February 7, 2011

Cyclone Warning

(This is part of an ongoing series chronicling memories of my life growing up as a missionary kid in Vanuatu. For links to previous posts you can go here) (I'm not going to mention how long it's been since I posted one of these, cos that's just embarrassing)

Thankfully we never really had a very bad cyclone when we were in Vanuatu. Several went past but never went over the top of the island of Santo. As I’ve watched the cyclone Yasi warnings over QLD, I remember how we use to keep tabs on the cyclones in Vanuatu without internet or TV.

Everyone had a special map of Vanuatu that was put out by the Vanuatu meteorology service. The map had an outline of the entire island nation set out on a numbered grid. When a cyclone developed near Vanuatu the radio would put out a warning and let us know the coordinates of the cyclone and the direction it was heading.
Dad would listen out for the co-ordinates and mark them on the map. As the cyclone became more intense the warnings would become more frequent and each time Dad would the mark the new co-ordinates on the map and we would watch the path of the cyclone. It was never straigth, the path. It would curve and twist. It would get stronger and then die off. Cyclones have a mind of their own, so we had to keep an eye on them and be prepared.

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