Earth News: Australia
The Wind Monster
Feb 12, 2007
My street is strewn with branches this morning. Not twigs, but full size branches, the result of the strong easterly winds that roared across Melbourne and central Victoria yesterday and overnight.
Wind gusts to 49 knots or 91 km/h were recorded at the northern end of the bay late on Sunday.It's unusual for Melbourne to have easterly winds. And certainly not with the ferocity and duration that they blew yesterday. They're usually fairly gentle, heralding a change from cool southerlies to warm northerlies as, for instance, a high pressure centre moves into the Tasman Sea.The consequence is that the trees in Melbourne are not used to dealing with gusty easterlies. If you look at certain varieties of tree, they usually lean away from south westerlies if they're near the bay, and away from the north if they're well inland. That's because of the likely direction of the strongest winds we usually get here.The ongoing drought didn't help matters either, with larger trees in particular weakened and stressed by a lack of water.
Adapting to the damaging effects of climate change, plants are gradually moving to where temperatures are cooler, rainfall is greater, f...