, 2006


Completely-inappropriate-filter: May I present Chopper's Weather. (Google Video).
To those who don't know Chopper:1, 2
To my fellow Queenslanders, hope you're all OK.
posted by fullysic at 2:38 AM on March 21, 2006


our political leaders ... are all over this natural disaster.

It helps that Larry also hit in the middle of nowhere...population of Innisfail is about 8000 people, and the nearest 'big city', Cairns, is 100,000 (but didn't get hit). It's a country town: there was never going to be the kind of issues afterwards that affected New Orleans. Worst case estimate of costs is about $AUD1 billion ($US700,000), whereas Katrina has apparently cost over $US200 billion. There is really no comparison.
posted by jacalata at 2:55 AM on March 21, 2006


.....And then he learned how to use the internerd, Chopper's Weather.(Google Video).(Probably NSFW)
posted by fullysic at 2:58 AM on March 21, 2006


It helps that Larry also hit in the middle of nowhere...

Ah! So the price of bananas in the shop skyrocketing is because of price gouging and nothing to do with 80% of Australia's crop being wiped out in one day!
posted by Talez at 4:08 AM on March 21, 2006


Some of my best friends are bananas!
posted by strawberryviagra at 4:21 AM on March 21, 2006


I'm really sorry, I'll redefine 'middle of nowhere' as 'place filled with plants and not people in any high concentration'. Happy now?
posted by jacalata at 5:27 AM on March 21, 2006


strawberryviagra writes "Last night's ABC news quoted 300kph/185mph winds at landfall in Innisfail "

F3 Tornado, F4 starts at around 205. An F3 will over turn trains.
posted by Mitheral at 10:41 AM on March 22, 2006


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