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A Survivors Story - Rapid Creek
It appears as though most of the story's on this site are fake. Its disheartening because there are many survivors, such as myself, who know Cyclone Tracy is nothing to joke about.
I moved to Darwin, along with my parents, in 1971. We moved several times while we were there (housing prices being outrageously cheap back then) but ended up two blocks back from the ocean in Rapid Creek. When the cyclone struck I was 17 years old. I remember there being very little panic in the days before the storm. The radio told us to anticipate wind gusts of 120km/h, but no one really expected the cyclone to hit since false alarms were all to common back then.
Our house was two stories tall and, from what I could gauge at the time, fairly well constructed. None of us seemed particularly concerned and we all fell asleep early that evening to the thuds of heavy rain on our aluminum roof.
The winds woke me up around midnight. The power had already failed so there was no decent way to see what was going on through my window, so I went downstairs and stood on our back porch to get a feel for the conditions outside. The winds were howling through the trees and tossing branches and small pieces of debris across our yard and into the fence that separated our yard from our neighbors. At this point I was only fascinated by the power of mother nature, completely unaware of the destruction that was about to occur.
My father and mother joined me a few minutes later. The three of us stood outside and watched as my fathers tool shed disintegrated in the heavy winds. The roar of the cyclone began to increase dramatically about an hour later at a time that I would estimate was a little after 1am. We decided that we better get inside to avoid being struck by one of the many deadly pieces of debris that were flying through the air.
We kept thinking that the winds couldn't get any worse, but every minute that passed proved that we were not yet at the height of the storm. We were concerned about the damage that was occurring but unconcerned for our safety until sometime after 2am. Its impossible to describe what happened in words. Within a few minutes the winds suddenly ramped up and soon the entire house was shaking back and forth. We heard a loud popping noise when the windows in the kitchen blew out. We all frantically huddled in the dark bathroom as the winds entered our house and began to tear apart all of our possessions. More windows blew out and soon the door to the bathroom was flapping back and forth violently over the sounds of bookcases and large pieces of furniture being overturned and blown about within our home. The winds continued to increase until the scream was so loud that we had to yell to hear eachother, although for the most part we were too frightened to speak.
The roof slammed up and down a few times and then tore off all in one piece. My father lay his body over my mother and me in the bathtub while one of the walls came in on top of us. I remember finding it hard to breathe under the weight of the wall and thought that my whole family was soon to be dead.
Then the winds died down suddenly. It took awhile before we all felt safe enough to crawl out from the remeians of our home. We could not believe the devastation that we saw around us - with the exception of the bathroom we were in and a few other tattered walls, the entire house had been leveled. We began to pick through the debris, trying to salavage whatever we could, when the winds began again. It makes perfect sense now, but at the time I did not know about the "eye" of a hurricane.
Within minutes the winds became nearly as ferocious ad they had been before. Having nowhere to go, we all crawled out of our house and got into my dads truck. A piece of hit me in the back before I was able to close the door, leaving a bloody gash in my back that still exists in the form of a large scar from my shoulder down to my lower back. In the car we watched as the air filled with flying debris. The car rocked back and forth violently and shuddered every time a piece of debris struck. One of the back windows was broken so we had to endure with the wind and rain as it blew around us.
The winds slowly began to die down after what seemed like a lifetime, and by sunrise the winds and rain had diminished enough so that we were able to leave the car.
All in all, every single house on our block was leveled. I found the body of one of our neighbors among the wreckage of his former two-story home that had been flattened.
The aftermath was terrifying, with no food or water, sop we took the first bus that we could and went down to Perth where I have an uncle.
We never did return to Darwin, and my body still bears the scars of that terrible night. I have moved on and moved from Australia to the states, but I still have nightmares every month or so where I'm back in that bathroom with my parents, wondering whether I am going to live or die.