By Jim Taylor, Editor MACS ACtion Magazine
Earlier this year we posted VASA’s Ken Newton’s first-person narrative of life in northeastern Australia as torrential rains and related flooding brought severe damage to a large area. Ken’s updated the story and this is the first part of his column for the upcoming March-April issue of ACTION magazine.
Be sure to read his entire piece, including how the January floods and the February hurricane (called a cyclone down there) affected their lives and their industry. It’s compelling reading, and presents some important points to shop owners. Ken writes:
Just before Christmas most Australians rushed outside to savour that first intoxicating smell of raindrops hitting the dust marking the beginning of the end of the 10-year drought.
By the end of January thousands of those Australians were being plucked from atop the roofs of their houses by rescue helicopters as torrential rain filled our major river systems which then overflowed into towns and suburbs.
Then in Queensland, my home state, with the flood clean up far from finished, Mother Nature turned on the biggest cyclone in Australia’s history. It was the third cyclone of the season and another three are expected before the end of March.
But this one, named Yasi, was a shocker. Within hours of hitting the coastline the authorities had raised it to a category five storm, and that’s as high as you can go here. Yasi had made history. Your Katrina was a category five.
As a kid in the central Queensland city of Rockhampton I was in a cyclone and I know all about its unseeing eye, that eerie cone of silence in the dead centre, which is then followed a short time later by even more vengeful swirling winds. My boyhood cyclone boasted 100 kilometre hour winds. Yasi’s winds were more than double that.
Yasi was so huge – a storm 500 km in diameter – that its eye would take one hour to pass. Queensland’s premier Anna Bligh, who took charge during the whole crisis, jumped onto the radio waves and warned the inexperienced “when the storm suddenly becomes quiet, don’t think it’s over and rush out sightseeing. This is the eye of the cyclone and it will take one hour to pass. Then you will be hit with winds more fierce than before.”
An unbelievable 90% of my home state has been declared a disaster zone and the reconstruction bill is estimated at $1.5 billion.”
The rest of Ken’s story tells of shops wiped off the map by high water and some of the many roadblocks to a quick recovery. How prepared are you, and what would you do if your shop wasn’t there anymore?
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