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Freak January 2011 continues — cyclone coming our way

FINAL UPDATE: The far southwest cyclone is just… drizzle. Best wishes for the Queenslanders who are dealing with the real thing right now.

UPDATE#3: Sunday morning –The Cyclone is now Category 1, and wind speeds only 100km/hr and falling, so the BOM have turned off the CYCLONE Alert, and now call it a “Low”. Their map suggests whatever’s left will have a direct hit on perth, but the infra red image suggests it’s already gone past… and will just clip the lower corner of the state.   Looks like it will just be a stormy day.

UPDATE #2: Saturday night –This glorious NASA image shows Bianca a few days ago. Right now the cyclone is losing strength over the cooler water as it heads towards the West Australian Southern coast. Windspeeds have dropped from 185km/hr to 140km/hr. But I thought the intricate detail in this photo was magnificent.

Cyclone Bianca off the North West Cape  27 – Jan – 2011
Image: NASA, Modis 1 pixel = 1 km.

With wild blizzards in the Northern Hemisphere, and mass floods across the whole Eastern seaboard of Australia, it’s good that Perth is not being entirely abandoned by freak forces of nature. We were starting to feel left out.

Cyclone Bianca tracks towards SW Western Australia. (Click on the image to go to the BOM page to watch the hourly updates of satelite images.)

Perth is 32 degrees South of the Equator. We rarely get cyclones but they do spin by every now and again (every ten or twenty years). Right now, about 1000 km NW there is “Bianca” a decent category three, on track to visit us in just over 24 hours. Cyclones being what they are, it may not perform as intended, but then, looking at the history of Perth’s Cyclones, the path is typical. It’s only expected to be a Cat 1 when it gets here: tie down your fruit trees and batten down the caravan. It’s not dire, but we will be cleaning the gutters, (and not camping). National Parks have been closed in preparation. Perhaps, south west WA might get some of that rainfall it needs.

And no, of course, I’m not seriously comparing it those floods or that blizzard.

...

Bulldust predicts:

1) Bianca will track down south and cause some serious weather impact in the populated end of the state:
http://au.news.yahoo.com/thewest/a/-/newshome/8732433/cyclone-threat-to-south-west/

2) Strong weather events (even tropical storms are not unprecendented down this far:
http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/6/6f/Tropical_cyclones_1945_2006_wikicolor.png

3) Someone (Lewandosky perhaps) will blog (probably at the ABC) the meme that more extreme weather events such as this one (this coming weekend) are to be expected because of global warming.

Which all sounds perfectly reasonable to me.

So to head them off at the pass here’s all the other cyclones that hit Perth that were caused by man-made carbon dioxide emissions, starting in 1843.

