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Hurricanes Typhoons and Cyclones
Australia Natural Disasters

How long did cyclone Althea last?


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May 08, 2009 8:50PM

The winds started becoming destructive at about 7.30am and by about 11.30am it was safe to go outside, maybe a little earlier. I was there, I was 8 years old and remember gusts of wind started breaking things about 5pm on 24/12/71 and the wind blew hard all night. We lost power for several days. The eye passed directly over Townsville and lasted about 10 to 15 minutes, it was a strange silence after such feroucious winds and then the wind hit again from the opposite direction at over 200kms/hr. The roof was ripped off the house opposite us and crashed into another house taking all the fences with it. Fortuatley we were in a brand new single story house with Cyclone proof roof bolts and we were one of the few houses that sustained only minor damage from flying objects. The wind subsided on Christmas day, I remember having vegemite on bread for Christmas dinner. It rained solid for weeks after the cyclone passed and Townsville was flooded causing even more damage. It was like a bomb had gone off, 90% of homes were damaged and many destroyed. The damage was far less than Darwin experienced when Tracy hit 3 years later but this was probably because Townsville had been hit about 16 times before and the building codes were stricter. Darwin had never taken a direct hit and as a result insufficient building codes cost them dearly.