Monday, February 14, 2011

Queensland's Worst Cyclone

Devastated banana plantation after Cyclone Larry

Before Cyclone Yasi and Cyclone Larry, there was Cyclone Mahina.  This cyclone struck with great force, killed hundreds of people and caused much devastation.  Unfortunately, it had been forgotten until the history of cyclones became news-worthy again.

Cyclone Mahina, a Category 5 cyclone, struck Bathurst Bay in North Queensland in 1899.  It brought powerful winds with it - they reached 175 mph.  The cyclone still holds the world record for the biggest storm surge of any cyclone.  This was between 13-14  metres or over 40 feet high.  Constable Kenny, an eye-witness, stated that he was camped on a ridge 40 ft above sea level.  He was inundated to the waist during the cyclone.

Over 400 people were killed by the cyclone.  These included the crews of a whole pearling fleet headed for Thursday Island.  The beach was strewn with dead fish, snakes and birds.  Fish and dolphins were found on top of high cliffs.

It was very lucky that few lives were lost in Cyclone Yasi and that it did not strike a city like Cairns. More preparation is certainly needed for these huge weather systems.

No comments: