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Tropical Cyclone Larry - Possible Cat 4 at Landfall

It has been a long time since a severe tropical cyclone has threatened the Queensland coast ( years in fact ).

At present Larry is a Cat 3 and present prognosis has it possible Cat 4 and very close to landfall by early tomorrow - approx 18 hours from when this message is posted., or 18Z Sunday to 00Z Monday.

Predicted course is taking it close to regional cities like Cairns.

Anybody interested in following Larry's progress here are some links.

The Australian Weather Bureau's Queensland page - warnings, threat maps and more important Radar images. The radar images you will need to look at are Cairns and Bowen. Nothing at the momemt to see, but some bands should show in the next few hours.

http://www.bom.gov.au/weather/qld/

The Weatherzone forum has a tropical weather section that has several posters who live in the area that will be giving live updates ( bear in mind the aussi forum is very chatty )

http://www.weatherzone.com.au/cgi-bin/ulti...?ubb=forum;f=12


Regards
 
Larry is now a Cat 4 with winds 280km/h. There is some speculation of Cat5 before landfall.

Some folks on the aussi weatherzone are calling it 'our Katrina'. Unfortunately that is pure ignorance as the Queensland coast is minus a few million people when compared to the US Gulf and the terrain is very much different with a narrow coastal plain, so storm surge activity although still a danagerous issue is not even beginning to be comparable to what faces a gulf coast city under same conditions.
 
Larry crossing the coast as a Cat5 right now.

If you are quick enough you can see the eye quite well on the Townsville radar

http://mirror.bom.gov.au/products/IDR212.shtml

As a low Cat 5 Australian it is still probably only Cat 4 US strength, however Innesfail a sugar cane town of 11,000 is taking a direct hit with 290 kmh winds, I do not expect many houses to survive.

As a piece of trivia the town of Tully is located just a handful of kilometres south of Larry. Tully is the wettest town in Australia, receiving close to 200ins a year.
 
Larry crossing the coast as a Cat5 right now.

If you are quick enough you can see the eye quite well on the Townsville radar

http://mirror.bom.gov.au/products/IDR212.shtml

As a low Cat 5 Australian it is still probably only Cat 4 US strength, however Innesfail a sugar cane town of 11,000 is taking a direct hit with 290 kmh winds, I do not expect many houses to survive.

As a piece of trivia the town of Tully is located just a handful of kilometres south of Larry. Tully is the wettest town in Australia, receiving close to 200ins a year.
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Hi Michael, do you know what the official landfall intensity was? I got the impression from the Australian Government's Bureau of Meteorology site that Larry crossed the coast at 7:30 am AEST Monday near Innisfail with 930 mb and gusts of 250km/hr (155 mph). This is a Cat 4 on their scale and I guess a Cat 4 on ours-- although gusts of 155 mph hardly suggests a Cat 4 sustained wind (131-155 mph).
 
Hi Michael, do you know what the official landfall intensity was? I got the impression from the Australian Government's Bureau of Meteorology site that Larry crossed the coast at 7:30 am AEST Monday near Innisfail with 930 mb and gusts of 250km/hr (155 mph). This is a Cat 4 on their scale and I guess a Cat 4 on ours-- although gusts of 155 mph hardly suggests a Cat 4 sustained wind (131-155 mph).
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Hi Josh, I was at work all day without access hence the late reply. Yes, I agree it does seem a mystery, from what I can piece togther it seems that it was downgraded again to 4 at landfall. Winds were 290kmh at landfall. One factor that was different about Larry was its speed, moving at 25kmh at landfall, very quick.

As I mentioned in my first post the damage is nowhere on the scale a hurricane of even half the force would do in the USA mainland. This is simple population denisty and topography.

There is widespread damage in Innisfail with two thirds of houses with major damage, many completely off foundations, yet other houses stand with only minor damage. Probably a bigger economic factor is the loss of Banana and sugar cane crops. Sugar Cane especially has been a fickle market with cheap Brazil sugar.

There is another Cyclone out in the Coral sea as I write. Cyclone Wati. The models are all over the shop with may happen with this system. Larry pretty much gave the models the slip with most not picking him until late last week, then keeping him weak or tropical low.

There are folks around the Capricorn region of Queensland that are hoping that Wati will come ashore as a weak cyclone, but bringing significant rainfall. The capricorn coast of Queensland has had a poor summer wet season and faces drought. The coast around that area, Rockhampton - Gladstone is notorious for drought, it is too far south for a dependable monsoon, and too far north for winter frontal activity.
 
Geoff Mackley was there

The photo of the train turned over is a cane train - very narrow gauge and light.

I gave serious though early last Saturday about getting a plane to Cairns or Mackay and driving to the probable landfall, in the end work commitments won over. However the logistics would not have been that simple, finding a sturdy concrete building would have been an issue for starts.

