Cyclone Ingrid and seabirds

Subject: Cyclone Ingrid and seabirds
From: Lloyd Nielsen <>
Date: Sat, 09 Apr 2005 11:14:14 +1000
An interesting occurrence came out of Cyclone Ingrid which lashed the tropical coast of Australia a few weeks ago. Local ABC radio interviewed people who had been right under the cyclone's path after it crossed Cape York Peninsula.

The cyclone was small by cyclone standards but a very intense one - category 5 which is at the top of the scale. Winds around the eye were up to 300 km per hour. It crossed the Peninsula coast about 50 km south of Iron Range but weakened to a category 4 and by the time it crossed the western coast of Cape York Peninsula (Gulf of Carpentaria side) it had weakened to category 1 which still has very strong winds around the eye. (Cyclones weaken quickly when they move over land). The cyclone regained strength as it moved into the Gulf and over water to a category 3 and then skirted the Top End again on to the Kimberley as a cacegory 5. It had a moderately sized eye - about 15 km in diameter according to Meteorological Bureau reports and very obvious on satellite photographs. (The eye of a cyclone is calm and the sky is often cloudless).

The people who were under the cyclone on Cape York Peninsula and had the eye pass over them remarked on the large number of seabirds (probably Frigatebirds, boobies, terns?) that were soaring about - trapped in the eye. One wonders what happens to these birds, how far they are carried and what was their fate. One would think that with an eye 15 km in diamteter, they would have had time to rest and perhaps feed while ever it was over the sea.However, one would assume they would perish in the end.

Lloyd Nielsen
Mt Molloy  Nth Qld

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