We have a new hobby. We call it "Cyberstalking Bianca". This isn't as dodgy as it sounds. This week we've learned that a cyclone called Bianca is headed our way. See that line where the cyclone's path hits land? That's where we are.
Every week seems to see Australia copping some "one in ten/twenty/thirty... year" extreme weather event, many of which have devastating consequences. As a result we have become somewhat weather-obsessed. The last big cyclone hit this region in 1978 and resulted in the loss of five lives, coastal erosion and widespread damage to property. Bianca was predicted to be severe and to bring high winds which would cause this region's fire danger risk to go from "extreme" to "catastrophic".
For the past few days we have been following Bianca's progress towards us online. The weather system has delivered us a run of incredibly hot and disgustingly humid weather - daily highs in the mid-thirties and overnight lows in the high twenties - peppered with electrical storms and a few torrential showers. I find the high humidity the toughest thing to handle and difficult to find respite from; the sort of air conditioning our rental home has does not work in humid conditions and sitting in the garden is a no-no as Mandurah is currently experiencing an extreme plague of disease-carrying mosquitoes.
So in what we hoped wouldn't turn into an "evolution at work" situation (like people going down the beach to get photos of an incoming tsunami) we headed to the estuary for a swim, to sit under the shade of a tree and to catch what little breeze was on offer.
The water was as glassy and calm as I've ever seen it. We were happy just floating or swimming but others found ever more inventive ways to cool off.
The sky became more and more ominous. When the thunder and lightning started we headed for home.
Since then we've had cycles of torrential rain, high winds and some eerily calm times. As the humidity soared I had another desperate poke at the air con system and discovered a fan only setting which gave at least a little respite.
This morning I fired up the computer early to again cyberstalk Bianca and see how long before I should bring in the bins and outdoor furniture. But Bianca has all but gone. Just like the many events that were cancelled due to Bianca's imminent arrival, the cyclone warning itself has now been cancelled.
I can't say I'm disappointed but this will mean that I'll need a new hobby. A more likely scenario is that I'll return to my old hobby: cyberstalking real estate listings.