A New Day Dawns

I have never been more pleased by this inevitable truth than I am today.

Today the sun has risen to a still, calm day and my mind has finally become a still, calm mind. When I read back what I have written so far I sound incredibly calm. You can be certain that was all facade. This was a terrifying experience.

The winds raged for more than thirty hours at our place. For twelve of those hours the wind gusts reached over one hundred kilometres an hour. The sound of the wind was constant in our ears. The highest wind gusts recorded at the airport were 135 kph. At that speed we could feel a vibration right through our solid concrete house. Sleep occurred in short bursts measured in minutes not hours.

We have been incredibly lucky. Damage is only to plants. We maintained electricity supply, except for a short time. We are so glad to live in an area where our power supply is delivered underground. I am so incredibly grateful for the internet and my iPad. The Queensland Police Service set up a bulletin page on facebook and posted information that was timely and factual. I had access to real time radar images and knew where the cyclone was in relation to us and how fast the winds were blowing. This information and knowledge is what kept everyone safe and prevented rumours and speculation.

The aftermath for us has been minimal. Lots of damage to our plants and yard, but that is trivial and easily cleaned up. In the next two years these plants will regrow and heal themselves. I haven’t left the house yet, but I know that every road across the city has trees laying across it and power lines down. Many houses have been flooded and sustained damage from wind or missiles propelled by the wind. Sand that was once on the beaches is found kilometres away across roads.

I made these three videos yesterday, around 9am. The wind was still gusting, but compared to what had happened overnight it felt calm.

We coped, we survivied, but we have no plans to do it again. If anything like this cyclone is heading our way again we will drive and drive and drive until we reach somewhere safe and quiet.

Thank you for your comments, concerns and emails. They have been much appreciated. I apologise for not responding to all of you. Hopefully our lives will return to something a little more normal today and tomorrow.


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42 responses to “A New Day Dawns

  1. Melbourne. Hardly ever have cyclones in Melbourne. So glad that the only loss was plants and some hours of sleep. I think you’re very brave.

  2. trash

    Glad to hear you made it through relatively unscathed. Even my beachfront family didn’t suffer as badly as we anticipated.

  3. so glad to read this this morning. The noise was what did a lot of peoples heads in (not sure where apostrophes go here!!) from what I can gather.

    We southerners are so impressed with how North Queensland went about preparing for this monster storm (and with Anna Bligh just quietly!)…

    I lived in Brisbane for many years and remember getting the tail ends of cyclones… they were NOTHING compared to what you have been through.

    • Anna Bligh and the Emergency Management Centre are the reason that we made it through so safely. Knowledge is power. We were so well informed that everyone was able to make the smartest decisions and take the wisest actions. We knew not to be complacent.

  4. I am just stunned to read that there was no loss of life! I think your government did an A+ job of preparing everyone. Glad that all of you are safe.

    • The building code in a cyclone zone in Australia has incredibly high standards for the strength of buildings. We felt secure that anything built after 1980 would weather the storm. The whole community had cleaned up any potential missiles from yards, building sites and commercial spaces in the days before the cyclone arrived. So long as everyone heeded the warnings and stayed in a safe place for the entire storm then the only outcome could be a positive one. That is what has happened. Thank goodness!

  5. How wonderful that you are safe and sound!
    I love hearing your voice on those videos – and seeing your garden (even windswept!).

  6. I am with you on the drive drive drive!!!

  7. I’ve been wondering about you & hoping that Pete was responsible for building your house because I’d feel confident in his construction plans. (If he’s meticulous about painting, he’ll be meticulous in building a solid house). I don’t think I could have stayed through that turmoil. I’m glad for your iPad & the police wisely posting current information about the weather.

    I hope your community rebounds quickly from the turmoil. It has been quite a year for Australia.

