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PostPosted: Wed Nov 04, 2015 10:04 pm 
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hello all

well, cyclone season has started here, along with the high humidity and temperatures of an Australian summer. I thought I will giver a perspective as to what occurs as an State Emergency Service volunteer during before, during and after a cyclone crosses the coast.

before
-I attend community education sessions to 'encourage' people to ensure that they are prepared for cyclones and flooding, including ensuring they have 3 days of food and water on-hand, that the general public is aware that they may live in a flood/storm tide zone, that general public has an evacuation plan and kit and that they know what to do before, during and after the event.

- I ensure that any member of the public understands that we are not a tree lopping firm, that we do temporary repairs and we only clear debries to ensure that the public has access to their home, we do not dispose of the waste nor do we chainsaw trees that are in your back yard

-we (SES) pre-deploy to towns and communities that may be at risk of the cyclone to ensure that trained volunteers are on the ground, ready to start the recovery portion after a cyclone hits

During the cyclone

- I am either sheltering in my own home, in the command building manning the radios or in the cyclone shelter
- If I am in the cyclone shelter I am not the catering staff, if you didn't bring food then you starve
- I am in the same boat as you, no cooking, no aircon, no showers
- there are 12 emergency services members to handle 600-900 people, depending on how good we are at sardines
- if you call 000 (911) during the cyclone because your roof is gone guess what, we are not going out in those conditions, you will just have to make do and wait

After the cyclone

- we will not touch abestos
- ring once then wait, don't ring 100 times starting a new report each time that just means 99 teams have wasted time they could have been assisting other people
- we are not tree loppers, we will walk away
- we are not builders/plumbers, some jobs are just too big for us
- we will take the quickest option 80% of the time
- if we can't see the damage then we can't fix it
- we do not replace roofs, fix leaks or tidy the garden, call the relevant professional

We are volunteers, we do not get paid to respond, we do not get paid to put up with the member of the community who waited three days for us to come and fix their spare bedroom roof



sometimes i wish more people read this forum, so much useful info for cyclones, anger at the minority has subsided now, resume normal procedures :awesome:

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Vincent Tornado: 2013
Tropical Cyclone Ita: Category 5 landfall 2014
Tropical Cyclone Marcia: Category 5 landfall 2015
Tropical Cyclone Nathan: Category 3 landfall 2015
Severe Tropical Cyclone Debbie: Category 4 landfall 2017


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PostPosted: Wed Nov 04, 2015 11:02 pm 
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An excellent OP. And amusing too because actually while reading it I was nodding 'yes' at my computer screen :lol: since I was relating to some of the things and definitely the emotion / frustration in your writing. I, also, am an Event volunteer in my own part of the world.

We get frustrated too. We find that about only 1 in a bazillion people here implement even the 3 day water on-hand:
Quote:
-I attend community education sessions to 'encourage' people to ensure that they are prepared for cyclones and flooding, including ensuring they have 3 days of food and water on-hand, that the general public is aware that they may live in a flood/storm tide zone, that general public has an evacuation plan and kit and that they know what to do before, during and after the event.

And when our tornadoes knock out electricity and block roads about half a bazillion out of the bazillion scream to get them water and supplies the next day.

I can't imagine having part of the job put you in the position to have people also asking you to fix their roofs and clear their trees. :lol:

If you're so inclined I'd love to hear more about the cyclone season Events and your experiences as you go through them this year. Seriously, keep on typing. I'm here in front of my computer listening, hoping you'll write more.


