Monday, June 06, 2016

The Big Storm

Our autumn was the warmest on record.
There had been little rain for months.
All to do with La Nina and El Nino said the experts.
But an 'east coast low' was about to change things.
These winter low pressure systems are quite common and are usually a bit windy and can dump a fair bit of rain on us.
But this one was a doozy.
The Bureau of Meteorology began issuing warnings on the Thursday.
Fierce winds of Category 2 cyclone (hurricane) intensity and torrential rain began hitting the south coast of Queensland on the Friday and extended all the way down to Tasmania, a distance of over 2000km (1300ml) by the weekend.
Storm swell breaking against cliffs Sydney eastern suburbs

Result was lots of building damage, flooding, electrical and communication outages, cancelled flights, huge seas with the inevitable beach erosion with some houses being washed into the sea and, sadly, a number of deaths. Why do people try to drive through flooded creeks?
We think we missed out on the worst of it with winds gusting only to 70km/hr and rainfall of 300mm.
We experienced some flooding when our creek broke its banks and a huge branch came down, just missing the house, but hitting one of our water tanks. No damage but a bit of a difficult clearing job.
This extreme weather event of course brought up the global warming/climate change debate again. 
My take on this?
Climate is weather measured and averaged over a period of time.
La Nina and El Nino are ocean events which have always happened and have always had an effect on global weather, just as other similar long standing events have.
But normal weather patterns which have always happened are intensified dramatically as the seas and atmosphere warm.
Heat is energy and just as with any system the more energy put into it, the more energy comes out.
So normal events like this one become over time more and more extreme as everything warms up.
Look how many years in the last two decades were the warmest on record. All the warmest years happened in the last decade or so.
Update 9th June: Tree successfully cleared from tank. No damage. A miracle!
The huge surf opened up the coastal lake our creek runs into so the flood waters dissipated within 2 days. The paddocks have dried out amazingly quickly. Small amount of fence damage caused by flood debris which is easily fixed. A few trees down which will be turned into fence posts and/or next year's firewood.
Unfortunately the storm on its trek south has caused some havoc in Tasmania with severe flooding and loss of life.

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