Thursday, 27 January 2011

THIS Monsoon Burst is Easing--- at Last!!

Yesterday was Australia Day, as well, it was also Republic Day in India.

Yes, Australia and India share the same National Day.

A public holiday in both countries too, with a range of events and festivities.

And importantly for did not rain!!! Well, at least not during the daylight hours, just a little overnight before Australia Day. Last night we even had a starry night in Darwin, first stars seen for many weeks, after a good colourful tropical sunset.

Today..........a great day of clear skies and plenty of sunshine [plenty of humidity too] ........with a fierce thunderstorm right on dusk, with a few mm of rain, then clearing to a cloudy evening.

It seems that the monsoonal weather is easing, at last! People were a bit stir crazy, so much cloudy skies, rain, rain, rain and then more rain.

The rain has brought out the horrible cane toads, and there were two despatched to the nether world late last week - one in the driveway [ despatched with a shovel], another just down the street in the middle of the road.......squish.........under the car wheels! They were added to the compost pile and do make good compost.

We do not seem to have many in our neighbourhood, and eliminating those seen is a necessary job.

Friday, 21 January 2011

Another Week, Still Raining

It is getting very is still raining!!

A very long monsoonal burst period, with rain on all but 3 days since about the 11th of December. That is over 40 days.

Yesterday was a bit of a tease, with little rain for a long part of the day, and high overcast and some sun for most of the hours of light. That was fortunate, as it was a funeral and wake for a friend of ours, so he had a great day for his send off. And some thoughts were developing by many people that finally, the rain was easing off.

But today, it is back into heavy overcast weather with some very strong monsoonal rain showers. Very typical monsoonal weather.

A few dry days would be nice, soon. Mr Weatherman pleeeease? Even the mould is developing a coating of mould!

Friday, 14 January 2011

Monsoon is STILL here

Most monsoon periods last 7-10 days with the monsoon low pressure front moving north and then back south over the north coast of the NT, and across the NW of Australia.

The present monsoon period is now one month old and shows no real signs of going away.........and in fact is expected to deepen early next week. The monsoon front has been as far south as close to 1500kms inland ............that is almost to Alice Springs!! Presently about 500kms S of Darwin.

It has been steadily wet, not the monumental rains of Queensland, at least so far. Around 10 - 70mm of rain a day, with a few days slightly more. has rained almost every day since the middle of December. And more is coming.

A large tree outside our house has dropped is essentially waterlogged!

Today was drier.......just a few monsoonal squalls of rain, and even quite a bit of sun, among the cloud filled skies, but enough to deliver a good boost to the solar hot water system.

It is just a slightly wetter, but a fairly typical monsoon - lots of cloud cover, squally rain showers, some with high intensity rain. It is actually a great time as it is a little cooler each day with the cloud cover, and with lots of damp west or north west winds.

Better to visit now and not November......

Thursday, 13 January 2011

Floods Continue in Queensland

Another day, another flood it seems in the land of the banana bender.

Floods continue across the Brisbane region and will for several more days, maybe even a week in some areas before the water goes away. Then there is the task of cleaning up houses and businesses, and that will take weeks. Some premises will never be habitable again.......ever!

And it is a moveable feast with SW Queensland now being flooded with Goondiwindi and Boggabilla [in NSW but closeby] being evacuated.

There are floods across the state border into NSW as well - along the coastal rivers, serious, but it seems not quite to record breaking levels - just below in many areas. Have relatives there, but know they are well above flood levels, on Riley's Hill [ literally] south of Ballina, NSW.

The stories are developing already, with a great one today about Doug and Mavis the tugboat [google that and see for yourself] and it is a feel good story too. There will be many more; many, many more to come.

Come on will recover!!!

Tuesday, 11 January 2011

Floods in SE Queensland

Floods are expected in Brisbane tomorrow. And Ipswich is flooding tonight.

