OPINION: A Category Five cyclone is a tropical boogieman

CATEGORY five cyclones are not meant to exist.

They are a way of terrifying children in Central Queensland into making sure they are not running outside or playing in open drains during the summer wet.

ROLLING COVERAGE: Tropical Cyclone Marcia speeds up, may strike land at 9am

Growing up in Mackay, cyclones became notoriously frustrating.

All that build up, all those warnings, that shrill and shrieking radio alert to tell you that it was on the way.

And then it would veer east and disappear out to sea to drench the ocean.

A few times they came close enough for us to put the medium-brown masking tape Xes on the windows.

It was explained: This is so if something comes flying through and smashes the window, the shards of glass won't be so small.

The thought of anything smashing through the window for any reason was enough to terrify me, and this was for a system that was probably a category one or two.

Even Cyclone Tracy was only a Category 4. Anything more powerful than that was just a ridiculous idea.

A volcano springing up and spewing magma through Mackay streets would seem just as likely.

Not anymore.

People from south of Mackay to roughly Gympie are being told to seek shelter because Tropical Cyclone Marcia is not only coming, she's speeding up.

By 8am, she will strike land and potentially deliver untold devastation.

Even with all the Brady Bunch jokes, the mock-complacency or bravado that comes with talking about how you're not scared about cyclones.

To hell with all that.

Stay calm, be prepared, and hope Marcia's very violent tantrum is short lived.


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