Super Tropical Cyclone Yasi, a category 5 storm, came ashore this morning between Cairns (pronounced Cans) and Townsville, Queensland around midnight Thursday (9 am Wednesday, NY time).
Radio Australia carried Australian Broadcasting Company (ABC) Queensland coverage of the storm, which was extraordinary. Spot coverage, emergency information, sheltering information, updates, and calls from listeners in the midst of the storm. Some of it is pretty intense. One fellow, John, out in the country all by himself in the height of the storm sounded somewhat forlorn, I hope he makes it.
Due to the size of the storm, widespread power outages are expected and may last for weeks or months. As a part of this, there are numerous outages and potential outages in their AM and FM broadcasting chain. To that end, ABC has two shortwave frequencies available for their Queensland service; daytime (8 am to 8:30 pm local time, 2100 – 0830 GMT) on 9710 KHz and night time (8:30 pm to 8 am local, 0830 – 2100 GMT) is 6080 KHz.
Once again, HF (shortwave) radio gets the job done when local stations, cell towers, and internet connections to dead. Sometimes it is the low-tech answer.