Last edited by zombiepreparation on Thu Nov 05, 2015 1:10 am, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Thu Nov 05, 2015 12:30 am 
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thanks for the feedback zombiepreperation. its nice to know there are more people out there along this kind of work.

during TC Marcia (Feburary this year) we had one last job before going home (2 hour plane trip). It was a roof tarping job, on a house so large and on such an incline we just managed to set up a height safety system (that's a 100m rope over the building) we ended up having three teams alternating on the roof to manage exhaustion, as (it was a tile roof)...ALL the tiles had come loose and had to be removed before we could put the tarp (which could be seen 6 km away as we're on top of a hill) up.

add the fact we're in a cul-de-sac no wider than 10m, three landcruiser troopcarriers with double axle trailers, not to mention the cars of the residents who lived there. things got more interesting when two cherry picker trucks from the power provider turned up to inspect a fault, then the insurers.

turns out the house wasn't built to code. :rofl: hence, no insurance.

Zombiepreperation, I would love to hear some stories from your perspective with tornados, I've only dealt with one and it was an eye opener

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Vincent Tornado: 2013
Tropical Cyclone Ita: Category 5 landfall 2014
Tropical Cyclone Marcia: Category 5 landfall 2015
Tropical Cyclone Nathan: Category 3 landfall 2015
Severe Tropical Cyclone Debbie: Category 4 landfall 2017


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PostPosted: Thu Nov 05, 2015 2:05 am 
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Sure.

To me tornadoes are Awesome Terribleness or Terrible Awesomeness, which ever way indicates they are amazing, sometimes breath taking, and cruel at the same time. I born, raised, and lived large chunks of my life in tornado country.

When I was little we read the skies and were attuned to barometric changes because meteorology wasn't yet what it is today, very little communication on the televisions about the storms, no take cover sirens until I was 10? 11? 12? We lived in the city so if the police knew a tornado had been sited they'd drive through the neighborhoods using their car microphones telling people to take cover.

Now THAT was EXCITING to a kid.

We were the first house in the neighborhood to build a storm cellar. You could 'feel' if the day was setting up for tornadic weather. After awhile the neighbors would begin gathering at our house, usually in the late afternoon because that's when it would begin to approach ominous. The mothers usually in the house getting blankets, lanterns, snacks, games if we needed to go 'in' the cellar. The kids running around the backyard and the dads. The dads always standing in a group looking up, reading the sky / winds, waiting for that drop in pressure that said 'everyone into the cellar now'. The kids & moms would go down in the cellar and the dads would stand around the door until it began to get imminent or it had begun to rain. (often the first sign) Then they'd grab the rope to hold the door down while the moms & kids huddled and the storm passed overhead. We never really knew how close a funnel cloud had been to touching down, but you could always feel their strength as they passed over. The closer, the harder it was for the dads to hold the door closed with the rope.

Exciting.

Sometimes it would be over after that, and sometimes we had to sleep down there because it 'felt' like the weather was still ready to pop another one.

My personal neighborhood had never been hit back then so we were lucky, but not infrequently places within a few miles of us would have close calls and sometimes direct hits, which is never good.


And tornadoes come in many flavors: one to a storm, very weak ones, stronger ones, really bad ones, sometimes several in a single storm. Sometimes multiple storms tracking over the same area setting down multiple tornadoes for hours.

They very often come with a period of strong wind intake toward the storm, then rain or hail. Then tornado. Most of the time they do not stay on the ground long, but sometimes they touch down, lift back up, touch down again over a few miles. Once in a while they touch down and will track on the ground for miles and miles, often gathering intensity when they do this. Once in a while they will touch down and just stay in one place before they lift and disappear.

They can be as small as a small house and in Oklahoma City a couple of years ago one was two miles wide at times.


Last edited by zombiepreparation on Thu Nov 05, 2015 3:17 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Thu Nov 05, 2015 2:37 am 
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Mostly I've been lucky enough to be on the periphery of tornado damage but sometimes, like at 8:30am and you're not paying attention like I wasn't one surprised me.. SUDDENLY ... and I was outside. I saw it and went running for the house, was blown into the kitchen. Then it was over. When I went outside cars had been crumpled from trees being blown down on them. My next door neighbors had to a tree sawed apart to be able to get in & out of the front door.