I will eventually - actually the NOGAPS and ECMWF model runs are taking Cyclone Wati a lot further south than we have seen a cyclone for many years. Both have Wati ( or probably ex cyclone Wati ) offshore northern NSW early next week. At that latitude interaction with high pressure systems tends to build huge seas. The continental shelf is not that far offshore here, so huge waves can break quite close to shore in places. Back in 1976 I witnessed 30-40ft waves from Cyclone Colin. These were not 30-40ft ocean swells, but actual breaking wave faces like you would see on Hawaii's north shore.
 
I hope no one was killed in this cyclone. :( I'm also sorry to hear about the loss of property and businesses. :(

Any idea if this storm spawned tornadoes?
 
So i went on Wikpedia to clarify the different scales of tropical cyclone intensity. I was then banned from editing the site for not know what i was talking about. Them damn aussies really are anal about it being the worst tropical cyclone ever
 
It certainly is far from our worst. Media will always give most lay people the latest was the worst. Larry's danage will run to millions, but there was not one single fatality.

That prize for'worst' in Australia or anywhere depends on what ' worst ' means. For sheer strength the cyclones that occasionally cross the remote NW of Australia are true CAT 5 in anybodies scale, but there are more people living in a manhatton city block than the whole 2000-3000km coastline of NW Australia.

In terms of life and property the prise goes to many humbler cyclones that bring huge amounts of rain. Wanda brought massive flooding in 1974. From the Bureau

http://www.bom.gov.au/lam/climate/levelthr...0thc/flood7.htm

"On top of all this came tropical cyclone “Wandaâ€￾, which moved ashore north of Brisbane on Thursday 24 January, producing relatively little wind damage, but sending down enormous quantities of rain over the Australia Day weekend. In Brisbane, intensifying rain throughout Friday dumped over 300mm within 24 hours. In three days (ended 9am 27th) the Queensland capital received 580mm, with even heavier falls over river catchments near the city (1,300mm in five days at Mt Glorious). Wanda floodThe first houses were washed away along Enoggera Creek early on the 26th. As rivers continued to rise, many more were lost. The Bremer river peaked at Ipswich on the Sunday, and the Brisbane River peaked early on Tuesday; both at their highest levels since the disastrous floods of 1893. Fourteen people were drowned, some trapped in offices by the rising waters."

1300mm is 52 ins
 
Hi Michael, my knowledge of Australian cyclone history is pretty limited, but I always thought the "worst" in terms of damage (and maybe landfall intensity) was Tracy 1974. It is certainly the most talked about, from what I can gather.

Do you know how strong Tracy was at landfall in terms of central pressure and maximum sustained (1-min average) winds? I know the Australians use different metrics to indicate intensity (i.e., maximum gusts and/or 10-min average winds), but I am trying to get an idea for how Tracy compares with great American hurricanes.

On a related note, it's a bit frustrating trying to get basic, official data on Cyclone Tracy and other past Australian storms. I wrote to the Australian Bureau of Meteorology, and while they were responsive and friendly, it seems they do not issue official post-mortem reports like the tropical cyclone reports issued by the USA's National Hurricane Center. After doing some fairly extensive online research, I still don't even know Tracy's landfall pressure (although I read 950 mb somewhere).

If you can point me to any online resources about Australia's cyclone history, I'd appreciate it!
 
Do you know how strong Tracy was at landfall in terms of central pressure and maximum sustained (1-min average) winds? I know the Australians use different metrics to indicate intensity (i.e., maximum gusts and/or 10-min average winds), but I am trying to get an idea for how Tracy compares with great American hurricanes.

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Hi Josh

Cyclones and Hurricanes are not my forte, thunderstorms are. Tracy was 950mb. I am not sure if an official record of wind speed exists. According to this site.........

http://www.bom.gov.au/climate/c20thc/cyclone4.shtml ....

the gauge broke at 217kph. Tracy was a very small system. Building standards in Darwin were shoddy at that stage. Whole suburbs were built with the main residence several feet off the ground to allow air circulation in the hot tropics.

The best site for recent cyclones is Jimmy Deguara and Michael Bath's Australian Sever Weather

http://australiasevereweather.com/cyclones/index.html

Michael
 
Hi Michael, thanks very much. The Australia Severe Weather site is a great start-- much appreciated!

Looking at the list of Cat 4/5 landfalls for Western North Australia from 1941 to 2004, it is surprising to me that Tracy 1974 is not very distinguished in this list-- there were many more landfalls from much stronger storms (as low as 915 mb).

Tracy’s 950 mb, while healthy, isn't really so extreme-- so it’s all the more surprising that it has such legendary status. It's interesting what you said Re: the building codes in Darwin at that time-- as that at least partially explains the extreme wind damage from Tracy (picture below). I assume the catastrophe was caused by a combination of 1) these sub-par building codes and 2) a very tight pressure gradient resulting from Tracy’s extremely small size. (In the same way, Hurricane Charley 2004-- another extremely small system-- produced sustained 130-kt winds as it crossed the FL coast-- really quite high for its 941 mb central pressure.)

Thanks again!

Darwin, Australia, after Cyclone Tracy 1974
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