November 04, 2014

Boats in trees: Beachmere 1954

While we are on a history and geography theme this snippet mentions the tidal surge at Beachmere in 1954 . It has been called the Great Gold Coast Cyclone because of its damage there.

This report is from a government review on Qld cyclones: Historical Impacts Along The East Coast

20 February 1954

This tropical cyclone crossed the coast at Coolangatta with a recorded pressure reading of 973 hPa. Some reports from the Coolangatta/Tweed Heads area had pressure readings to 962 hPa. The worst damage in that area occurred around Cudgen in New South Wales where some houses were blown apart and trees more than 1 m in diameter were twisted out of the ground. A record pressure reading of 982.7 hPa was recorded at Brisbane. Widespread structural damage occurred along the Gold and Sunshine Coasts and around Brisbane. A 0.64 m storm surge was recorded on the Moreton Bay tide gauge, however conditions were much worse on the foreshore with boats in the tree tops at Beachmere. Waves at Kirra brought 2 m of water onto the highway, picking up cars. 900 mm of rain was recorded at Springbrook in the 24 hour period up to landfall. Floods, combined with storm surge on the Nerang River caused the evacuation of several families and a dramatic rescue of people from Macintosh Island. The floods and cyclone then hit the Lismore district, with gales whipping up large waves on the then 11.3 km wide Richmond River. 26 people tragically died from these unprecedented effects.




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