I had a friend in Texas, we were grown then, with good warnings to follow on the TV now, and she heard the TV say a funnel cloud had been spotted in her neighborhood. And oddly it was sunny in her front yard and she went out on her front lawn to see what direction it was coming from. She turned around and immediately saw it, and it was going to touch down on her house. She went running to her door but the tornado hit the house first. Then just as fast lifted back into the cloud and disappeared.

Tornadoes can be really weird. We have a video of a storm chaser standing in a field with his camera as he pans it a full 360 degrees and there are five tornadoes basically just turning in place, not tracking at all.

One time driving highway 40 west in New Mexico it was a sunny sky except for the long thin roping tornado stretching across the sky toward us.

The May 3, 1999 tornadoes in Oklahoma had me terrified. It started with a deadly F5 tornado that flattened Moore after it had been on the ground 40+ minutes destroying small rural communities and homes, killing so many many people. And that was just the beginning because the super cells just kept forming all night long and tracked the same hundred miles, setting down tornadoes everywhere along the track, over and over. At one point there was a tornado on the ground 15 miles south of me, 22 miles east of me, and 7 miles north of me. All night long shopping centers, homes, buildings were being destroyed by the 60 or more tornadoes that touched down all through the night. It was terrifying.


There. That's enough about tornadoes. For one thing I can talk about them for hours with excitement. And the other thing is, for this thread I want to hear you talk about your cyclones and experiences.

Honestly I don't really grasp what a cyclone is. I 'think' it is or is like a hurricane? Maybe smaller? Maybe less destructive? I really don't know and I'm very interested. And you fly places with your volunteering? And use three landcruiser troopcarriers? This is wayyy different from the Neighborhood Educating & First Response I do here. Interesting in the timing of this thread because one of my neighbors approached me today that we haven't had the yearly classes for the neighborhood this year and would I please please set them up. :lol: :lol:

So there it is, and when convenient.... Your Turn! :lol:


Last edited by zombiepreparation on Thu Nov 05, 2015 3:18 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Thu Nov 05, 2015 6:58 am 
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first thing, I better explain my role

In Australia each state is responsible for their own emergency services. each state has fire, police, ambulance, air services (under an emergency service or on its own) and the State emergency Service, a volunteer organisation. the SES is responsible for many roles (depending on the location) such as general rescue, searches (both ground and air), flood operations, vertical rescue, road crash rescue, agency support, storm damage operations, traffic control etc etc.

Because we are a government agency every volunteer in the state receives the same training, uses the same equipment and has the same procedures. in the event of a disaster a local unit may be swamped, so can call on other units within the state. if required the state then can request assistance from other states and federal government (army).

http://www.emergency.qld.gov.au/ses/

in Australia we classify cyclones as tropical cyclone (equiv to US tropical storm) or severe tropical cyclone (equiv to US hurricane). there are 5 categories, cat 1 with wind gusts up to 80 mile per hour. Cat 2 with wind gusts up to 100mph. Cat 3 with gusts up to 140 mph. cat 4 with gusts up to 173 mph and cat 5, which is the most severe.

North Australia has a cyclone season, essentially October to March every year. in each season multiple cyclones will form, some will make land and some will hit towns. the scary thing about cyclones is they always (to me) cross the coast at night, and the eye is calm, so you have weather that gets more destructive, then nothing, then the destructive winds return in the opposite direction, then the weather begin to improve as the cyclone passes.

and yes the state government occasionally flies us to towns to provide extra manpower. and yes my local unit has 5 troopies, a rescue truck, a bus, 2x double axle box trailers, a custom built search trailer and a custom build storm trailer...and we use every piece of equipment on activations.

hope that gives you an insight to how we work over here, hope you get your training sorted and stand by for some more humerous stories from activations :awesome: (unit of approx 150 active members)


oh, and the only deaths that have occurred in recent (last 10 years) from a cyclone has been due to some idiot running their generator indoors

