Monday, January 31, 2011


The last post I wrote seems very ironic now, given what actually happened in our town on the weekend. While all eyes were turned towards Cyclone Bianca, hovering off the west coast and expected to make an unprecedented crossing south of Perth late on Sunday, two unrelated cold fronts conspired to unleash a storm the likes of which are rarely seen in these parts, sweeping down though the Wheatbelt and culminating in an awe-striking display of the might and power of Mother Nature that caused significant damage to a number of towns, including my own.

This storm was completely unexpected. I had gone outside for some forgotten reason, and noticed the sky was looking strange. Great, orange billowing clouds were rolling in quickly, and for one minute, I thought I was looking at a bushfire. I sent Nath into the backyard to secure some of our (many) loose objects, and I grabbed the phone to take some photos.

Within minutes, the cloud was almost upon us and it was apparent that this would be no ordinary storm. As happens in the far north of Western Australia, storm fronts early in the storm season kick up masses of dust from the dry, rain-deprived earth and push a huge wall of this dust ahead of itself as it travels along. It's not common here, but....

....this one was enormous.

I called the girls inside and closed the house up. Within minutes, the sky became as dark as night, even though it was only three in the afternoon. The power went out, and we watched from the window, the little that we could see.

As we watched from the loungeroom window, our trampoline was picked up by the wind and thrown towards us, veering off at the last minute and tumbling round the side of our house, where it became wedged. The girls at this point were very scared (and somewhat concerned about their trampoline, and I promised to break the buying ban if it had been broken) and we huddled them up in the kitchen with their teddies while we checked all the windows and doors.

After a while the rain came, and some time later the winds died down. We heard the FESA vehicles driving through town with their sirens on, checking for emergencies, and we ventured outside to assess the damage. We have (before children) lived through a couple of cyclones in the North of WA and, aside from the brevity of it, this storm seemed just as furious. Many houses lost their roofs, and many more lost fences and trees. Sheets of roofing iron were strewn across the town and roads were blocked by fallen trees.

Our front fence
The power stayed off for over 24 hours, and some houses still haven't had theirs reconnected. On Sunday, we took some of the contents of our fridge and freezer to my Mum's house and stayed until we were fairly sure that our house had had power reconnected.

Eden is still a bit shaken by the whole event. She is very concerned about the trampoline, but was quite upset when Nath retrieved it. We eventually realised that the point where the trampoline came flying towards the window where we were sitting was the first point where Nath and I acted with urgency, and she responded with fear.

Our neighbour's house
Apart from this, we are unharmed, and very lucky. We still have our house, our roof and each other. Our garden came through relatively unscathed, and the chickens and ducks were also unharmed. If nothing else, this event has served to remind me how dependent on electricity we are, and how important it is to have a stockpile and a plan to get us through events like this, if the power had remained cut for much longer.

Here's hoping next weekend will be quieter!


  1. Interesting first person account and very impressive iPhone photos. Glad you and the girls are unharmed.

  2. Holy shit!! Great photos!! Glad you're all safe.


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