Tuesday, 11 March 2008

The wrath of Larry

Cyclone Larry arrived 4am 20Th March 2006. He huffed and puffed and blew many houses down. This was no fairytale, this was real. In total darkness and winds howling , fear sets in. If I just lay in bed under the covers will it go away, will I be safe? Instinct kicks in and hauling a mattress into the bathroom, making sure all valuables accompany you. Tikky starts to meow and he is grabbed and quickly and tossed into the tiny room. Sheets of metal and unknown objects are lashing at the house, walls shaking, the whole house vibrates. Mother nature unleashes her fury. Thoughts of what if the roof comes off, what if you are caught up in the winds, invade every sense of ones being. A monetary lapse in the wind , pokes head outside the safe haven of the bathroom, and a sheet of iron comes crashing through a window, glass flying all around , twigs and leaves follows. a scream that could not be heard above the high pitched squeals and hasty retreat is made back to crouch under the single bed mattress. I felt like a vice had hold of my heart and my stomach was churning. The door of the bathroom was moving and as I lay on my side, I placed my feet against the door and pushed with all my might. I prayed for the first time in years, please dear Lord dont let the wind be the winner here, keep me safe and please save my cat. The eye of the cyclone came over and all was still. Despite warnings not to venture outside when the eye is over, myself and many other people did so to survey what damage had been inflicted thus far. Buildings with no roofs, smashed windows, fallen trees and debris scattered the roads. Doors missing off businesses, some completely demolished and yet others without so much as a scratch. The winds began to pick up again but this time anti-clockwise. We each ran back to our prospective havens knowing the town was about to be smashed by winds up to 300 kph. Time seem to pass quickly and by 10am all was quiet. As if in a dream, i came from the bathroom, and slowly walked through my house, so much glass, leaves, water , pieces of wood and general debris everywhere. A lump in my throat and i walked to my front steps, sat and just stared out at what resembled a war zone. For two days I walked through the town centre , hungry, exhausted, at a loss. Emergency stations had been set up and with thousands of others I stood in line, all the while pizzas, fruit and bottles of water were being handed out. No money was available and the help came in voucher form to be spent at a local supermarket. Having no electricity and no esky to keep ice, i was limited to buying tin and packet foods, I craved a hot coffee. One day in centre of town i sat and had a hot meal, sitting on the sidewalk, a lady spoke to me and asked how I was, I broke down and cried like a baby.
It took 4 weeks for power to be restored and longer for windows to be replaced in my house, I was one of the lucky ones, some had no house at all. In times of heartache and tragedy having witnessed the sheer greed of man and on the flip side, mans ability to lend a helping hand to those in need. Two years later, the scars of Cyclone Larry remain.


Bretwalda Edwin-Higham said...

Brings back memories. On the road from kakadu to Katherine, the whole sky ahead went black and a cyclone passed across the road about 100 meteres in front - you can imagine the wetlands being caught up in that.

Rain was torrential and my car, out of the action zone, still shook like crazy. Then it was over as if it had never happened - except for the debris.

So I can imagine Larry - not good. Brave girl.

Nunyaa said...

Was as scared as a mouse. I see the tornados that occur in the States and I can't help but feel that we was all lucky.