Volume 21 Issue 3, 2006

Cyclone knowledge and household preparation – some insights from Cyclone Larry

David King, Douglas Goudie, Dale Dominey-Howes

Peer-reviewed Article

Archived Article


Cyclone Larry crossed the Coral Sea in mid-March 2006, developing into a severe category five as it approached the coast south of Cairns. The eye of Larry crossed the coast between 6.20 and 7.20 am on Monday 20th March (Bureau of Meteorology 2006). Given Larry’s magnitude, it would not have been unreasonable to expect devastation of the settlements in its path, with many deaths and injuries. However, there were no deaths and very few injuries. We seek to determine whether this is a reflection of a well prepared and knowledgeable community. We carried out a survey of residents in rural communities in and around Innisfail a week after Larry. This article shows that the impacted communities were, in a very Australian way, well-prepared having generally experienced other severe cyclones. While longer term post-cyclone recovery may be a difficult time for these rural communities, in our opinion their preparations and responses to warnings were appropriate and undoubtedly saved lives and injuries and lessened the overall impact.