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Lizard Island and Cyclone Yasi

By: Dr Lynda Kelly, Category: Science, Date: 02 Feb 2011

Several people have asked about Lizard Island and Cyclone Yasi, expected to hit Queensland tonight. Here is what we know at present. 

Via Jeff Leis, Senior Principal Research Scientist:

"Lizard Island is outside the zone of predicted ‘destructive winds‘ (>125 km/h), and just on the northern edge of the zone of ‘strong gale force winds’(76-87 km/h). See the map at the link below. The warning below the map makes sobering reading. So, assuming the predictions are correct, Lizard should be affected, but OK. Lizard will be exposed to southerly and westerly winds as the cyclone passes them to the south, which will result in some erosion on Casurina beach. I communicated with Anne yesterday, and they were battening down."

The map Jeff refers to is on the Bureau of Meterology website.

Via Glenn Hodges, Manager Facilities:

"Just to follow on from Jeff’s comments, I have spoken with Lizard this morning and they are currently implementing their well rehearsed cyclone plans. It is expected to pass to the south and the main impact at the moment may be the expected storm surge which could threaten some of the structures close to the beach. There are currently 25 people at the station at the moment expecting a bumpy night."

Via Anne Hoggett, Director, Lizard Island Research Station

"Thanks to everyone for your messages of support.

BOM’s forecasting for the cyclone has proved excellent to date. As long as Yasi keeps doing what is predicted, we should just clip the edge of gale force winds (34 to 60 knots) in the early hours of tomorrow. We have experienced such winds before and don’t expect any major problems.

We are also as prepared as we can be if the cyclone changes course towards us: all boats are out of the water, loose things are secured, and cyclone shutters are up on our ultimate bolthole, the Thyne Reid Wing. There are 25 people remaining at the station and about 22 staff still at the resort.

We considered evacuating yesterday and decided that Cairns was a much more dangerous option than Lizard. Several researchers chose to leave yesterday to get back to homes and families in Townsville. We will probably lose communications by tonight and are on our own now until this is all over. Our thoughts are with the people between Port Douglas and Townsville who are in for a hammering."

We wish them all the best, and our thoughts and prayers are with the people of Queensland over the next few days.

3 comments

llpoole - 7.02 AM, 03 February 2011
Love and prayers from the U.S.
Lynda Kelly - 9.02 AM, 02 February 2011

This from one of our Conservators, Heather MacKay:

"I spoke with Sue Valis last night who left the museum two years ago to take up a position as senior conservator at the Museum of Tropical Queensland in Townsville. Unfortunately the cyclone will be bearing down on the CBD with the force of a Grade 2 cyclone which will most likely intensify before it hits tonight.  Sue and her colleagues have worked frantically for the last two days to move collection material off the ground as the worst case scenario for them is 1.5 metres of flood waters throughout their collection stores. They are expecting a tidal swell of up to 7 metres which will flood a lot of Townsville. Sue lives just out of the predicted areas of inundation, however it is an unpredictable disaster they are facing."

Best of luck!

Lynda Kelly - 9.02 AM, 02 February 2011

Cyclone Yasi has been upgraded to a category 5 cyclone. More here.

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