Saturday, 5 January 2008

Cyclone Helen - the teenager cyclone?

Cyclone Helen was “born” on January 1, so I guess it was to be expected that she would want to have people take notice of her, for a while at least. She started south of Katherine in the Northern Territory and headed west looking for water to grow in. The Bonaparte Gulf served that purpose and she wandered around for little more than a day, growing and then, as cyclones tend to do, started looking for land on which to cause havoc. Sort of like a teenager, really! Luckily for those in her path she was moving impatiently and crossed the coast late on her third day, rather than staying at sea, brewing. She headed almost due east past Adelaide River and continued on. Darwin was lucky this time. Winds were strong overnight with strong gusty conditions interspersed with lighter winds.

We may not have seen the last of this little lady yet; a thought The Australian newspaper is considering:

“CYCLONE Helen could still pose a threat to the Northern Territory, despite it sparing Darwin and nearby communities from major damage, NT police said today.

Overnight gales felled trees, flooded roads and caused widespread blackouts after Cyclone Helen crossed onto land near Channel Point, south of Darwin, shortly after 10pm (CST) yesterday. As emergency services and residents began the clean-up, grateful the damage was not more widespread, the system - downgraded to a tropical low overnight - continued to move overland. Communities along Queensland's Gulf of Carpentaria coastline were on high alert as the tropical storm was expected to gather force and intensify in coming days. The system was today moving eastwards across the Northern Territory's Top End and is expected to regenerate into a cyclone when it crosses the gulf. Nhulunbuy and the Arnhem region are now under a cyclone watch and NT Police Commissioner Paul White today warned it was "too early to think the Territory had escaped''. "We need to ensure that people don't take their eyes off the ball,'' Commissioner White told reporters today. "There is still a chance the cyclone could redevelop in the western Gulf of Carpentaria tomorrow ... "I encourage people to maintain that preparedness, given the possible reformation of the cyclone, not to mention the heavy rain expected in areas that have the potential for flooding.'' Winds of up to 130km/h last night lashed the coast from Port Keats to Cape Hotham, including Darwin and the Tiwi Islands. More than 30 trees toppled in the capital during the night, with at least two striking houses and dozens blocking roads. Residents were urged to stay indoors today while emergency se
rvices worked to clean up a city littered with green.”
So we wait to see what the next few days bring.

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