News is still coming in from the areas left devastated by the fury of Cyclone Yasi. Some small towns have been severely smashed by the cyclone. These are mainly those directly in its path as it crossed the coastline. The local people are struggling to get back to normality and help those whose homes have been made uninhabitable by the storm. No loss of life has been reported, and injuries are less than expected from such a high force cyclone. The rescue authorities have warned that it is still possible that lives have been lost.
There were mass evacuations from the most at-risk areas which may prove to have been effective in saving lives and injury, and maybe there has been an element of luck involved. However, the event will still have been heavily economically damaging.
Certainly, mercifully the cyclone did change course just before it crossed the coast of north Queensland, so the images below from Cairns below and in the area, show the result of what was not a direct hit on either that centre of population, or Townsville. Hundreds of homes are still likely to have been badly damaged. Nevertheless, it could just as easily have been many more, and possibly even as many as thousands of homes.
Cyclone Yasi with winds that no doubt reached about 250 km / hour, during this category 5 cyclone, on Wednesday evening to the northeast coast of the country, certainly was massive and it hit with furious force. It has brought with it yet more problems for communities which had only just begun to recover from the unprecedented floods, last month.
Now if anyone is wondering what the term cyclone means. The answer is simple. It is what in the U.S. and north of the equator, is called a hurricane. But, the only difference, other than the name, is that in the Southern Hemisphere, they rotate in the opposite direction, that’s, clockwise.
The big worry is that with climate change, hurricanes, and cyclones are becoming more frequent and more intense. The theory put forward by scientists is that as ocean temperatures increase, the temperature differences which drive these events is increasingly making them more energy intense. If that’s true, the severity and longevity of the most damaging cyclones and tropical storms will quite logically increase.
Investors are not normally the most prone to such concerns. But, whether or not the average investor is worried about global warming, the extent to which climatic events are rattling investors is substantial. It happened during the floods last month and now Yasi has caused another drop. The Australian dollar fell from close to a one-month high just as Cyclone Yasi reached the country’s coastline, trading at $1.0068 as of 11:45 a.m. in New York, down from $1.0111 on Tuesday when it touched $1.0149, the highest level since January 4th.
Australians in the at risk areas were told to barricade themselves in their bathrooms with mattresses, doonas (duvets), etc, to fill their baths, and have some food before the onslaught. They were directed not to go outside at all until the storm had subsided.