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Cairns Cyclones

Every year the North Queensland coast feels the affects of Tropical Cyclones. These are in principal the same as hurricanes, typhoons and monsoons. Basically a tropical cyclone is a huge mass of low pressure air that forms over warm tropical water swirling in a clockwise direction. As the air mass grows strong winds and torrential rain result. If large enough the winds can be very destructive.

The cyclone season in Cairns lasts from November to May. Whilst cyclones can produce strong winds they rarely do more than disrupt traffic and boat movements for a few days.

The severity of a cyclone can be measured by the following table.

Category
Strongest wind gust
(kilometres per hour)
Typical effects
1
125 Negligible house damage. Damage to some crops, trees and caravans. Boats may drag anchors.
2
125 - 169 Minor house damage. Significant damage to signs, trees and caravans. Heavy damage to crops. Risk of power failure. Small craft may break moorings.
3
170 - 224 Some roof and structural damage. Some caravans destroyed. Power failure likely.
4
225 - 279 Significant roofing loss and Structural damage. Many caravans destroyed and blown away. Dangerous airborne debris and widespread power loss.
5
More than 280 extremely dangerous with widespread destruction.
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