[LINK] [Fwd: Cyclone Yasi Begins to Arrive]

Birch, Jim Jim.Birch at dhhs.tas.gov.au
Wed Feb 2 17:05:48 AEDT 2011

Radar image:  http://www.bom.gov.au/products/IDR191.loop.shtml

Willis Island observations: http://www.bom.gov.au/products/IDQ60801/IDQ60801.94299.shtml

Willis is a flat little Island with a manned Met station about 450 km off the FNQ coast, set up as a cyclone advance warning point in 1926 - well before satellite and weather radar gave us the ability to see "out there."  It has taken a more-or-less direct hit.  The anemometer crapped out at 8:37 am about one hour before the cyclone centre with the last recorded maximum wind gust at 185 km/h.  The station stopped sending data at 10 am.  The minimum pressure of 938 hPa is very low indicating an extreme cyclone.

I guess they would have got the station crew out.  Even though it has a cyclone bunker I wouldn't want to try it.  The island has a max height of 9 metres so it wouldn't be obvious what was land and what was sea.  At these wind speeds you don't get conventional waves, the waves get torn apart to produce a layer of driving air and water that my oceanography lecturer once described as "too thin to swim in, too thick to breathe."

Info/pic on Willis Island: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Willis_Island_%28Coral_Sea%29

- Jim




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