July 25, 2021

Tropical Cyclone Marcia: Central Queensland towns devastated as storm tracks across state

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Screen Shot 2015-02-20 at 10.03.26 AM Screen Shot 2015-02-20 at 10.02.47 AM 6164350-3x2-700x467From abc.net.au

Cyclone Marcia is leaving a trail of destruction along central Queensland as it slowly tracks south over land.

Marcia, only the sixth recorded category five cyclone Australia has seen, luckily made landfall in the largely uninhabited Shoalwater Bay on Friday morning.

It “grazed” the regional town of Yeppoon and maintained a lot of its force to directly hit the city of Rockhampton as a category three.

Townships have been extensively damaged; roofs ripped off homes, trees uprooted, and lives shaken up, with about 50,000 homes across the Capricorn Coast without power.

At 11:00pm AEST on Friday the Bureau of Meteorology said the cyclone was “barely holding onto a category one status”.

Hundreds of families have taken refuge in cyclone shelters, many built to withstand category five disasters.

As some towns exhaled after the disaster today, many more were still in the firing line throughout Friday night.
Emergency links

The Callide dam’s automatic gates opened late on Friday and “a massive amount of water” was heading towards Jambin, Banana Shire Mayor Ron Carige said.

Cr Carige told people in low lying areas to evacuate to the school.

“This has just come on all of a sudden,” he said.

“The Kroombit Dam is also going a metre over, and that is going to join up with the Callide and they both go towards Jambin.

“The gates have opened automatically and we have a wall of water two metres higher than the 2013 flood going into the Callide and that has got to come out over the spillway, so that water is now heading towards Jambin.

“We are asking everyone on the Callide to evacuate as soon as they can. Take bedding take some food and enough to last for a few days.”

Marcia was downgraded to a category one about 8:00pm AEST on Friday and was due to hit Biloela, the town’s first cyclone in 42 years.

The system was expected to track towards Monto and Mundubbera overnight and was expected to peter out by morning.
Video: Women freed from elevator in the middle of a cyclone

Despite packing gusts of over 200 kilometres there has been no loss of life throughout the disaster, but there has been a few near misses.

Two staff members of the Yeppoon Hotel had to be rescued from an elevator when power was cut.

Fay Brewer and Vikki Smith were stuck for about half an hour before several men used a car jack to wedge open the doors.

In Rockhampton, gusts pummelled local man Phil Tout’s home, wrenching off his roof and flinging it into the sky.

Support beams started crashing down.

“I got belted across the head and back with bits of timber and Christ knows what else,” Mr Tout said.

“I was out to it for a couple of minutes.”

IMAGE: House decimated by Tropical Cyclone Marcia in Yeppoon Photo: A house decimated by Tropical Cyclone Marcia in the Queensland coastal town of Yeppoon on February 20, 2015. (ABC News: Marlina Whop)

Many more Queenslanders would have gone through the same ordeal but it could take days to fully understand how many homes were destroyed.

Two Defence Force planes will help assess the damage on Saturday and 500 Ergon technicians will work to restore power.
image1.JPG Photo: Rockhampton city centre after the cyclone. (ABC News: William Rollo)

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk wanted people in Rockhampton and Yeppoon to stay indoors as much as possible, as live power lines were down.

The priority on Friday night was Biloela, which has a population of about 6,000.

Overall, Ms Palaszczuk said Queensland had pulled through relatively well and all effort would be put into the clean up.

“People need to be a little bit patient,” she said.

“I know they’ve been through a harrowing ordeal.

“We’re very lucky, we’re very fortunate, we’ve had no reports of serious injuries.”

For more on this story and video go to: http://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-02-20/cyclone-marcia-damage-across-central-queensland/6163626

Related story:

Cruising into the danger zone?

310600-c5748e88-b8a6-11e4-a901-79cc3d20af7bFrom news.com.au

“IT’S a little rocky, and there are sick bags everywhere.”

A passenger has revealed what it’s like on board Royal Caribbean’s Rhapsody of the Seas cruise ship, which is in the path of a monster storm that’s battering Queensland. It has been forced to change its course to avoid the brunt of the fierce Cyclone Marcia.

Scott Braun, 59, who is travelling with his wife, said the captain has just issued a video update to all passengers via the televisions in their rooms, reassuring them all is OK.

Read all the latest on the cyclone here.

“He showed a radar screen which showed the storm south of us and the ship moving in the opposite direction,” the Miami resident told news.com.au. “He added that the wind and waves have already calmed a bit and that the weather would improve late this afternoon and evening.

“He predicted that we would arrive in Cairns two hours late tomorrow, but that he would increase the speed as much as possible and that it is possible we might only be one hour late.”

Mr Braun said that people are taking shelter inside.

“The ship is a little rocky and seasickness bags have been placed at strategic places around the ship such as all stairwells … All outdoor activities have been cancelled and passengers in veranda cabins have been instructed to keep their doors to the verandas closed and locked.”

However, Mr Braun says he’s been on cruises which have endured rougher conditions than what they are currently experiencing.

He said the captain had slowed the speed of the ship earlier on as it was lashed with rain and wind from the cyclone.

‘It’s rocky, and sickbags are everywhere’

The Rhapsody of the Seas is passing near the cyclone. Source: Supplied

Concerns were raised for the passengers this morning when the ship was pinpointed in the danger zone on the live tracking website MarineTraffic.com. The site tracks vessel positions in real-time using their AIS (Automatic Identification System) data.

The ship is on day four of an 11-night Tropical Queensland sailing that departed Sydney on Tuesday 17th February, scheduled to stop at destinations such as Cairns and Airlie Beach along the way.

The ship’s location. Picture: MaritimeTraffic.com

The image of the ship. Picture: MaritimeTraffic.com Source: Supplied

When contacted by news.com.au a guest services staff member for the ship confirmed they were in the area of the storm but didn’t seem to be too concerned at the moment.

“We are on the way to Cairns, we are near the cyclone but everything is going normally,” she said.

The woman said there was a long line of passengers at guest services seeking information.

Meanwhile a spokesperson for the cruise line said that precautions are being taken as the ship continues its journey.

“Royal Caribbean International is closely monitoring the path and progress of a strong weather system associated with Tropical Cyclone Marcia, currently located on the east coast of Queensland, Australia,” the spokesperson told news.com.au.

“Rhapsody of the Seas reduced speed and altered course in order to travel to the east of the weather system and allow safe transit of the ship to Cairns, where we anticipate arriving at approximately 11am on Saturday 21 February 2015, three hours behind schedule.

“The safety and comfort of our guests and crew members is always our foremost concern. All of our vessels are equipped with the latest in navigational equipment and stabilising technology to ensure the absolute safety and comfort of our guests.”

This morning, concerned relatives of those on-board were told by Royal Caribbean on Twitter that they are keeping a close eye on the situation.

For more on this story go to: http://www.news.com.au/travel/travel-updates/cruising-into-the-danger-zone/story-fnizu4n5-1227229610413


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