Cyclone season in the Pilbara, Western Australia

This is my first time living in cyclone land. Ever. And this is my first cyclone season.

And because I just don’t really care to google ‘cyclone’ I asked Hubs what the difference between  a hurricane and cyclone was. In the US, we don’t have cyclones, we have hurricanes. (I already looked at some of the government sites that explained what to expect from a cyclone and they freaked me out more than they prepared me.)

He said he thinks it’s the same thing, but it just spins the opposite way? Basically, it’s a hurricane but in the Southern Hemisphere.

No idea if he’s right. And once again, no desire to google it.

You know what my first thought was when he said it spins the opposite way? What all you bloody non-Australians are thinking right now. 

“Oh! Like how the toilets flush in the opposite way too?”

Yes, I thought the same thing. Lol…But I don’t really think the water spins the opposite way. Honestly I think it just goes straight down. No spinny action, just swooosh…begone. Maybe it just depends on your toilet.

Narelle 5Cyclone Narelle looking like it was going to hit. Photos from Oz Cyclone Chasers via Bureau of Meteorolog.

What planet. Anyway, so the last cyclone, Cyclone Narelle was a big girl. She was mainly a category 4 that became a category 5 for a short time. At many points it looked like she was coming towards us, and as my first cyclone experience I was skurrred. I was just on a wave of emotions anyway because Hubs was in the hospital and I was housesitting alone. Like heck was I going to experience my first cyclone by my ditzy California like whatever self.

Give me an earthquake and I’ll roll with that beezy. No pun intended. Okay, maybe a little. Earthquakes are scary…but they just happen. Then they’re over. And you go on with your day or night. And big ones are entirely rare. There are little tremors here and there, most you don’t even feel. The last time Southern California had a giganto earthquake was in January 1994. I only remember because my brother was a newborn and mom made us sleep down stairs in the living room. That was like a 7 point something on the Richter Scale. Things fall, your heart pounds for about 2 minutes and you stand under a doorway and then it’s over. You usually have little aftershocks too.

Narelle 3Cyclone Narelle starting to pass us by. Photos from Oz Cyclone Chasers via Bureau of Meteorology

Back to cyclones. So I managed to get our cyclone box prepared last minute. Water, dried foods, mini gas stove, flashlight, batteries and candles. A cyclone box is an emergency box. Technically you should just have one ready for any emergency. Cyclone, Earthquake, Rapture, Apocalypse, zombie attack… you know.

So Narelle ended up dumping some rain on us here and there. The rain is entirely different than what I’m used too. I’m used to rainy days. In Cali and even in Orange, NSW it rained on and off for the day or days. Here it’s like rainy minutes.

It’s like WOAH! downpour for 2.3 minutes. But there’s always lightening at night. It’s like a nightly normal. Lots of lightening, usually no rain. And thunder. We get thunder too.

I really need to go outside and take photos of the lightening. It’s also like nothing I’ve ever seen before either. It’s like legit lightening. Nothing like the wussy crap lightening in Cali. This is like the Bon Jovi of lightening. You could probably read a book for the light it produces alone. It’s just so authentic. I can’t think of another word to describe it. It’s really awesome. I guess that’s the desert for you.

Narelle 2

Cyclone Narelle going out to sea. Photos from Oz Cyclone Chasers via Bureau of Meteorology

I think everyone on the west coast thought they were going to get hit by Narelle.

We follow Oz Cyclone Chasers on Facebook and they update your warnings every 3 hours. At one point it was hitting us, then Exmouth was going to get slammed, then Carnarvon was going to become nothing when it hit, then Perth was even going to get a large chunk of crazy weather from it.

Then it just kept moving farther and farther out to sea. And went, buh-bye.

Cyclone Low

The Tropical Low that’s to turn into a category 1 cyclone (Jan 22) Photos from Oz Cyclone Chasers via Bureau of Meteorology

So, now a week and a half later a “tropical low” is headed towards us, but it has yet to turn into an official cyclone. I had to have Hubs explain it to me a bit more because we are on Blue Alert, which is like the first warning, but I don’t think the cyclone has been named yet because it hasn’t been categorized as a cyclone yet. I think by tomorrow it will be a category 1.

It’s all been a crash course for me.

I took this from the Department of Fire and Emergency Services

  • Blue Alert means prepare for dangerous weather
  • Yellow Alert means take action and get ready to go to shelter
  • Red Alert means go to shelter immediately
  • All Clear means that wind and storm surge dangers have passed but you need to take care to avoid the dangers caused by damage

Hmmm…well, let’s wait and see what happens!

To see some awesome photos people have taken of the weather in Western Australia the last few weeks check out the Perth Weather Live Facebook Page


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