Sunday, March 07, 2010

The Big Wave and Fire

Bugger this tsunami word. So far as I can see, it is what we used to call a tidal wave and tidal wave is much easier to spell. There may well be a difference, but the effect is the same. A big wave comes.

Australia was issued with a tidal wave warning after the Chilean earthquake. Would a big wave really travel all the way across the South Pacific to Australia and be a threat to us? Pretty unlikely in my mind.

Nevertheless, Aussie punters flocked to the beaches to see it arrive which is kind of wrong isn't it? But perhaps Aussies aren't quite as stupid as they seem. No one took it seriously. So far as I know, nothing really happened here.

Authorities do not want to be blamed for not warning, so therefore, we can expect more cries of 'wolf'.

We are just so fortunate here in Victoria to have been spared bad fire weather this year. While the fire season is not quite over, we have passed the worst of it. But had it have been fire weather, that is very hot temperatures with strong north winds and perhaps a southerly wind change, then mark my words, we would have had Code Red days, catastrophic days, called left right and centre.

The day before February the 7th last year, that terrible day when around two hundred people died in bush fires, Premier of the State John Brumby was on television telling us that the following day would be a very bad day indeed and so it was but I am sure even he did not imagine how bad it would be. Of course no names, but not everyone believed him. When I heard the weather forecast, yes I thought it would be a bad day, but not to the extent it was.

So can I take from that I should ignore warnings from those who measure tidal waves and those who measure fire risk and wait until the Premier warns us on tv?

I fear that there will be so many wolf calls, for both tidal waves and fire threat, that no one will take them seriously.

Ah, written a few days ago. I will now add storm warnings to that. Somehow in spite of being in and out of online media and checking rain radar, I missed the storm warning for today's severe storm. Another person who is online often must have missed the warning too. But I heard the subsequent one, that was later cancelled, and the one a few days ago that was also cancelled. If in doubt, call a warning. You can always cancel it later


  1. Splish, splash I was takin' a bath....

  2. Actually a tsunami wave has far more force in it than an ordinary big wave ever could- good diagram here:-
    Also, people died all the way over in East Africa from the Boxing Day tsunami so they can and do travel a long way....
    Some local high school kids from here were in Samoa when the tsunami hit there last year. They were just lucky someone had attended a tsunami workshop very recently and recognised the sea was retreating, and shouted at them all to run up the hill. They lost everything except what they wore, but all lived to tell the tale.

  3. I like the idea of crowds flocking to the beach to see a tsunami that's likely to kill them. That's evolution at work, that is. Whether rightly or wrongly predicted, they didn't know it wasn't going to happen. Hopefully next time the scientists will get it right and nature will do us all a favour.

  4. Anonymous7:22 pm

    Japan got (smaller-than-expected) tsunami from the Chilian earthquake, so why not Aus? You're in a direct line at least; Japan is diagnolly opposite Chile.

    Hey were you working yesterday? I just looked at the pics on The Age website, poor ol'Melbourne copped one hell of a belting! Take care. Vik.

  5. A Tsunami packs a wallop from the displacement of water during the original seismic event then there are the after shocks. They're still looking at the cruise ship that was hit by four huge waves in the Med and trying to figure out where they originated.

  6. Could have happened Jayne.

    From the diagram KN, it looks more like a sustained rise in sea level. It is incredible that it can travel so far.

    And Brian, a survivor would say, 'but how was I to know it was dangerous?'

    Vik, we and Japan has good warning systems. Did they get it wrong or are they so close to land that it would not allow much time? I am happy with warning well in advance but it was getting alarmist. Yes, I was in the thick of it so to speak. R took some snaps, more later.

    That ship business was quite alarming too Jahteh. Wouldn't radar or something pick it up in advance?

  7. Anonymous5:49 pm

    Yeah, the post-Chilian earthquake tsunami were smaller than anticipated but there was more inland flooding than expected, due to the tsunami raising the water levels of tidal rivers. I don't think the warnings here were alarmist; afterall, tsunami are a fact of life in Japan. Most people in the affected areas took whatever precautions they could and went about their business.

    You must have had fun - not - being stuck in the middle of the storm whilst working. Vik.

  8. Haha , I love what Jayne said above. Call a warning, yes, cancel it later if they must.

  9. Cazzie, technology should be able to sort all this warning stuff out, even fires up to a point.

  10. Vik, fun is not a word that readily comes to mind. Trying is one though.

  11. I am with you Andrew its a bloody tidal wave for god's sake...

  12. I'm thinking there's a sort of denial going on. "Nothing bad is going to happen to US." And then there's many times that we ARE warned, and nothing happens. So we get used to the outcome being that way.

  13. MC, there probably is a difference but the effect is similar, inundation.

    Dina, I suppose authorities are damned if they do and damned if they don't. A few less warnings might make people take more notice.


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