Ok, Ok I will give it a go though I'm still learning more all the time about the lingering effects of the cyclone.
|This satellite image shows the massive size of cyclone |
Yasi as it approaches the Australian coast.
First some facts: Yasi was a category 5 (Australian scale) cyclone when it made landfall on 3 February, 2011. On the Saffir-Simpson scale it was a category 4 (recent hurricane Sandy was a category 2). The eye of the storm passed right over South Mission Beach, where we are currently living. Wikipedia reports that in Mission Beach wind speeds were estimated to be as high as 290 km/hr (180 mi/hr). Imagine trees in this kind of wind. Now imagine rooftops blowing off of buildings and debris flying around. Horrifying! Storm surge reached 7 m (23 feet), which is less than was predicted. Even still, most of the beach had lost its sand and every building was impacted (wikipedia).
|We took this picture of the rainforest|
in 2011 just 6 months after Yasi.
In July of 2011 we visited Mission Beach for a week and wrote a blog about our observations then. http://cassowarytales.blogspot.com.au/2011/08/6-months-after-cyclone-yasi.html
Reading that blog now makes me cringe a little. At the time, we believed that Mission Beach would eventually recover to its pre-Yasi state. Now, I'm not so sure.
$3.6 billion in damages were reported making this the most expensive cyclone to hit Australia. What is remarkable about that figure is this area is sparsely populated. If the cyclone had hit farther north to Cairns or farther south to Townsville the sum of damages would be staggering.
|An empty apartment building |
damaged by cyclone Yasi
has not been repaired.
For Mission Beach the closure of the Dunk Island resort seems to have had the largest impact on the community. The 160-room resort on an island 4 km off the coast was very popular holiday destination. For $200-$300 per night you could stay at a beautiful resort on a tropical island. This drew tourists to drive 2 hours south from Cairns rather than to the posh Port Douglas just 20 min north of Cairns. Dunk Island resort was often fully booked in the winter months. We never stayed there overnight but we enjoyed day visits to the beautiful resort to go snorkeling at Muggy Muggy beach. The resort sustained a lot of damage including roofs blown off and walls ripped off. The staff who sheltered there during the storm give horrifying accounts of the storm passing over them and sounding like jet engines. The upshot two years later is that the resort owner has no plans to reopen the Dunk Island resort because the insurance costs are too high. As a consequence all those tourists are no longer coming through Mission Beach. Without the tourists, the shops and services decline which further deters tourists. For example, you can no longer scuba dive on the reef out of Mission Beach, you have to go to Cairns.
|Dunk Island resort in July 2013. Note blown off roof|
and ripped walls. The owner sees no point in making repairs.
|The rainforest is recovering with very dense vegetation at the|
ground level and a sparse canopy. Gavin wanted very
badly to get into this photo as you can see.
I know that the rainforest will recover but I don't know what the future holds for Mission Beach. It is still a remarkably beautiful and laid back place. I hope that tourists will continue to come here for the atmosphere and to look for cassowaries.