For the past 72+ hours, residents of Southeast Queensland have had to deal with Tropical Cyclone Marcia. Some areas were hit hard and sustained a lot of property damage but thankfully no one was reported missing or killed. Those of us in the extended path and outer parameters  mercifully just dealt with a fair bit of wind, a monumental amount of rain, and none of us will not know the full effect of this storm until we see how swollen our rivers become in the coming days.

But here’s the thing.

Australia itself is divided into five states with Tasmania, a small island off the southern coast being the sixth – much like the United States is divided into 48 states with the territory of Alaska and the islands which make up Hawaii, the 49th and 50th states. In the middle is an area divided into so many disputed parts we just lumped it all into one big box and labelled it a territory.

And we don’t quite know why some news outlets – specifically CNN can always be getting this wrong. We only have 6 states and a territory. If CNN can keep track of all 50 US states, why is Australia so hard to manage?

Here is a map of Australia with clear lines drawn between the states and the correct placement of Marcia’s path and the cities involved (plus I added me!):

[Click to enlarge]
The Real Australia

Marcia hit Yeppoon first, made her way down to Rockhampton before losing steam, becoming just another dangerous thunderstorm. (But not any more dangerous than our backyard snakes and we get thunderstorms in Qld all the time. No worries mate!)

The odd bit for me about this particular storm is – look at the map please – TC Marcia touched down at Yeppoon at 8:46am, 20 Feb and was never less than 8-10 hours away from where I live – and yet we had constant rain from Wednesday afternoon through earlier today. That’s some 30 hours before TC Marcia touched down and a good 36 hours after her downgrade. So really that was one ginormous storm system!!!

But I digress.

Now that you’ve seen the actual map of Australia, here is the map placed on international television via CNN during their coverage yesterday (20 Feb 015) *see correction below- of cyclone Marcia:

CNN 2015 Qld in tasmania

How many things are wrong with this picture? Ohhh let me count the ways…

First, Queensland is not Tasmania. They have Brisbane in the right place geographically but Brisbane had nothing to do with TC Marcia. Brisbane got wet and the rivers may yet flood but all the damage was between Yeppoon and Rockhampton. So showing Brisbane on the map is like showing pictures of San Francisco when reporting on an avalanche in Tahoe.

The big giveaway? Look north. See Innisfail and Cairns? They were pretty popular with reporters way back in March of 2006. That’s when Tropical Cyclone Larry hit northern Queensland and took out several millions of dollars worth of produce. Whole citrus orchards were toppled. Pineapple and sugar cane fields were leveled. It was horrid. But it had nothing to do with TC Marcia yesterday so why on earth is it on today’s map???

Well here’s a clue.

CNN reports on  Australia’s category 5 Cyclone Yasi in 2011. Anduses this map:

[Click to Enlarge]
CNN 2011 Qld in tasmania

Look familiar?

So apparently, CNN tells some guy to go find a map of Australia they can dress up, and he tells his boss ‘hey I think there’s one in the archives – and it’s already marked!’ and the boss is like – ‘cool – works done – let’s go get a beer!’

But wait! There’s more!

Spouse found this tweet from New Year’s Eve 2013 that just fits right in with the incompetency of CNN researchers:

CNN 2013 Aickland Australia

And just for fun I have this to add:
Brady Bunch LOLand this…

marcia marcia marcia

and finally, just to show CNN isn’t the only US news network to get our little country wrong, there’s this from when the Indonesia plane went missing…

Perth is not in Tasmania

Sorry boys – Perth is on the west coast of Western Australia – that’s Tasmania you’re pointing to – and the word search has an ‘r’ in it. I’m guessing this is from one of those well-educated Republican states…

============== CORRECTION ==============

CNN isn’t the only one who can get it wrong. The initial image of the erroneous map presented to me as a screenshot of a CNN broadcast from 20 Feb 015 is in all probability a copy of the image used in their 2011 report on Cyclone Yasi. That link is in fact still up along with the erroneous image of Australia. However, I wrote this post prior to double checking my sources and the link I’d been given to the supposed 20 Feb 015 screenshot doesn’t exist anywhere on the net. My guess is, someone grabbed a screenie of the 2011 news report and has passed it off as current. When your eyes settle read the banner at the bottom closely – what are the odds that on both occasions, 4 years apart, the Dow avg would be the same number?

I’m leaving the article as is with this added correction because at the end of the day they did get it wrong 4 years ago – and there’s a chance they also got it wrong back in 2006 when they reported on Cyclone Larry. My observations and comments remain accurate – just with the adjustment that this image probably does not relate to Cyclone Marcia.