Tropical Cyclone Yasi Storm Tide
Tropical cyclone (TC) Yasi was one of the most powerful cyclones to have affected Queensland since records began. Previous cyclones of a comparable measured intensity include cyclone Mahina in Princess Charlotte Bay in 1899, and two cyclones in 1918 at Mackay (January) and Innisfail (March).
As TC Yasi approached the Queensland coast on the morning of 3 February 2011, a team of Queensland Government engineers and scientists were providing around the clock advice to the State Disaster Coordination Centre on potential storm surge levels and the locations most likely to be affected.
The storm tide advisers worked closely with Bureau of Meteorology forecasters to predict the magnitude of the storm surge generated by TC Yasi before it reached the Queensland coastline. This information would not have been available to disaster coordinators without the government’s wave and storm tide monitoring network.
The government’s extensive network of storm tide gauges and wave measuring buoys strategically located along Queensland’s coastline provided real-time technical information that was used to identify the storm tide threat and extreme waves. The information and advice from scientists and engineers provided the early warning needed to evacuate threatened coastal communities.
After TC Yasi had made landfall, scientists began surveying the impacts along 230 kilometres of coastline in the worst-hit areas from Townsville to Bramston Beach south of Cairns.
Their Post-cyclone field investigation report shows cyclonic winds on the ocean surface had a huge influence on the magnitude of damage and coastal flooding continued well after TC Yasi crossed the coast.