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  The Chatter Box : Blathering On
Messages 1 2 3 4 

Request by Ellerd on 19 March 2006 3:06am
Hi guys. Please keep the people of North Queensland in your thoughts over the next 24 hours. They're about to be hit by a very large, very powerful cyclone. TC Larry is currently Category Four, and is still expected to intensify. Winds of up to 280km/h at the eye. Current predictions place to cyclone crossing the coast in the Tully-Cardwell area mid-Monday morning.

I hope there are no Palinites, or friends/relatives of Palinites, up there...
Re: Request by Ellerd on 19 March 2006 3:30pm
Very serious now: expected to be maximum Category FIVE (!!) by the time it hits the coast! The name Katrina, of New Orleans notoriety, is being bandied about the media tonight.

From the Age:

Thousands flee arrival of cyclone Larry
March 19, 2006 - 10:18PM

Thousands of residents are fleeing parts of far north Queensland in the path of Cyclone Larry as authorities compare the violent storm to America's Hurricane Katrina.

Larry could intensify to a category five - the most intense rating for a cyclone - by the time it hits between Innisfail and Cardwell, south of Cairns, about 7.30am (AEST) Monday, the Bureau of Meteorology said.

Mandatory evacuations have been enforced in numerous low-lying seafront areas, including in the Johnstone and Cardwell shires, expected to bear the brunt of the cyclone and its four metre storm surge.

In addition to the evacuation of island resorts in the path of the cyclone, emergency authorities also have warned residents in low-lying areas between Cairns and Townsville to "seriously consider" leaving.

Disaster coordination centres were activated in Cairns and Townsville while the state government sent response teams from Brisbane, in response to imminent destruction caused by gale force winds, torrential rain and flooding.

"There have been mandatory evacuations of coastal shires south of Cairns ... and emergency shelters set up for people who feel at risk with nowhere to go," said a Cairns City Council Disaster Coordination Centre spokesman.

"It's most likely thousands of people are evacuating to avoid the high tide."

The rapidly approaching category four cyclone, which sat 470km east of Innisfail in the Coral Sea, is about 300 to 400 kilometres in width and expected to pack winds of up to 280 kph.

Counter Disaster and Rescue Services (CDRS) executive director Frank Pagano compared the potential force of Larry to Katrina, which ravaged the United States' Gulf states in August last year, killing more than 1,400 people.

"This is the most devastating cyclone that we could potentially see on the east coast of Queensland for decades ... there is going to be destruction," Mr Pagano told reporters in Brisbane.

"Katrina was a category five - this is currently a category four that can develop similar to the American one.

"But it's important to note that Queensland doesn't have the risk of communities below sea level and levee banks (that broke in New Orleans during Hurricane Katrina)."

Due to its large size and strength, Larry was expected to reach up to 100km inland before diminishing, Mr Pagano said.

Petrol stations have recorded a massive spike in business with residents filling up their tanks to drive south or inland, while supermarkets have been inundated by people stocking up on supplies.

Education Queensland has announced schools in the Cardwell, Johnstone and Hinchinbrook shires and in part of Thuringowa Shire, north from Bohlevale to Northern Beaches, would be closed.

Cairns Port Authority spokeswoman Kerry Egerton said flights to Cairns and Townsville airports also had been suspended.

A spokesman for airline carrier MacAir said planes had been flown to Mount Isa to protect them from storm damage and flooding.

Cardwell BP Service Station owner Rachael King said business had been "non-stop" with people "getting into their cars and driving wherever they can get to".

"The population is about 13,000 ... I reckon half of them are on their way out," Ms King said.

"SES are evacuating the waterfront ... people are packing up and leaving and the people who are staying are getting prepared for it.

"The whole town is also out of bread and there's not a lot of food left ... our tiny supermarket has been cleared out."

The cyclone was expected to be felt well beyond the stretch between Cairns and Townsville, with strong winds and rain to descend as far north as Cape Tribulation, south to Mackay and inland, the weather bureau said.

Queensland Premier Peter Beattie said the evacuations were enforced following the signing of a declaration of a disaster situation for the districts of Cairns, Innisfail, Mareeba, Townsville, Mount Isa and Mackay.

He encouraged residents to remain calm but ensure they take all necessary precautions.

"Listen to the authorities in your local area," Mr Beattie said.

"Voluntary evacuations have taken place in some areas such as Johnstone, Cardwell and Hinchinbrook Shire and you will be advised if evacuations are necessary where you live.

"Regular updates and safety messages are being broadcast on ABC radio and local commercial television and radio."

© 2006 AAP

Re: Request by peripatetically on 19 March 2006 6:59pm
I'm so sorry to hear this. May those in Larry's path be held safe. My thoughts are with them.

Re: Request by tucsonmike on 19 March 2006 7:39pm
Well good luck!!!
Re: Request by suzulu on 19 March 2006 8:37pm
OMG, it sounds horrendous! I do hope everyone will be OK. Are you from those parts, Ellerd?
Re: Request by perfectbitch on 19 March 2006 9:35pm
Good luck to all in Larry's path. Linz
Re: Request by Ellerd on 19 March 2006 11:53pm
Suzulu - thankfully, no. I live on the central Qld coast, about 1000km south of where Larry is crossing.

Morning TV has not been encouraging. Innisfail - a very nice town, mind you - has copped a hiding. The eye of the cyclone crossed at Innisfail about 7am this morning. One man told the "Sunrise" program it could be weeks, if not months, before the area recovers. :(

What's worse, the weather bureau is taking note of another Cyclone, named Wati, that seems to be in pursuit of Larry. :( :(
Re: Request by canaveralgumby on 19 March 2006 11:56pm
Praying for everyone, Ellerd, and if you're still reading this, GET THE **** OUT!!
Re: Request by sarahs on 20 March 2006 12:43am
that's so scary! and i haven't heard anything about it in the news.

my prayers are with them.

Re: Request by kazzzz on 20 March 2006 12:47am
Oh wow I didn't hear about that either...stay safe everyone.

Pats tell Larry to pull his head in ;)
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