is the southern hemisphere's version of a hurricane. And Tropical Cyclone Ului came ashore on the northeastern coast of Australia, right where Pier and her family recently moved to. The cyclone was to be at it's worst at 2 a.m. Saturday night (which was around midday here) That's about 36 hours after Marc arrived to visit them for an extended weekend.
We spoke to Marc on Saturday morning (Saturday night for them) and everyone else was in bed. The areas had been designated disaster zones which would then allow mandatory evacuations if deemed necessary. But 4 hours before the storm was supposed to be at its worst, everyone but Marc was sleeping. We were skyping with him on Gaby's computer, and he was trying to enable us to catch a view out the windows. All we really saw was the reflection of his laptop screen.Pier was up briefly and advised against him going outside in order for us to get a better view.
Saturday morning was spent visiting 2 nursing homes with a group from church, so it wasn't til after 1 p.m. that I was able to get back online. It was the middle of the night in Australia, and I understood the worst to have past. No messages from Marc and I wasn't going to try calling. If it hadn't been that bad and they were in fact sleeping, I didn't want to disturb them.
Saturday afternoon saw me glued to my computer, going back and forth between skype and outlook and several online Aussie news outlets. No real word, reports of widespread power outages, especially where Pier lives, stories of roofs being torn off. Gutwrenching stuff when you have absolutely no communication. I sent a short email, short skype message and short IM through blackberry. That's all I could do. It was still too early to call the house, and when I tried later it wasn't working anyway.
Finally, around 6 p.m. Marc was able to IM through BB. All the message said was 'OK now' Not fully reassured, but I was glad to receive some word. Got a little bit of back and forth later, that they were out assessing damage in the area. I took that to mean that theirs wasn't too bad.
Til three a.m., I alternated between working on my closet and calling AU. It would just ring forever, stop for 10-20 seconds and then start ringing again. Never got a chance to talk.
According to the most recent online reports, there are still 50,000 customers without service in the area. Phone too. It's still the wee hours of Monday morning there, so I won't try calling the house, or cell phones.
I'll just keep writing. And praying.