I just got back this afternoon from a three-day work trip to Townsville. Townsville is 1111km (690 miles) north of Brisbane. When I booked my flights last week Tropical Cyclone Ului was a massive category 5 cyclone hovering approximately 1000km (620 miles) off the coast of north Queensland in the Coral Sea. The information at that time was that, at the earliest, it could hit the coast near Townsville on Wednesday 17 March, the day of my flight. I booked my flights and accommodation and waited to see what T.C. Ului would do.
The day before my flight Ului was still slowly moving towards the coast and had been downgraded to a category 4 cyclone. An option for me was to change my flight to next week but I decided to go ahead with my trip as planned. I caught my flight on the morning of Wednesday 17 March and arrived to fine weather in Townsville.
On Thursday 18 March it had clouded over somewhat with the occasional rain shower. Tropical Cyclone Ului was still moving slowly but now in a south-westerly direction. It had now been downgraded to a category 3 cyclone and was expected to hit the coast some time on the weekend. This was a relief as I was flying home on Friday afternoon.
Friday morning and the cloudy weather had set in and the wind was starting to pick up. I had another busy day at work and before I knew it it was time for me to head to the airport and board the aircraft for my flight back to Brisbane.
This evening, Friday 19 March, Tropical Cyclone Ului has been downgraded to a category 2 cyclone and is expected to hit the coast south of Townsville some time on Sunday 21 March.
I'm glad to be home.
Images are from the Bureau of Meteorology website.