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Vincent Tornado: 2013
Tropical Cyclone Ita: Category 5 landfall 2014
Tropical Cyclone Marcia: Category 5 landfall 2015
Tropical Cyclone Nathan: Category 3 landfall 2015
Severe Tropical Cyclone Debbie: Category 4 landfall 2017


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PostPosted: Fri Nov 06, 2015 2:42 am 
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taipan821 wrote:
first thing, I better explain my role

In Australia each state is responsible for their own emergency services. each state has fire, police, ambulance, air services (under an emergency service or on its own) and the State emergency Service, a volunteer organisation. the SES is responsible for many roles (depending on the location) such as general rescue, searches (both ground and air), flood operations, vertical rescue, road crash rescue, agency support, storm damage operations, traffic control etc etc.

And you are SES. State Emergency Service. From what you say here you people do some heavy in-depth training if you are a rescue group, even general rescue because you do ground, air, flood, vertical, road crash. Quite a different intensity of work and training from our voluntary Community Emergency Rescue Teams. On the ground we are mainly first responding triage, wounded stabilizers, crowd martialing for the Emergency Medical & Rescue Teams' arrivals. In our leadership we are multiple group coordinators and radio operators. I would enjoy seeing what your processes in practice.

Quote:
Because we are a government agency every volunteer in the state receives the same training, uses the same equipment and has the same procedures. in the event of a disaster a local unit may be swamped, so can call on other units within the state. if required the state then can request assistance from other states and federal government (army).

Now THIS is big to me; same training, same equipment, same procedures.

Quote:

Will go there when I get some time. Thanks

Quote:
in Australia we classify cyclones as tropical cyclone (equiv to US tropical storm) or severe tropical cyclone (equiv to US hurricane). there are 5 categories, cat 1 with wind gusts up to 80 mile per hour. Cat 2 with wind gusts up to 100mph. Cat 3 with gusts up to 140 mph. cat 4 with gusts up to 173 mph and cat 5, which is the most severe.

North Australia has a cyclone season, essentially October to March every year. in each season multiple cyclones will form, some will make land and some will hit towns. the scary thing about cyclones is they always (to me) cross the coast at night, and the eye is calm, so you have weather that gets more destructive, then nothing, then the destructive winds return in the opposite direction, then the weather begin to improve as the cyclone passes.

Good. I've got the picture now.

Quote:
and yes the state government occasionally flies us to towns to provide extra manpower. and yes my local unit has 5 troopies, a rescue truck, a bus, 2x double axle box trailers, a custom built search trailer and a custom build storm trailer...and we use every piece of equipment on activations.

Fascinating.

Quote:
oh, and the only deaths that have occurred in recent (last 10 years) from a cyclone has been due to some idiot running their generator indoors

Ah, carbon monoxide. The idiot maybe first timers either not fully understanding the possible dire consequences, and or idiot thinking it wont happen to them. That is an impressively low death record over the last ten years.

(Larger numbers of 'our' um idiots ignore the "Don't drive into water going across the road! Don't do it!" They just keep driving into it; needing rescue, sometimes drowning not only themselves but others.


Quote:
stand by for some more humerous stories from activations :awesome: (unit of approx 150 active members)


Standing by and very much looking forward to them!!!


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PostPosted: Fri Nov 06, 2015 6:01 am 
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well, here come the stories

this was a Land search that occurred late September. a family was camping at a camp ground that sits on the lake of one of our feeder dams, surround by rainforest. at approx 900m elevation (peak is 1000ish metres) there are numerous little walking tracks that go around there, not all are well marked.

wife/mother goes for a walk in the late afternoon and doesn't return. we get activated for a land search of the tracks at 0400 the next day. so we drive up and meet members of the unit that reside nearby. we are met by the team of volunteers that constructed these tracks to act as guides (not well-marked, most of the blazes were covered in moss and looked the same as the trees :? ). the local rescue helicopter was on-hand to conduct an aerial search using FLIR.