Some Notable Cyclones Impacting Perth

Tropical Cyclone Impact Description
11 April 1843 A ‘terrific’ northwest gale lasting 4 hours struck the Perth area, then moved southwards to impact Bunbury, where the tidal surge in excess of 4 feet drove two large vessels aground.
10 March 1872 A storm described as being of ‘unprecedented severity’ occurred. The destruction of property in Perth was considerable and many trees were levelled.
27 Feb. 1893 A fierce gale blew at Geraldton and Fremantle. Several boats, including the Alastar and Flinders, broke their moorings and were damaged.
26 Feb. 1915 A storm moved southwards on the 25th from Onslow towards Perth at a speed estimated at 80 km/h. There was extensive damage to property along the track. At Midland Junction, near Perth, a child was killed and several others were injured when the Swan Mission dormitory collapsed.
9-10 March 1934 Perth recorded 77 mm and Toodyay 191 mm as flooding caused damage across Perth and the wheatbelt. The Swan river rose 5.8 m in less than eight hours at Guildford causing considerable damage to unharvested grapes.
10 Feb. 1937 Widespread property damage occurred across the southwest of the state, particularly south of Perth. Many boats were damaged at Rockingham but many more were damaged further south and the Busselton Jetty was extensively damaged. The storm surge forced people to evacuate in parts of Mandurah and Bunbury. Severe bushfires were reported from the forest areas, most notably from Denmark and Walpole. Hundreds of acres of forest, pasture and fruit trees were destroyed by the fires and stock losses were great. Widespread severe duststorms over the wheatbelt reduced visibility to just a few metres in parts.
15 March 1943 A cyclone crossed the coast near Lancelin causing extensive damage along a narrow band from Lancelin to the southeast wheatbelt. Buildings were unroofed, telegraph poles were blown down and roads were blocked by falling trees.
4 March 1956 Buildings and property were damaged in parts of the southwest including Geraldton and Perth. The Perth to Geraldton highway was blocked by numerous fallen trees.
27 March 1960 Many small boats were blown ashore and damaged as Perth recorded winds to 113 km/h. Many centres in the wheatbelt reported damage to outbuildings, wheat silos and homestead roofs.
Vida, 20 March 1975 Winds, recorded to 128 km/h at Fremantle and 109 km/h in Perth damaged many properties including St George’s Cathedral and Perry Lakes Stadium. At Rockingham a 7 m yacht sank, a 6m cabin cruiser was destroyed and many other craft were damaged.
Alby, 4 April 1978 Alby passed close to Cape Leeuwin causing a period of gale force north to northwest winds. Five lives were lost. Damage to property was widespread but was most severe in the region between Mandurah and Albany. Widespread fires and severe duststorms reduced visibility to less than 100 m over a large area
Rhonda, 21-22 Feb. 1986 The remains of cyclone Rhonda crossed the coast near Perth causing heavy rain (131 mm at Greenmount). Flooding, albeit minor was widespread across Perth. Over 100 traffic crashes were attributed to the wet conditions.
Ned, 1 April 1989. Ned crossed the coast near Rockingham. Rottnest and Fremantle reported wind gusts of more than 100 km/h between 6 and 7 am. Only minor damage was reported on land.

Source: Australian BOM –History of Cyclones in Perth

For those who are interested, that history page also has an interesting description of the changes that occur when a tropical cyclone becomes an extra-tropical system — which tends to travel faster — and paradoxically, can cause major damage through fueling bushfires. The storms become asymetrical as they traverse the surface faster.

Cyclones affecting the southwest can move at speeds greater than 70 km/h in contrast to the average 10-15 km/h speeds in the north. As they accelerate, the structure of the cyclone changes so that the regions of dense cloud and heavy rainfall are displaced towards the right quadrants of the system (when looking along the direction of the track) leaving the left quadrants largely free of significant cloud. As a result the heaviest rainfall for example, would occur when a cyclone crosses the coast near and to the north of Perth as in March 1934.

The strongest winds associated with these fast moving systems occur in the left quadrants where the clockwise rotating winds are augmented by the system’s translational speed. The cloud-free squally winds from the north or northeast are a recipe for severe dust storms and an extremely dangerous environment in which fires can engulf the countryside with frightening speed. The wildfires associated with cyclones in February 1937 and April 1978 (Alby) typify this potentially devastating weather scenario.

The change in structure described above is known as extra-tropical transition. This process is observed in other tropical cyclone basins around the world and can result in a re-intensification of the system even though it loses tropical cyclone characteristics.

UPDATE #1:

Saturday 8am: Bianca is still a category 3. Warnings are being updated 4 hourly.

At 8:00 am WST Severe Tropical Cyclone Bianca, Category 3 was estimated to be
920 kilometres west northwest of Perth and
680 kilometres west northwest of Geraldton and
moving south at 24 kilometres per hour.

Bianca is expected to weaken further during today and begin to move towards the
southwest corner of the state. As it approaches the coast it will weaken
rapidly but there is some risk that Bianca could still have an impact on the
South West on Sunday. DAMAGING WINDS with gusts to 100 kilometres per hour are
possible southwest of a line Jurien Bay to Albany.

