'Perfect cyclone' bears down on Australian city

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by Quigley_Sharps, Apr 24, 2006.

  1. Quigley_Sharps

    Quigley_Sharps The Badministrator Administrator Founding Member

    SYDNEY (AFP) - A hugely destructive cyclone described as a "perfect" storm is bearing down on the isolated northern Australian city of Darwin, devastated by a killer cyclone in 1974.
    Packing winds of up to 350 kilometres (218 miles) an hour, Tropical Cyclone Monica was moving relentlessly towards Darwin as it turned towards the coast from the Arafura Sea, the government's weather bureau said.

    "It's probably the best developed cyclone I have seen in many, many years," said David Alexander, a senior forecaster at the Bureau of Meteorology.

    "It's got a perfect circular eye, it's right at the top of a category five range, so it's a very, very severe cyclone."

    Category five is the highest and most dangerous ranking for a tropical cyclone. The 1974 storm which killed 71 people and left 20,000 homeless in Darwin, Cyclone Tracy, was a category four storm.

    Darwin, capital of Australia's sparsely populated Northern Territories, is now a rebuilt city of 100,000 people, with many new buildings designed to withstand severe storms.

    Alexander said Monica was far more dangerous than Cyclone Larry, which smashed into Australia's eastern Queensland coast less than a month ago, causing more than a billion dollars in damage.

    The "very destructive core of Severe Tropical Cyclone Monica, with gusts to 350 kilometres per hour" was expected to cross the coast later Monday and approach the Darwin area on Tuesday, the government's weather bureau said.

    Destructive winds with gusts of up to 160 kilometres an hour were already hitting the far north coast and dangerously high tides could cause extensive flooding, the bureau's Tropical Cyclone Warning Centre reported.

    Shortly after midday Monday, Monica was 440 kilometres east northeast of Darwin, moving west southwest at 13 kilometres an hour.

    The storm has already disrupted commercial fishing, with many of the 75 prawn trawlers operating in remote off-shore regions heading for safety in port, national radio reported.

    Mining operations were also hit, with uranium miner Energy Resources of Australia, majority-owned by mining giant Rio Tinto, shutting down its Ranger mine 250 kilometres east of Darwin.

    US-based aluminum manufacturer Alcan closed its Gove refinery in north-east Arnhem Land on Sunday but reopened Monday after the storm missed the area.

    Police had evacuated most of Goulburn Island off the Arnhem Land coast but small clusters of people remained on other islands, mostly populated by Aboriginal people, ABC radio reported.

    "We've got a couple of areas we can go and hide. If the worst comes to worst we can go and stand in the cool room," said store manager Ian McDowell, one of the few residents who opted to remain on Goulburn Island.

    Ranger Peter Fitzgerald, one of a tiny group of people staying at Black Point on the Coburg Peninsula in the direct path of the cyclone, said: "I think we'll be okay -- just don't do anything silly that's the main thing."

    Northern Territories Emergency Services Minister Paul Henderson warned people to prepare cyclone kits including medicines, food and water, a torch and radio, while hospitals in Darwin were making contingency plans to cope with any casualties.

  2. Bear

    Bear Monkey+++ Founding Member Iron Monkey

    Yikes.... that's one tight eye!....
    Hope this hurricane season is kind to all of us.... I kinda don't have anywhere to run when they head my way... [gone]
  3. ghostrider

    ghostrider Resident Poltergeist Founding Member

    Tai-funs have farther to go north, so they get stronger than hurricanes in the Atlantic.
  4. BRONZ

    BRONZ Monkey+++ Moderator Emeritus Founding Member

    Guys whats the difference between a cyclone and a hurricane. I :dunno:
  5. ghrit

    ghrit Bad company Administrator Founding Member

    There is no difference from a meteorological standpoint. Typhoons and hurricanes originate in the Pacific and the Atlantic respectively, both are cyclones. I guess the Aussies like to call 'em cyclones. :dunno: Hawaiians seem to call 'em hurricanes, too.
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