Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Storm in a teacup

First the smarttraveller site told us that a Cat 1 (lowest intensity) cyclone was headed for Timor, although by the time it hit Dili, it would again be a tropical low, having vented its fury on the south side of the island, and the mountains.

For those of us registered with the Oz embassy, the warning was repeated by email (twice, because the first time didn't work for some, including me) and by SMS.

Then we were told by email and SMS that the path had shifted, a little away from Dili.

Finally, we were told by email and SMS that the forecast cyclone would not develop, had gotten a bit dizzy and tracked back on itself, and would pass at least 100km to the north of Dili, no gale force winds expected. Several expat friends muttered about overreactions and 'Dili never gets a cyclone'. I haven't reserached the statement so I don't know if it is true. There is a lot less leaf housing (easy to rebuild after a cyclone) in Timor than you see in cyclone prone Melanesia, but is that a weather thing, or a colonisation thing?

But I'm grateful.

I knew what was happening, up to date as predictions became public. Don't forget, chaos maths was almost invented to explain weather patterns. It was neither the fault of the Oz embassy or the Bureau of Meteorology that the predictions did not come to pass. I was grateful for the continual communication and the sense that there was a plan, or one developing, as the system and the situation did. And I'm hardly disappointed that I am not living through a cyclone, even a mild one.

Well done Stephen Smith, DFAT team, Consulate and BoM. Hopefully inan ho tia (the set of my female antecedent relatives by both blood and marriage) will sleep more securely knowing that you have demonstrated that you are indeed on the job.

No comments:

Post a Comment