VERY HIGH to SEVERE FIRE DANGERS are likely near the west coast on Sunday,
possibly reaching EXTREME across inland areas south of a line from Geraldton to
Leonora to Israelite Bay on Sunday.

FESA State Emergency Service (SES) advises that people should start planning
for bad weather and listen for further advice.

Details of Severe Tropical Cyclone Bianca at 8:00 am WST:
.Centre located near...... 27.5 degrees South 107.8 degrees East
.Wind gusts near centre... 185 kilometres per hour
.Severity category........ 3
.Central pressure......... 965 hectoPascals
VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 0.0/10 (0 votes cast)

Tiny Url for this post: http://tinyurl.com/4vqmj73

31 comments to Freak January 2011 continues — cyclone coming our way

  • #
    Roy Hogue

    That they’ve happened before will probably not be very consoling with another on the way. I hope everyone comes through Bianca with no harm.

    I hope preemption works too!

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  • #
    Mark D.

    Sure Jo, the other ones simply weren’t caused by humans. This one clearly is, can’t you tell? The warmists predicted this would happen therefore it is human caused.
    Sarc off

    P.S. I hope nothing happens to your new flooring!

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  • #
    Siliggy

    “head them off at the pass” Good plan. I would like to know why there is none on that list between 1989 and now. Did the now ending period of warming prevent them?

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  • #
    John Gorter

    Jo,

    Never use the word ‘freak’ in talking about climate It only encourages the crazies.

    John in Milan, where the January freeze nerver happened (but the ‘mild’ December was cold and snowy!).

    Ciao

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  • #

    I remember Vida in 1975. I was a forecaster in the BoM in Perth at the time.

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  • #

    Thanks for the list of past cyclones, Jo. Quite a few before you-know-what started, aren’t there?
    No doubt there were others too pre-white settlement.

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  • #
    val majkus

    Good luck to our WA friends; here in SE Qld where I live there is also a cyclone hovering off the coast

    O/T BUT about the Met Office
    Here’s the latest about the cold or average winter forecast scandel http://autonomousmind.wordpress.com/2011/01/28/the-met-office-winter-forecast-lie-is-finally-nailed/
    links at the article
    conclusion
    We now have the truth. It is what many people have suspected since the story materialised. It’s now time for those who engineered the deception and those who allowed it to happen to pay the price for their actions.

    Second O/T but it’s getting so irritating; why does this Fed Govt always speak in hyperboles. In respect to the flood or ‘mateship’ levy which Gillard says results from ‘a natural disaster of unprecedented economic proportions still unfolding in our country’ have a look at Not quite so unprecedented a disaster
    at http://blogs.news.com.au/heraldsun/andrewbolt/
    There’s some informed comment by Risk Frontiers, an independent research centre at Macquarie University devoted to the understanding and pricing of catastrophe risks for the insurance and emergency management sectors.
    There’s a comparison of the insurance losses to date from these floods with those of previous years in Australia
    and a table showing insurance losses from natural disasters in the past

    As Bolt says costs will go up as more claims are processed – Some estimates say the insurable losses will be closer to $3 billion. This will also not include a lot of government-owned infrastructure.
    Gillard may yet be right, but for now the media should be slower to repeat the claim, so useful for the Government, that the floods are already the worst natural disaster we’ve ever faced.

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  • #
    cynic

    Flood, fire, drought, wind (inc. cyclone) and some quiet times in between. The AU climate cycle.

    One would think we would be used to it by now.

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  • #
    MikeO

    You guys just do not understand. If it is weather you dislike then it is AGW and it must have been caused by producing energy the wrong way. Just ask those victims of the Dunning-Kruger effect the Greens they will enlighten you. I read an article by one of them explaining that the heat at the North Pole had pushed the cold towards the equator and so caused the cold winter there!!!

