Monday, February 23, 2015

Australia hit by tropical cylone double whammy

Michael Slezak in New Scientist: It was a shocking double blow. Australia is picking itself back up after being battered simultaneously by two severe tropical cyclones last week, in what meteorologists are saying is a first for the country. One of these appears to be the southern-most cyclone of such a strong intensity to make landfall, giving Australians a taste of what climate change is expected to bring.

Tropical cyclone Marcia was categorised in the highest possible category – category five – when it made landfall in Queensland on Friday and brought wind gusts of up to 285 kilometres per hour. On the same day, cyclone Lam, a category four cyclone, made landfall in the Northern Territory, knocking out a wind station with gusts up to 260 kilometres per hour.

Marcia is estimated to have damaged 1500 homes in Queensland while Lam pummelled through north Arnhem Land, leaving indigenous Australian communities there without power, water or sewerage.

"It is the first time that we've seen two severe – that's category three or above – cyclones making landfall within 24 hours," says Andrew Tupper, head of the National Operations Centre at the Bureau of Meteorology in Melbourne, Australia....

NASA image of Cyclone Marcia over Queensland, February 20, 2015

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