TIP # 81, HURRICANE PREPARATIONS, ( Concerned for Panna Trackers)...

Submitted: Monday, Jan 09, 2006 at 22:52
ThreadID: 122413 Views:4162 Replies:6 FollowUps:1
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This may seem a bit simplistic for most, but it may not occur to some of you that could be worrying a little, so here it is: Someone has jokingly put mention of a Cyclone coming to put their Bushtracker really in the BOG…. Turns out they were not joking???
Now in all fairness, this brought this TIP to mind. While I have the next few tips already written, I have been out Bush for the last few days and not up with the news, and if there is a cyclone approaching in W.A. or N.T. then this may be a prudent addition for some that might be stuck in the path.. I have spent many years in the hurricane belt in the northern hemisphere. Most caravans are so poorly constructed, they just blow apart in the high winds, literally… While that is not a concern for the Bushtracker, and we have never lost one in a Cyclone, if winds get up over 150 kph it could possibly mean possibly toppling one over if the wind happens to be on the broad side of the van…

Having been in the worst, I will tell you what I would do, and that is OUT RUN IT! You do not want to stay put in the face of it, fragility of windows and such? I would hook up my van as it approached, and head away from the path of it… If it has a southern curl to it, run to the north, that sort of thing. The beauty is that they only move about 15 km per hour, and of course it is easy to outrun them. I would not stay in the path of one coming, unless of course my tow vehicle was broke or some other extreme reason like closed dirt tracks in the mud of the wet season or something similar. And then we are back to the “tie downs” as per below…

The S.O.P. (IF YOU HAVE TO WEATHER IT FOR SOME REASON) is to hammer down a fence picket into the dirt as far as you can go, and then put chain and a turnbuckle on all four corners... Crank her down a little. In the extremes of winds over 150 km per hour, it will keep her buckled down for the worst... There are some smooth angle iron stakes on the market, but in my view they are inadequate being too small. It really takes a big bite into the ground to hold down the van from rocking them loose. You put down commercially available fence pickets with a borrowed pounder, use the turnbuckle to tighten the chain, (you will not likely be able to retrieve the pickets). But the you have problems trying to reinforce the windows and such in winds over 100-150, again I would not hang around.. Panna Trackers, please note, if it is a serious one pick up and run...

In our case it would be fixed at the tow eyes in the back, and around the a-frame at the front corners of the van... Don't know how serious of a cyclone it is ? Check the forecast wind speeds… But for all readers this is the preparations for a serious one, if you are stuck for what to do. BUT NOTE, THIS IS NOT WHAT I WOULD DO…!!! I would simply outrun it. Trains are interesting to look at, but don’t hang around too long directly in the path of one, OK? In the force of a big one, Prudence (fleeing) is the better part of Valour, OK?

Kind Concerns from the Ranger...

"The Last Stand In Open Country"

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Reply By: Bushtracker - Monday, Jan 09, 2006 at 23:16

Monday, Jan 09, 2006 at 23:16
I have never given serious thought to weathering a Cyclone, per my tip above... It would have to be a very good reason to need to... Always prefer to outrun it. But if one had to for some reason, like locked into a Station with mud and water closed tracks, the major concern besides the "Tie-Downs" above, would be the windows. After some minutes of thought, here is my best guess on what to do for them...

It would be a tricky job, but I would think about some plastic sheet over the windows and a cover of plywood on the outside over the plastic sheeting so the perspex did not scratch.. Maybe with long screws to take out some of the window screws and locate the holes on plywood pads down into the same window fixing holes on the outer frame, to raise it out to the same level as the outside of the window and plywood outer skin..

But I dunno.... Again, this is an extreme situation, the same advice stands, it is much easier and safer to outrun it !!! Don't stand in the way of trains...

