News reports on super-storms and cyclones seem to be on the rise, with Sydney the latest city to be battered by severe weather. Overnight the NSW coast was hit with damaging winds and heavy rainfall, leaving 160, 000 homes without power, commuters stranded and the SES with an enormous job ahead of them.
“We haven’t seen gale-force winds this consistent for years – gusting over 100km an hour. They are cyclonic,” State Emergency Services deputy commissioner Steve Pearce told the Nine Network.
“We have over 500 SES volunteers in the field … hundreds of firefighters from the Rural Fire Service and Fire Rescue also assisting. This is a multi-agency response and we can see it only getting worse.”
Flash flooding has affected major roads and rail routes and reports are urging people to stay at home, particularly the littlies heading back to school. “The roads are far too dangerous. Flash flooding is everywhere throughout the Sydney metropolitan and surrounding areas,” said Pearce.
Last year a similar super-storm battered Brisbane leaving 100, 000 people without power and the city with a hefty damage bill of over $500 million. Winds reached cyclonic gusts of up to 170 km, while tennis ball sized hail battered homes and cars. So, is this a glimpse of what’s to come?
Mainstream science has been urging us for years that the effects of global warming on Australia were likely to be severe, so at some point we have to ask: Are these events the result of climate change? “Trends towards more powerful storms and hotter, longer dry periods have been observed, according to the IPCC’s Fourth Assessment Report, and this trend is projected to continue,” reads a report on the Parliament of Australia website.
“Global warming is expected to cause an increase in weather extremes because it will change the distribution of heat and thus the flow of energy through the climate system,” it continues.
Natural disasters such as these not only impact our economy, but also our immediate environment, with power outages – and in some cases water shortages – the result of these super-storms. Preparation definitely isn’t an easy task, but is it time we revised our infrastructure and started to seriously plan ahead? Do you think your house could withstand a small cyclone? And would you be well equipped with supplies should water or power be cut due to the weather damage?
It’s a grim concept to contemplate, absolutely, but if the weather continues to intensify as projected, these are things we seriously need to consider going forward.
What do think? Are you well-prepared for a super-storm?