so we begin searching the tracks, fallen trees near the tracks, caves and anywhere else someone could have sheltered under. the family of the women join in to provide some much needed manpower to ensure we covered the ground. This goes on for 6 hours (which is a lot of time in tropical conditions).

we then get the order to end searching. the women had just called a friend to pick her up...at the bottom of the range. apparently she mistook the track that descended the range for a short track, then decided to keep walking when it got dark, using her phone for light . and she walked down a pretty rough range in the dark, and without injury.

so we were a bit speechless at that info, and a bit annoyed that we were in the wrong spot :gonk:

i write these stories down to remember them, so i'll find a cyclone related one your next time

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Vincent Tornado: 2013
Tropical Cyclone Ita: Category 5 landfall 2014
Tropical Cyclone Marcia: Category 5 landfall 2015
Tropical Cyclone Nathan: Category 3 landfall 2015
Severe Tropical Cyclone Debbie: Category 4 landfall 2017


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PostPosted: Fri Nov 06, 2015 2:18 pm 
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Ses was a job I let go because my actual job was such a bastard in regards to shifts. That has settled down now. I could see again. Thanks for reminding me.


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PostPosted: Fri Nov 06, 2015 11:48 pm 
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taipan821 wrote:
she mistook the track that descended the range for a short track

arrrgh. Even I've missed the trail hiking on a short casual day hike inside the Grand Canyon. A short casual hike, a bottle of water, then becoming aware I'm not on the right trail, the long shadows of afternoon growing longer, how far back did I lose the right trail, the sense of urgency. And I'd been in there many times (not this particular trail) and have hiked long and short term for years and years elsewhere.

Quote:
and she walked down a pretty rough range in the dark, and without injury.

:clap:

And on your end of this story:
Quote:
surround by rainforest

I don't even relate to 'rainforest'. :lol: Deserts, yes. Forests, a bit. Rainforests, no.

I'm picturing it dense, yes?

Quote:
we get activated for a land search of the tracks at 0400 the next day.
we drive up and meet members of the unit that reside nearby.
met by the team of volunteers that constructed these tracks to act as guides
not well-marked, most of the blazes were covered in moss and looked the same as the trees
the local rescue helicopter was on-hand

I can visualize the picture, the energy, the movement, the questions, the getting organized.

Quote:
so we begin searching the tracks, fallen trees near the tracks, caves and anywhere else someone could have sheltered under. the family of the women join in to provide some much needed manpower to ensure we covered the ground.
for 6 hours

I have never been in or even around a search and rescue. And so much ground to cover, so many unknowns involved, and in tropical conditions. This is so interesting!

Quote:
the women had just called a friend to pick her up...at the bottom of the range.
so we were a bit speechless at that info,
and a bit annoyed that we were in the wrong spot

You people are great! To me your job is enviable, even knowing it includes physical duress, I assume some failures once in a while, and lots of frustration.

Wish I was there!

:clap: :clap:

And, please, at your convenience I'm ready to hear more.


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PostPosted: Fri Nov 06, 2015 11:49 pm 
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drop bear wrote:
Ses was a job I let go because my actual job was such a bastard in regards to shifts. That has settled down now. I could see again. Thanks for reminding me.

Ah, so now we have two SES volunteers in this thread.

Terrific.


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PostPosted: Sun Nov 08, 2015 3:43 am 
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zombiepreparation wrote:

Quote:
surround by rainforest

I don't even relate to 'rainforest'. :lol: Deserts, yes. Forests, a bit. Rainforests, no.

I'm picturing it dense, yes?


Jungle, but with less undergrowth.

And nice to hear from you drop bear, which unit/state did you belong to?

