Ho, everyone. Thanks to all you folks who got in touch. I wish we were easier to contact, but we're pretty much incommunciado at the moment, as I'll explain below. (This is a sneaky-post from my work PC.) The most important thing is that Vickie, Zelda and I are very much alive and well, as is our house.
We were both pretty much up all night; we'd try to relax and sleep, then remember/think of one more preparation we could make; when we did get everything done, we'd usually get woken by the hourly cyclone warnings on the radio. Power flickered a few times, then finally went early in the morning. (Not on the radio, though; we made sure we had batteries in it.)
The gales really sterted to hit around six or so, and after seven we were both patrolling windows, keeping an eye on our trees. It was nerve-wracking, I can tell you; the rain was coming down so hard that not only was it coming in under the front door, but through the joins in the heavy wooden door itself! Judicious use of towels on our front door and louvred windows kept us nice and dry inside. We were really woried about the back patio, which is not only lower than the rest of the yard by an inch or two but also almost on a level with the back door, which leads straight ino the main living room. Thankfully, the concrete rail sleepers we put down around the edges of the patio directed the rainwater away from the door.
We had a close call or two, when it sounded as though we might have lost sections of our roof due to flying branches, and later on I noticed that our large fig out the back had uprooted (only had a shallow root system, as it turned out) and had fallen across the back part of one of our fences, wrecking two panels of it. I've taken some pictures, which I'll crop and post once we get power back.
The weather started to calm down at around nine, I think. We didn't stick our noses outside until a little before midday. House, car and all other important stuff was fine, but the yard was an utter mess. We spent most of the afternoon sawing and hauling on limbs of trees - we lost our male pawpaw tree, which is a bugger as it'll mean our three or four female trees are less likely to bear fruit - had a barbecue dinner and then collapsed into bed at eight thirty (which Vickie complained vociferously about) and slept like logs until six this morning.
As to the power situation, I took Zelda for a walk this morning and saw that the northern end of our road has power lines down all over the place. While the poles are still standing, some large trees came down on the lines themselves, and there are at least three houses that I doubt the owners can get out of due to lines down in the yards. On the way to work, I discovered that most of the southern suburbs of Cairns are without power; the only open supermarket had its own generators running. The city itself and immediate suburbs are pretty good, though, which is why I can get this post up.
So, we have house and running water, but no Internet, TV, computer, oven, stove or refrigeration (although we're managing the latter through judicious use of the fridge and a big bag of ice in the outside freezer). Also, because we have one of these new fandangled cordless phones that needs power to work, we can't call anyone, and local mobile reception is stuffed.
It could be a lot worse, though. Just ask the residents of the town of Innisfail; it was absolutely hammered on Monday. I'm looking at pictures in today's paper, and there's flooding, rubble power ploes down everywhere, lots of flat countryside where buildings and canefields used to be. The road between Innisfail and Cairns is cut by flooding - in fact, you can't go any further South than where the Bruce Highway meets Riverstone Road, at the very intersection where we live. (Which means we get queues of cars outside our place.) If you've got any spare prayer and / or good thoughts, they could really use 'em down there.
And here's the fun bit, it might still get a lot worse: Tropical Cyclone Wati, Category 2, is currently lurking off the coast. The latest BoM forecast has it heading west-south-west over the next twenty-four hours, and if it holds that course it'll be moving away from us. Here's hoping...