Last major floods were in 1974, and after that a new flood mitigation dam - Wivenhoe Dam was built on the upper Brisbane river, hopefully to prevent further flooding. It is now overfull, after being effectively empty a year ago or so, and water has been released under direction, although it will smooth out flood heights.

A record breaking intense La Nina event [] has brought unprecendented rain to SE Queensland, with horrific scenes all over the media outlets today of disastrous flash flooding in Toowoomba and the upper reaches of the Brisbane river, and despite the dam, that water is going into the Brisbane River. There are seasonal high tides also this week, and by Thursday, some 9000 homes as well as another 14000 business premises are expected to be flooded in Brisbane alone, with more in Ipswich [one third of all houses].

There are numerous images and stories across the media outlets - they do that stuff very well, so go and look.

I have been impressed by the savvy performance of a numer of Queensland ministers of state as well as senior officials in police, emergency services and related areas. The Premier Anna Bligh has spoken well, as has the Police and Emergency Services Minister, in stark contrast to the situation in Victoria during the dreadful fires there a few years ago. These two especially deserve congratulations on both their media appearances [several scheduled per day] as well as oversight of the various service departments operational in this situation.

While terribly difficult as these situations are, it does seem under efficient management and things are happening efficiently and effectively. No doubt the volunteeer crews deserve a lot of praise too.

One of our sons lives in Brisbane, and so far seems to be ok. Their house seems likely to be above predicted flood levels, based on available mapping. BUT......conditions are variable, changeable and a bit of an unknown. Our thoughts go out to them.

One can prepare only so much......and I have no doubt that the next issue in Brisbane for many people will be loss of power, for short or maybe longer time. They are turning off the power in some central city areas already. I hope they prepare well.

Living in an active cyclone zone ourselves, preparing for emergencies is an ongoing issue and we have, as well, been through a few modest as well as larger, fiercer cyclones. So we know a little about emergency preparation and coping.

There is nothing like the real event though.

If you are in a warm, dry place.........think about those in this region who may not be, or who are in emergency shelters.

Monday, 10 January 2011

A Bike Story Worth Reading

Australia is a land of very high quality bicycle racers, with track riders especially good at high level events such as Olympic games and World Championships.

To succeed at this level all factors must be aligned...........and the very best equipment used. Small errors cannot be tolerated- with Shane Kelly's pedal clip error in the final of the kilometre time trial event in the 1996 Olympics being a classic example.

This story concerns the development of the bike used by track riders in Australia at major events since about 1999, and including the 2000, 2004, 2008 Olympics.

This link leads to a story about this bike, the Bike Technologies or BT bike, with a characteristic curved top tube. The bike is fantastic - riders just rave about it. But there is a dark side - intrigue, possible illegal activities by the Dutch cycling authorities and some funny things occurring.

Definitiely worth reading if interested in cycling.

Saturday, 1 January 2011

The Christmas Wishlist

Yes, many people have one.

With fantasy, flair and farflung thoughts a Christmas wishlist needs to be innovative, far reaching but with the odd easy and low cost item to allow for those without extensive budgets to be accomodated.

Mine had for many years a new expensive roadbike with bells and whistles on the list. Something that probably I needed to actually specify very accurately.......and I did! was a lot of $$$, even very seriously many $$$, and even more in the Pacific peso, as it was then called, the $ Australian. It never appeared, and thoughts strayed to more sensible items.

The Aussie dollar is now worth around parity with the US $, and yes, I have a NEW BIKE!!! The two items are only partially related son sort of talked me into it after he and his wife unveiled new serious road bikes at Christmas. I did not need much convincing though, with good bike prices somewhat more reasonable now, as well as carbon fibre frames a little less expensive overall.

It is a serious road bike with a carbon fibre frame and good componentry. But I have yet to give the bike a decent road work out.

The bike shop was doing a great business in bikes........and I even met a colleague from Darwin [now in Brisbane] also buying a new bike......tis the new bike season!

All the weather has done is RAIN since Christmas. In both Brisbane and Darwin. Maybe tomorrow, maybe it will get a workout!