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Vincent Tornado: 2013
Tropical Cyclone Ita: Category 5 landfall 2014
Tropical Cyclone Marcia: Category 5 landfall 2015
Tropical Cyclone Nathan: Category 3 landfall 2015
Severe Tropical Cyclone Debbie: Category 4 landfall 2017


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PostPosted: Sat Nov 14, 2015 10:33 pm 
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Another story. This time from a weekend exercise

- One should not take a bus down a track where a troopcarrier got bogged (bus recovery in sand)
- One should check river depths more carefully (both boats got stuck in a tidal creek with crocs)
- One should have extension cables for the radio mast (ended up getting horrible radio reception)
- one should be drawn to things that look unnatural, rather than going through the normal routine (three hours wasted)
- one must be capable to board and exit boats with a leap to stay away from the crocs :awesome:

more stories to come (eventually)

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Vincent Tornado: 2013
Tropical Cyclone Ita: Category 5 landfall 2014
Tropical Cyclone Marcia: Category 5 landfall 2015
Tropical Cyclone Nathan: Category 3 landfall 2015
Severe Tropical Cyclone Debbie: Category 4 landfall 2017


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PostPosted: Sun Nov 15, 2015 2:23 pm 
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Too funny!!!

And how did you spend your weekend?
"Well we had a bit of trouble avoiding the crocs when the boats, bus, and transporter got stuck. The radio reception wasn't so good either."

LOLOL


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PostPosted: Mon Nov 16, 2015 1:22 am 
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not to mention donating blood to the mozzies

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Vincent Tornado: 2013
Tropical Cyclone Ita: Category 5 landfall 2014
Tropical Cyclone Marcia: Category 5 landfall 2015
Tropical Cyclone Nathan: Category 3 landfall 2015
Severe Tropical Cyclone Debbie: Category 4 landfall 2017


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PostPosted: Fri Nov 20, 2015 7:28 pm 
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ohhhhhh. <headslap> Mosquitoes! You were talking about Mosquitoes! :D :D


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PostPosted: Sun Feb 14, 2016 10:59 am 
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Little update to the season, all quiet thus far.

the only fun time at this point was 140mm of rain causing some people to realise they're gutters were blocked, resulting in ceilings collapsing from water ingress.

but, the fat lady hasn't even begun to warm her vocal cords.

will update this topic when something interesting happens

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Vincent Tornado: 2013
Tropical Cyclone Ita: Category 5 landfall 2014
Tropical Cyclone Marcia: Category 5 landfall 2015
Tropical Cyclone Nathan: Category 3 landfall 2015
Severe Tropical Cyclone Debbie: Category 4 landfall 2017


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PostPosted: Sat Feb 25, 2017 8:34 am 
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Nothing Much has been happening, so I'd thought I'd just continue on using this post (even though we're in 2017 cyclone season)

A bit of extra practice using chainsaws...and a pic (censored to protect against government wraith)
Image
huzzah for government issue gear :clap:
I'll try to take more pics to give people more insight to what I do

_________________
Vincent Tornado: 2013
Tropical Cyclone Ita: Category 5 landfall 2014
Tropical Cyclone Marcia: Category 5 landfall 2015
Tropical Cyclone Nathan: Category 3 landfall 2015
Severe Tropical Cyclone Debbie: Category 4 landfall 2017


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PostPosted: Sat Feb 25, 2017 4:09 pm 
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Go for it. I still watch for your next posts.


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PostPosted: Fri Mar 24, 2017 12:06 am 
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Update...

well, a cyclone is expected to form within the next 3-5 days and make landfall near where I live (current predictions, this will always change)


Panic Time...I just used up my old food stockpile and now I need to go and get more...oh and I'm currently on placement
Updates will follow

_________________
Vincent Tornado: 2013
Tropical Cyclone Ita: Category 5 landfall 2014
Tropical Cyclone Marcia: Category 5 landfall 2015
Tropical Cyclone Nathan: Category 3 landfall 2015
Severe Tropical Cyclone Debbie: Category 4 landfall 2017


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