Regards, da Ranger...
"The Last Stand In Open Country"

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Reply By: Panna Trackers - Tuesday, Jan 10, 2006 at 06:18

Tuesday, Jan 10, 2006 at 06:18
Thanks for the Tip but this is home to us and not the first cyclone we have been through. Having said that we have been preparing for just such an event for the last couple of months.
The tie down points are the same as builders use for footings on a house up here. I have taken the extra precaution of driving a steel picket into the bottom of the hole and attaching the hold down chain before I poured the concrete in. You could stop a truck with these points.
I have put the van up on stands before I pulled the tie downs up. There is no load on the suspension and the van is solid on the stands. I have used the chassis, front & back, as the main tie point with one tie over the top of the van in the centre. We have the house as a windbreak on one side and a 3 meter high fence on the other. So now it is sit and wait.
Getting dark and windy now but we don't expect the storm for another 8 to 10 hours. Gusts to 220kph at the centre of the storm.
Will let all know how the van stands up.
Trevor & Lyndal
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Reply By: Bushtracker - Tuesday, Jan 10, 2006 at 23:58

Tuesday, Jan 10, 2006 at 23:58
To all Boggers,

While Panna Trackers may be alright, and we certainly hope so; please do not take this "tack" if possible. It is just not worth the gamble. The beauty with your "Beauty", is that it is mobile.... Please do not take this lead, it is far better to run out of the way of what I find out now was a Category 3 Cyclone...

They move slow and are somewhat predictable, and it is far better to run than hunker down and take the hurricane... As little as an hour or two run, a couple of hundred kms in the right direction, takes a full blown cyclone down to just a breezy tropical rain.
It is not worth the risk. I have seen hurricanes punch a 4x2 rail through the heart of a palm tree leaving it hanging there. The last category 4-5, I was in, only a two hour drive took me out of way to where it was only a partly cloudy normal breezy day. That one flattened or tore the roofs off a thousand houses and destroyed whole caravan parks full of vans. For a two hour drive? Made a party out of it...

Best advice, genuine concern, from the Ranger.....
Out run em, and stay alive to drive another day....
"The Last Stand In Open Country"

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Reply By: Motherhen & Rooster - Wednesday, Jan 11, 2006 at 06:46

Wednesday, Jan 11, 2006 at 06:46
Panna Trackers may not be on line tonight. Last news report i heard was Clare was approaching Pannawonica, down to 100 k winds, with rain. Was reported around 190 k when it crossed the coast near Karratha last night. Can't get hold of my son at Wickham just north of Karratha yet, but a lady at work today spoke to her son in Karratha around 8 pm last night and he was unconcerned, and he even still had power unlike lots around him who had lost power. Will watch the news tonight and wait until son can contact - can't even get through to their mobiles.

Red desert dreaming

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Follow Up By: Noosa Fox - Wednesday, Jan 11, 2006 at 20:14

Wednesday, Jan 11, 2006 at 20:14
I used to think that when people spoke about using a Land line to ring someone that it meant that the call was going via underground cables. While working for Vic Police communications section, I found that even though they called it a land line, large sections of the call were going via "Microwave links" and everytime we had severe storms in Melbourne we would loose some of the communications network because the microwave signal could not get through the rain. This is probably the same situation in the Cyclone affected areas also.

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Reply By: Panna Trackers - Thursday, Jan 12, 2006 at 09:05

Thursday, Jan 12, 2006 at 09:05
Hi All
We are back to normal with not a lot of problems. The cyclone passed over us about 6.00 in the morning Tuesday and was all over by 3 in the afternoon. Quite unusual a very still time in between the two sides of the storm.
The van never moved and is still as good as new. The same can't be said for the Hills Hoist. A complete rebuild is in order.
Thanks for all your intrest
Trevor & Lyndal
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Reply By: MattandLana - Friday, Jan 13, 2006 at 11:57

Friday, Jan 13, 2006 at 11:57
Glad you came through it well.
I grew up in the bottom end of the cyclone belt in Qld, so know what they can do.
We're off to Esperance on Saturday, no doubt sloshing through the rain that's left over from what you didn't get!
Matt & lana
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