Monday, January 31, 2011

UPDATED: Australia's Flooded North Braces for Massive Cyclone as Locust Plague Heads South


Cyclone Yasi

After Dodging Australian Cyclone Bullet, Apache Corp. Counting on Egyptian Gas Fields...Oh, Wait... (APA)

From Reuters:
Australia's flood-stricken state of Queensland closed major coal ports, evacuated tourists from vulnerable resorts and warned of heavy rain on Monday ahead of a massive cyclone due to slam into its coast this week.
Forecasters said Cyclone Yasi could be generating gales of more than 250 kph when it hits the coast on Wednesday or Thursday, which would put it on a par with Hurricane Katrina, which devastated New Orleans in 2005.

"This is a very serious threat," Queensland Premier Anna Bligh told reporters. "It may be one of the largest and most significant cyclones we've ever had to deal with."

Queensland, which accounts for about a fifth of Australia's economy and 90 percent of its exports of steelmaking coal, has borne the brunt of a cruel summer, with floods having swept across the eastern seaboard in the past month, killing at least 35 people.

Queensland is also home to Australia's sugar industry, which was also hurt by the floods and now risks being battered by the cyclone....MORE
Australian locust spotter on alert:
Community Locust Meetings

From the Department of Agriculture Fisheries and Forestry:

Locust situation in January 2011

Australian Plague Locust (Chortoicetes terminifera)

Swarm activity increased in late November and continued throughout December in the Riverina and Far Southwest of New South Wales, the Murray Valley and Northeast South Australia and in Northwest and North Central Victoria. Sporadic egg laying began in these areas in late November and intense swarm egg laying was reported in areas near the Murray River during mid–December. The general southward movement during early December resulted in swarms accumulating in the southern and eastern Riverina and in Victoria as far south as Horsham–Stawell and Hamilton. In South Australia adults moved into the western Mt Lofty Ranges in mid–December and swarm egg laying was reported from Peterborough to the Barossa Valley. Hatchings from eggs laid in the first half of December commenced at the start of January in northern Victoria and the Riverina. There were several periods of migratory redistribution during December.

The outlook is for a second generation of high density nymphs in the Riverina of New South Wales, Northwest and North Central Victoria and in the Murray Valley of South Australia during January. The development of hopper bands from eggs laid in mid–December will occur during the first half of January. Sporadic egg laying is likely to continue during the first half of January in these areas, which could result in extended hatchings throughout January. A significant summer generation could also develop in parts of Southwest Queensland, the Far North of South Australia or other regions where populations were previously low, as a result of migrations.

In New South Wales high density adults and swarms were recorded in Western, Lachlan, Riverina and Hume Livestock Health and Pest Authority (LHPA) areas during December, while adult numbers declined in Darling, Central West and Northwest LHPA. Swarm density egg laying was recorded in the Riverina and Hume LHPA areas in mid–December, with many egg beds recorded in the Deniliquin–Corowa area....
Okay, he wasn't a 'locust spotter', just a guy with a big problem.
For some reason I was thinking of the iconic (was it Brit propaganda?) photo of the London air raid warden:

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