cyclone larry category 5
Cyclone Larry Category 5 -
exclusive photos © Earth Science
to images - click on image for full size version Before Cyclone After Cyclone
how the cyclone has affected Earth Science Australia
The small bananna and sugar cane producing town of Innisfail in Far North Queensland Austalia was struck by a Category 5 cyclone named "Larry" at 6:00 am Monday March 20, 2006. 4000 people are homeless out of a local population of about 25,000.
Earth Science Australia was there and provides these exclusive photos for educational use.
They do not show the worst damage but were snapped in the processs of recovering keepsakes from our residence.
Category 5 is the most destructive category with highly destructive winds reaching 280kmh. Gusts to 230kmh were registered in town before the wind measuring devices were blown away.
Explosive convection on the northern wall of the eye just as the cyclone hit the coast probably saved Innisfail from the full force of the wind. Damage along the northern wall appears, according to local residents was patchy and looked more like tornado tracks. On the other hand the southern wall remained intact and Silkwood , to the south of Innisfail suffered 90% housing destruction.
Miraculously there were no
There was extensive damage to infastructure. Improved building codes meant that some houses were left standing but most suffered roof loss or damage compounded by 150mm rain on March 21 and 230mm rain on March 22.
The electricity system was badly damaged by winds and flying debris almost none of the electricty system is buried despite recommendations that key circuits, such as the hospital and Central Business District, be buried. As the pumps for water pumping and chlorination and the pumps for sewage are electric without back up diesel generators, serious health risks needlessly result.
The damage is easy to see but there are many long term affects not so obvious.
- all the banana plants were flattened new bananas will need to sprout and fruit - so banana farmers will have no income for 8-10 months, all banana workers will be almost immediately unemployed
- pawpaw (papaya) growers are in a similar situation- new trees will need to be planted - no income and no work for 6-8 months
- sugar cane growers were enjoying their first good prices in several years - much of the crop is too flattened to harvest starting in June
- dairy farmers with no electricity are unable to milk their cows - the cows will stop lactating and production will not resume for about 12 months - no income - no work
- fruit and nut growers have a
very long time line of recovery, for
example a macadamia nut grower may need seven years
growth to get their first crop
Some curious decisions were
made immediately after the cyclone for
example there seemed to be great haste to reopen schools and all
were open within ten days of the cyclone the result of a huge
expenditure, tying up a large number of workers, generators,
lifting equipment and transporting 20 classrooms some 2200km from the
state capital by truck. While this is admirable, these same resources
and generators could have kept a good portion of the 57 dairy farms in
production by permitting milking ( even if in the short term the milk
must be dumped for lack of refridgeration). Continued milk production
would have provided a tax base and income streams in the region.
getting the vehicle under cover
protection from flying debris
waterproofing and stacking
furnishing against interior walls, using
inverted bookshelf to reinforce interior hallway door to create a
nature refuge research facility
35km from coast , 210m into dense
20m high fig tree lifted out by
roots and carried 10m
flattened banana trees will
take 8-10 months to regrow fruit
remains of King George park in
Innisfail formerly lush rainforest
Innisfail Hotel "lattice work"
is the remains of the floor of the
next floor up
roofs of various local
businesses block the central business district
remains of rainforest, formerly
too dense to see through
this is our front yard - we
have no trees there, these have blown
in, we removed 51/2 tonnes of vegetation from our normal size lot
a view to the side of our
house, formerly rainforest, the house
behind is missing most of its roof
a view to the back of our
house, a landscape unfamiliar to us
our view now unrecognisable
diagonally across street, what
230kmh does to a power pole and our
roofless neibour's house, roof in foregound does not come from nearby
it has travelled in the air at least 200m!
our house - miraculous luck!
our immediate concerns -
mosquito outbreaks and dengue fever,
contaminated drinking water (must be boiled minimum 1 minute),
electricity (estimate if lucky in 2-3 weeks)
eye of Cyclone Larry passed
over the rainforest research centre
damage to Innisfail State High
School top floor removed
How Category 5 Cyclone Larry
has affected Earth Science Australia
- no worries!
- as always we remain on-line
celebrating a decade on the web and
over 1 million student visitors per year
- our equipment is wasted -
our 1998 Alpha computer is dead,
scanner is gone, modem, printer all scrap
- we exist on a borrowed laptop and a flash drive
- updating the site requires a 170km round trip drive to a functional computer
- we hope to have mains power back on in three weeks
- to their shame, we get no
on-going mining, industry, educational
or government support
of the earth sciences in Australian schools
- The site accesses between 400 and 500 students for every $1.00 AUD sponsorship
- donations of equipment,
connection time gratefully accepted (we
have never been able to afford to incorporated as a "not-for-profit
organisation" so no tax advantage for you - sorry) via P.O.
1875, Innisfail, Queensland , Australia 4860