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The worst cyclone of the century for Cape Tribulation
The news bulletins insisted that severe Tropical Cyclone Rona was heading for the coast 'just north of Port Douglas'. But Cape Tribulation residents knew that it was coming straight for Cape Tribulation.
At 7pm on Thursday 11 February, the Bureau of Meteorology announced that Rona had turned north. Over the following three or four hours, Cape Tribulation suffered the worst devastation this century.
As Rona crossed the coast the wind speed reached 170 - 225 km/h (Category 3). The noise from the wind was terrifying. The deafening howl was broken only by the sound of 'crack, crack, crack' as trees snapped.
Quotable quotes about the damage:
"I have seen quite a few cyclones in my time,
but never one quite as destructive to the rainforest as Rona. There was
absolute devastation. Wind speeds were up to 220 km/hr along the beach
front. Trees were corkscrewed out of the ground and others were snapped
off at the base."
"It looks like someone came up with the biggest brushcutter and just took parts out of the forest and dumped it on the town." Crocodylus Resort owner Terry Rogers, at Cow Bay
"It's flawed me. I am speechless and don't know what to say. I have experienced a 100 per cent loss. We are completely destitute; we are just broke." Julatten banana grower Karen Langfield
"It's just unbelievable. Where there was dense forest, there is just nothing. There's trees down everywhere and houses are damaged. Donna Young from the Cow Bay Hotel
"Your orchard looks like toothpicks" Our House sitter, Gill Palmer - (we were on holiday and missed it)