Cyclone Debbie Trashed My Plans

Well that didn’t go at as I’d imagined.

I had big plans for my final 48 hours in Noosa before leaving, but the remnants of Cyclone Debbie pretty much destroyed them.

Leading up to last weekend, Debbie, the latest storm development off of the eastern coast of Australia, dominated news headlines. Meterologists watching her trajectory originally predicted she’d make landfall in Townsville, the place where I happen to be flying to tomorrow.

In preparation for the worst, the Queensland state government ordered schools closed the following Monday and Tuesday. As the weekend arrived, Debbie gained strength and upgraded to a category 4 cyclone. She was feared to grow to a monstrous category 5 but never did.

Luckily for Townsville residents, including my pen pal whom I’ll be visiting there, the cyclone changed paths and headed for the shore 200km farther south. On Tuesday morning, Debbie came ashore leaving destruction in her wake.

One of many signs around Noosa on Thursday.

Debbie Comes to Noosa

Fast forward to Wednesday night here in Noosa, 1,000km away, where it started to pour. Now I’ve been experiencing the rainy season for the past few weeks which involves a lot of rain. But this was a LOT of rain. Thursday, I woke up to pretty gloomy weather. The rain continued on and off throughout the morning.

I was scheduled for my final float session in the afternoon, and in fact the studio called to say they were open and ask if I wanted to reschedule due to the weather. I wasn’t really concerned, so I said I’d be in.

Float Noosa is just 20 minutes on foot from the apartment, but it was too rainy and windy for my usualy walk so I grabbed an Uber. I had no idea that what remained of Debbie was scheduled to hit Noosa around 5:30PM.

screenshot of storm warning
I saw the memo. After the storm had passed.

I Stayed Too Long

My last session at Float Noosa was great. Due to the gloomy and cooler weather, stepping into the pod was quite the cozy experience. Afterward, I had the pleasure of chatting for a good 30–40 minutes with the owner who was working that day instead of asking one of his employee to travel in the bad weather.

We had such a great conversation. I finally had the chance to ask him all the things I’d been wondering about with his business. The downside, though, was that by delaying my departure, I would end up going home in the height of the storm.

As we chatted, the weather suddenly got worse. With all the rain, water was even leaking in through one of the windows. Finally, I decided to schedule an Uber, but understandably, none of them were out driving by this time. Luckily, I was able to call a cab.

I was enjoying my post-float tea as the storm picked up outside.

Debris Everywhere

Rain was coming down sideways as I ran for the car. The five-minute drive took twice as long because tree debris was everywhere. One section of the road was even blocked by a large tree branch that the driver could skirt only by crossing into the oncoming lane.

The wind was constant and fierce, and I finally realized how dangerous the situation was as tops of trees blew off in front of us. The driver got us safely to my destination, but then I had still had to make my way through the apartment grounds full of blowing palm trees. I ran with my eyes up and arms over my head.

Debbie does destruction. And kills my electricity. #cyclonedebbie

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Kept In the Dark

Back at the apartment, I discovered that the electricity was out. Weeks, ago I had regretted spending $30 for a package of six anti-mosquito candles that we’d barely used. But now I was glad to have an alternative source of light.

I was also pleased to have not yet thrown out some of my still-edible leftovers, otherwise I would have been really hungry at dinnertime and even breakfast this morning.

The eye of the storm passed after only half an hour, but the power remained out. The evening’s entertainment consisted of some Kindle reading and the 1940s version of “Miracle on 34th Street,” one of the few movies remaining on my laptop from Christmas.

The apartment was warm and stuffy without the ceiling fans going. If I was going to get any sleep, I would need the balcony door in the bedroom open a crack. I didn’t want to get eaten alive by the mozzies, so I kept one of those handy candles burning by the door all night.

Candle lantern by a glass door
My cozy little lamp guarding the door (photo taken on another night when the electricity was on).

This morning, the electricity was still out over the entire complex. The manager hoped the power would be restored by 3:30PM so I left in search of a power outlet.

The entire neighborhood seemed to be affected as small cafes and even the local Aldi were all closed and without electricity. But I was pleased to find the organic grocery store that we’ve been frequenting open for business. The manager allowed me to charge my phone while I enjoyed a latte at the in-store cafe and wrote this blog post, pencil to paper.

My bags are mostly packed for my departure tomorrow, and there’s not much more I can do until the electricity is restored.

Once again, an unexpected lesson to prove that things don’t always go as planned. But although I’m not getting to do what I’d hoped to in my last day here, this outcome is much more memorable!

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