After the deluge, the cyclone

Thursday 03rd Feb 2011 by theWeather Club

Religious types in Queensland must be wondering quite what it is they have done to upset the gods. With the Australian state still struggling to come to terms with the recent apocalyptic flooding, the last thing it needed was the sudden arrival of the biggest tropical cyclone in living memory.

Designated a category 5 severe tropical cyclone by the Australian Bureau of Meteorology, Cyclone Yasi hit the coast of Queensland on 2nd February, bringing with it gusts of wind of up to 181mph. The most remarkable thing about Yasi, other than its rather sadistic timing, was its sheer scale. At its peak, Yasi had a diameter of around 500km. You can see a satellite shot of it at, and it really is quite a remarkable sight. 'Midget' typhoons, intense tropical cyclones which are very small in diameter, are common in Queensland but major cyclones very rarely cover the kind of area hit by Yasi with such devastating violence. The last time a severe tropical cyclone of this magnitude hit Queensland was back in 1918.

It will be some time for a full picture of the damage to emerge, but signs are that the worst fears of Queensland's weather-battered residents have not been realised. As many as 175,000 homes lost their electricity supply and damage to buildings has been fairly significant, but with the major population centres of Cairns and Townsville narrowly avoiding the worst of the storm, things could easily have been much, much worse. One thing that Yasi is bringing, though, is a lot of rain. And what Queensland really doesn't need right now is any more water.