  8. So glad to hear you are safe!

  9. tc

    The relief in your tone is clear…so glad for you. I hope you are able to rest and recover. xx

  10. Stuart

    You know, it’s a strange thing to say, but this cyclone has left me hankering after North Queensland in ways I would never have thought possible. I have immersed myself in this story for reasons both professional and personal. I have a good number of dear friends and family (including you guys) in the cyclone zone for whom I was genuinely fearful in the days leading up to Yasi. I was amazed by Yasi’s power, but I have been equally amazed by the laconic, realistic and matter-of-fact way NQlders have taken it in their collective stride. To have lived through an experience like that is one thing, to get out of bed the following morning, be thankful it’s a fine, calm day and just get on with cleaning up is another. Since I left Townsville as an 18yo, I have lived in London and spent almost 20 years in Brisbane. In the aftermath of the floods here, covered in mud, sweat and tears, I was proud to be a Queenslander. Watching and reporting Yasi and listening almost non-stop to the locals on ABC radio has made me realise I’m even more proud to be a North Queenslander.

  11. I agree with Stomper…drive, drive, drive until you get to Melbourne. I doubt even a cyclone as monsterous as Yasi could be bothered making it to Melbourne – it’s just too much effort to get all the way down the coast and around that corner.

    So glad that you’re all safe.

  12. Nah, it rains too much in Melbourne, although they do have good restaurants. You will still want the humidity, Sydney has that.

    Tracey, I feel like I have just walked around your yard, and it is surreal. I am so glad that you are all ok and sorry for your garden, but that is easy to replace, albeit a bit of hard work cleaning, clearing and replanting.

    I hate gusty wind. Always have, it unsettles me. I would drive drive drive long before it got near me. You are very brave for staying in the first place. Gusty wind of that magnitude would have me a babbling mess within 5 minutes.

  13. Rhu

    I thought of you, often, and your choice to stay. We sat up most of Wednesday night, watching for news and staying in touch with friends, and the cyclone progress. I pleased beyond words you are safe and that tree debris was the worst outcome for you and your Pete. x

  14. We’re *so* glad you’re all safe. The fact that everyone came through it is simply astonishing. My two little ones were very concerned about you – “but how can they all stay in one room all night, Mummy?” and they were very shocked by your videos. We’ve had strong (for the UK) gusty winds here today blowing the little ones along the pavements, and they’re horrified to think that what you went through was so much more powerful. I hope in time you can forget the sound of that night.

    • Some people slept in their bathrooms or laundries all night. I even heard of some people who slept in wardrobes. The fact that we are all together and fine makes it easy to forget that wind. It was one night in of the many, many nights we will have together.

  15. I’m so relieved to see you posting so soon and that you are all safe.

  16. So glad you are all safe! Next time, I agree, drive fast and far! And bring some fabric with you!

  17. So Glad to hear all is OK & you didn’t sustain too much damage…

  18. Ginger

    I am so glad you and your family are safe Tracey. You are very courageous for staying.

  19. Wow! I know I’m late, but it’s so good to hear that you are all fine. I’m so sorry about your trees, but you have a good attitude about them. And it’s lovely to hear your voice too!

  20. Oh, Possum! For some reason I thought that you were much further south. So sorry you had to go through it. So pleased you came through so well. Hope there’s some sort of normality happening in your neck of the woods…

    • The world moves along at its own pace and we had no choice but to find normality as quickly as possible. The signs of the cyclone will take many years to disappear. Enormous numbers of trees on street and in public places have been lost. Four weeks on and the council is still collecting fallen trees from curbsides.

  21. Car

    I just stumbled on this from Facebook..I feel the same way about if another comes.. I do not want to be there. Your “sleep comes in minutes” line caught my eye as I could no sleep at all, being in an old Queenslander we were worried we would loose the roof. What got me about the whole experience was the length of time this one was………never ending,,,battering of winds…. I am glad that all you had was tree damage and you are all safe….. I think with the lead up to it stress, the going through it stress and then the aftermath…. I was drained to the hilt…. we are still weeks after trying to get things cleaned up…….x car

    • I know EXACTLY what you mean by drained. I was exhausted down to my bones for nearly two weeks. We are feeling now that we are cleaned up, but we haven’t begun to replant and replace all the trees we have lost.

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