Inverted map of Australia gives us a northern hemisphere-like perspective of Yasi.

To our northern hemisphere way of thinking, the southern hemisphere seems upside down. That’s why I toyed with the idea of looking at it with north and south exchanged, since we think of warm tropical air coming from the south in the U.S. Of course to Australians warm tropical air comes from equatorial regions to their north.

While we would think it impossible for us to have a tropical cyclone in early February, we are reminded that it is summer in the southern hemisphere. From the perspective of the inverted map of Australia, we can see that Cyclone Yasi bears a resemblance of an Atlantic hurricane striking the southeast coast of the U.S. in our summer.
You may wonder why Yasi, with cat 5 category winds, was not called a “hurricane”. The word hurricane applies only to storms in the Atlantic basin and the eastern Pacific. In the western Pacific, they are called “typhoons” and in the Indian Ocean (and Australia), they are called “cyclones”. That’s why Yasi with winds up to 170 mph and stronger than Katrina was not called a “hurricane”.



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