Powerlink QLD – Cyclone Larry damage assessment

On 28th April, 2006, Kerry O’Brien along with staff from Powerlink Queensland conducted a helicopter flyover to access the extent of Tropical Cyclone Larry damage along those high voltage powerlines which traverse the Wet Tropics World Heritage Area.

The flyover began from the Mareeba Airstrip and continued south along the western side of the Herberton Ranges to the top of the Herbert River Gorge, tracking north along the lowland foothills to the Kareeya Power station. The majority of damage observed occurred from Tully, north to Cairns along the Tully-Kareeya, Innisfail-Kareeya and Innisfail-Cairns powerlines. Emergency clean up works had been carried out to clear access tracks and marginal trees along these corridors.

The most notable observations made were the patterning of canopy loss on the south-eastern ridge slopes, retention of epiphytes in the canopy, the reshooting and flowering of stems, and intact stands of Feather Palm and Fan Palm forests.  At the time of the flyover, Golden Penda was in full bloom, highlighting the many tributaries which snake down the coastal escarpment.

The flyover enabled Biotropica Australia and Powerlink Queensland to determine the extent of cyclone damage experienced along these powerline corridors and estimate works still required.