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  • #

    Re Mark D and his concern for the new flooring at my house: Yes, me too! It’s only been in for a week, and in the last 1 in 100 rainfall (last march) we had waterfalls over the lintels of three main windows. Some gumnut designed gutters that “look good” but overflow inwards… Jo

    Curiously with the latest update, it appears the cyclone hasn’t made the extra tropical transition yet and is still looking and behaving like a cyclone. Cat 3. 980 km away. Moving at 24 km / hr.

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  • #

    [...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by spot_the_dog, WB. WB said: This goes out to @s_dog & @g_parker & the WA crew href=http://joannenova.com.au/2011/01/freak-january-2011-continues-cyclone-coming-our-way/ [...]

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  • #
    rukidding

    Thank you Jo but when it comes to cyclones I am quite happy to be left out.

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  • #
    Mark

    No doubt the Beeb will conjure up some weasel words to try and obfuscate their way out of this.

    http://autonomousmind.wordpress.com/2011/01/28/the-met-office-winter-forecast-lie-is-finally-nailed/

    Also up at WUWT now.

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  • #
    Mark D.

    Jo, I think the center will pass south and almost miss WA.

    I think (hope) your floor will be just fine.

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  • #
    Bernd Felsche

    Joanne Nova:

    Some gumnut designed gutters that “look good” but overflow inwards…

    Same gumnut who decided to hang those gutters horizontally so that the house doesn’t look crooked; but ensuring there is never enough flow to flush even wind-blown sediment to the down-pipes when it rains.

    So every year, they have to be manually cleaned out several times a year, taking the best part of a day balanced on a ladder and consuming thousands of litres of water every time.

    I’m puzzled how such things could gain approval. It’s anything but sound practice. Easy, cheap and simple is wrong unless it also works.

    But it’s on millions of houses. :-(

    There are gutters which are easy, cheap and simple that work. But they’re not “pretty”.

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  • #
    bananabender

    Guttering is one of the silliest idea ever invented. You simply need enough roof overhang to properly clear the walls and some concrete or gravel paving to drain away the water.

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  • #
    Len

    Wooden floors after floods may buckle. It is best to just leave them be. After a while they will return to their normal position. This is how the floor boards in the Moora Town Hall were managed following their flood.
    Their is a plumber in Perth who makes gutters that when full flow over the front and not out the back into the house.

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  • #

    Updated with a NASA sat image of the cyclone taken a few days ago. (sorry it will blow all the small screens).

    Yes, Gutters are just silly. When ours overflow they feed the water inwards to the middle of the double brick wall and it flows into the room over the upper window lintels. We had three very pretty waterfalls in the March 1-in-100 (whatever that means) storm. 200m2 of roofing was capturing quite a flow.

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  • #

    If you click on the NASA shot it gives some options to enlarge the photo. At this page http://rapidfire.sci.gsfc.nasa.gov/gallery/?2011027-0127/Bianca.A2011027.0300.250m.jpg you can see things 8 times larger. 1 pixel = 250m. You can see the shadows under the clouds. It’s a bit over the top.

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  • #
    Roy Hogue

    Hurricane or cyclone, they look so beautiful and majestic when seen from space. But from the ground it’s another matter. I’m sometimes tempted to be glad I live where the only threat is an earthquake now and then. At least you can’t see them coming at you like a freight train while you feel helplessly tied down to the railroad track. They hit suddenly, in a few seconds they’re over and you know what they’ve done to you.

    In spite of all the technology that can get such magnificent pictures, we can only sit there and take the punch. I wonder what we could do if as much money was to be spent on research into minimizing the storm damage, better flood control or making gutters that both work and look good. What if money had been spent on maintenance of the levees in New Orleans? What if money had been spent on preventing the wildfires that ravaged parts of Australia? Surely the fires need not have been so bad. How to prevent the spread of a fire is well known. Why do we not do it? What if…?

    I could do without the amazing storm photos, space stations and a lot of other things if real problems were worked on instead. But the real problems aren’t glamorous work are they? Space technology is.

