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Australian Hams Respond Following Severe Weather

02/20/2015

Amateur Radio volunteers with Australia’s Central Queensland Amateur Radio Association (CQARA) has initiated nets on HF and VHF in the wake of a tropical cyclone (hurricane). After making landfall, Cyclone Marcia caused major damage, ripping roofs from structures, downing trees, downing power lines, and damaging other infrastructure. According to Jim Linton VK3PC, the chairman of IARU Region 3’s Disaster Communications Committee, it’s still too early to know the full extent of damage from the cyclone, a Category 5 storm bearing winds of 155 MPH when it hit Yeppoon. Cyclone Marcia lost intensity as it slowly moved south, and it has been downgraded to a Category 1 storm

 

CQARA volunteers are reported active on 40 meters and 2 meters. Other Wireless Institute Civil Emergency Network (WICEN) groups are standing by to help emergency responders. The few people who remained on Queensland’s tourist coastal islands have evacuated to shelters. According to Australian news media, many residents have been left without electricity, and power is expected to be off for several days. Emergency managers are asking residents to use water only when absolutely necessary. The Rockhampton Airport has been closed due to flooding.

Linton said no deaths have been reported, due to the storm. “During previous major Queensland cyclones extensive agricultural crops were lost,” he said.

A separate weather system dumped rain over southeast Queensland, including the capital of Brisbane, causing some localized flooding. Linton said that situation could worsen as Cyclone Marcia heads farther south.

Elsewhere in Australia, Cyclone Lam, initially a Category 4 storm, engulfed the northeast region of the Northern Territory. Linton said that early evacuation of lightly populated islands and sheltering from that storm has been effective. Cyclone Lam has been downgraded to a tropical depression.

 

 



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