The Australia cyclone serves as a weather wake-up call to America. Since the Australia cyclone is an even more serious weather problem than the U.S. has right now, it could help put things in perspective. Of course, Chicago, Milwaukee and the Midwest are undergoing a lot of problems right now, as has the Northeast for much of winter. Yet as dangerous as these snowfalls have been, they can’t compare to a category 5 hurricane. As such, Australia’s cyclone has become the biggest weather story in the world today.
While America deals with a winter storm front that affects almost 40 states, an even bigger system is developing elsewhere. At this point, the U.S. is tired of seeing snow, and would prefer a nice dose of harmless rain by now. But in the Land Down Under, snow would be a good alternative right now.
Last night, the cyclone touched down on battered Queensland, with the weather expected to be deadly and dangerous for the next two days. The hurricane brings 185 mph gusts, and is affecting an area with more than 400,000 people.
In this country, cyclones are commonplace, but this one is much more dangerous than any in almost a century. The storm, which is called Yasi, is projected to be the nation’s worst since 1918, and is already damaging a region that can’t afford more awful weather.
Before the cyclone hit, Queensland had been damaged by tropical rains and flash flooding for the last three months. Over 30,000 homes have been destroyed, while the city’s coal industry has become paralyzed. Now, on top of that, Yasi stands to decimate even more of the area.
The hurricane could also reach Cairns and Townsville, and other areas alongside the Great Barrier Reef. With storm surges up to 13 feet high so far, residents have either gone to higher ground, packed emergency shelter centers, or taken refuge in their cellars and bathrooms as a last resort.
Something like this Australia cyclone has rarely hit the United States before. Yasi remains a category five, even after it touched down on land. The vast majority of hurricanes in the U.S. are less severe by the time they make landfall – although there are some obvious exceptions.
Today, the U.S. is digging out of a lot of snow, and relying on a groundhog for hope that winter will end soon. Yet almost half a world away, a cyclone in Australia is forcing hundreds of thousands to huddle together and fight for their very lives against a historic weather system.
New York Times- “Australia Braces for ‘Catastrophic’ Cyclone”
San Jose Mercury News- “Powerful cyclone strikes Australia’s northeast”