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  • #

    Jo, perhaps you should go back to the postage stamp price data. There may be some causation there as well. (If we haven’t had a price rise yet this year, Aus Post better get onto it.)

    As for gutters, if you just go live in your tent, you won’t have to worry about gutters (or floorboards) anymore! hehe.

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  • #
    Bulldust

    I don’t know… despite a bit of unseasonably muggy weather this cyclone is turning out to be a bit of a fizzer. Looking at the BoM IR satellite image:

    http://www.bom.gov.au/gms/IDE00035.latest.shtml

    it seems like the thing has largely dissipated… having said that the one off QLD looks quite feisty so maybe the warmistas can get some mileage off that one instead.

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  • #

    UPDATE: The Cyclone is now Category 1, and wind speeds only 100km/hr and falling, so the BOM have turned off the CYCLONE Alert, and now call it a “Low”. Their map suggests whatever’s left will have a direct hit on perth, but the infra red image suggests it’s already gone past… and will just clip the lower corner of the state.

    Looks like it will just be a stormy day.

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  • #
    John Brookes

    A bit disappointing – no cyclone for Perth. One cyclone in 1978, an earthquake in 1968, no volcanoes, a bit of flash flooding back in March last year, the occasional decent hail storm. Hell, we haven’t even had a 45 degree plus day for ages. No political instability, no Eureka stockade, nada, nothing.

    Can’t we have something a bit exciting in Perth?

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  • #
    rukidding

    Well John Brookes that’s climate change for you.:-)

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  • #
    Roy Hogue

    Can’t we have something a bit exciting in Perth?

    John,

    I’ll see if I can arrange to send you the rioting in Cairo. That ought to satisfy your thirst for excitement.

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  • #
    Ken Stewart

    Jo, consider yourself lucky to miss out on a cyclone, even though you could do with the rain. They’re not much fun to be in. Meanwhile in NQ Anthony is now Cat 2 and strengthening and heading to cross the coast about 200km north of us. We’ve done all the preparations (haven’t taped any windows yet) and we’re ready for a windy wet night. Most of the heavy rain on radar seems to be heading straight for us.
    Most gutters in Qld have overflow slits outwards but normally overflow the top of the gutter anyway- which is often on the house side. Bananabender, gutters are needed to collect the water into tanks. We have 3 (total 76,000 litres) but they’re brim full. Most of the time the rain is so heavy the gutters can’t cope and the water goes straight over anyway.
    Ken

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  • #

    Bianca’s fizzled out but this rotten heat persists.
    When they kick down the door, they’ll find naught but my clothes. Flopped around a puddle of mucus.

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  • #
    grayman

    Batton the hatches and hang on hopefully it will lose its strengh as it touches land like they do here in the States. Good luck to all.

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  • #

    The luck is all for our Queensland friends who deal with the real thing tonight. Best wishes Ken!

    And this youtube shot of a cyclone in Brisbane in 2008 is worth a look just to admire the force of nature. The video includes the quiet eye, then the phenomenal rush (see that airborne water move).

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  • #
    Ken Stewart

    Thanks Jo, we lost power 7.50 Sunday night (so missed seeing Murray getting flogged) and it came back on at 7.15 last night. There was a savage squall as part of Anthony that went through Sarina 10km to our south and unroofed houses and knocked out power all over, but no damage here, nothing like Ului last year. We have a generator so could keep fridges and pump going, but couldn’t get fuel in Sarina (no power = no fuel pumps)so with Yassi coming I drove into Mackay to get fuel, also helped a friend with preparations. Cairns Townsville Mackay and all points in between urged to self evacuate from low lying areas, so we’ve urged friends to come here. We hope Yassi stays as far north as possible but people will suffer from this one. We expect to be without power (and offline) from Thursday for several days. This will be third cyclone in 11 months- we’re over them!
    By the way, that wasn’t a cyclone in Brisbane, just a fierce storm.
    Ken

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