TUESDAY 15 FEBRUARY DARWIN
Woke to strong winds and heavy rain squalls. Turned on the TV to get a forecast. That little tropical low that had only warranted a brief mention, yesterday, now was said to have a 50% chance of turning into a cyclone by Thursday. Bloody wonderful! John wanted to see Darwin in the Wet Season – maybe this was overdoing it, just a tad?
Squally wind gusts, to 98kmh were forecast. And rain….
The Stuart Highway south was closed by floods at Noonamah. The Mandorah ferry was not running and had been moved inside the Marina. We could just hope the Ghan makes it through….
The skies were all grey. The winds were strong even in the central atrium of the building.
John went down in the lift to get the daily paper. I decided that when I had to go downstairs, I’d use the stairs – didn’t want to get trapped in a power failure in a lift.
While he was down there, John asked the lady at Reception to arrange for the Ghan bus to collect us, tomorrow, then came back and told me he’d done that. I was really cross – I’d clearly told him that I’d arranged this, back with the rest of the trip, in Melbourne. I rang Reception and explained our transport was already arranged, and that my husband was “confused”.
They asked us to bring our balcony furniture inside. Workers were putting the pool furniture – tables and chairs – into the pools at our complex, and the one we could see, next door. This was starting to seem rather serious.
According to the paper, last night’s ship was the Diamond Princess, out of Port Douglas, bound for Indonesia. She was in port at Fort Hill Wharf for part of the day – over lunchtime included. Over 1000 passengers would be braving the rain to have a quick look at the town. So that would be an area to avoid.
Drove to nearby Sky City to have their seafood buffet lunch once again; it was cheap with the Monday to Wednesday discount, plus our Action Club one. We had a big feed, because it would be dinner too – in these conditions we would not be going out again, anywhere.
At Sky City, also, workers were packing away anything from outdoors, and sandbagging the bottoms of doorways facing seawards.
Everyone we spoke to today said there hadn’t been weather like this in Darwin for at least eight years. Trust us to land in it. Concern was expressed on the media that there were now a lot of people living in Darwin who had never experienced a cyclone and wouldn’t know what to do.
Then to Nightcliff shops again. It was hard driving, in the wind and rain, and somewhat scary. Something hit the car roof with a thump – a little coconut? There was lots of leaf litter and small debris on the roads. It actually felt quite cold.
At Nightcliff, the lights were out and the shops were on emergency power.
We bought wine and some snack foods for the train. The supermarket shelves were being rapidly emptied – just about every shopper was buying supplies of bottled water.
Refuelled the car, then drove to Stuart Park to return the car. The wind was getting worse all the time. We were very glad to get to Thrifty with no mishap. Their staff were not going outside in these conditions to inspect the car – said they’d look at it tomorrow. We hoped there wasn’t a ding in the roof – or if there was, they would think it happened at their place.
They called us a taxi. We only waited about 15 minutes for it to come, which was pretty good in these conditions.
Back at the apartment, received a phone call from Great Southern Rail. The Ghan train was being terminated at Katherine and we would be bussed down there tomorrow. Damn! I hate bus travel.
We watched the weather – by now a howling gale – out the windows.
I packed what I could, cleaned out the fridge.
It turned out that today was the coolest February day on record in Darwin, at only 24 degrees.
The wind howled and wailed through the atrium, all night, making it harder to sleep.