Australia Day celebrates our long weekend. In Queensland it’s another disaster zone. Just two years after the horrific floods of 2010, Queensland again goes under. This time as a result of the massive weather system caused by Cyclone Oswald off the far north coast. Cyclone Oswald petered out, but left a wide spread, destructive system that travelled down the eastern seaboard and coastline.
From Rockhampton south, the damage is massive. Bundaberg and Bagarra were hit by 6 tornadoes. The flood levels higher than 2 years ago. Maryborough, Gympie and Gladstone, through to the Lockyer Valley and Brisbane and the Gold Coast. I heard that over a quarter of a million homes are without power. Over 1,000 power lines down. The winds have been ferocious. Over 125kph in some places. The rain constant. Many towns have recorded highest rainfall levels. Most recording over 120 mms in a 24 hour period. With some places receiving as much 450 mms in two days. The turf farm at Glenview became a vast lake. Threatening to spill across the Bruce highway.
Homes and businesses are flooded. Roads flooded and many towns now isolated and without power. In northern Qld Telecommunication lines are down, and people unable to dial emergency numbers. Creeks and Rivers in much of Qld have broken their banks. The earth is sodden. Water is everywhere. And it is not over yet. As rivers inland rise, carrying rain water, the next 24 hours will see further floods through Bundaberg, Brisbane, Logan, Ipswich and the coastal areas, through into Northern New South Wales. Two years on many still recall the too recent horrific floods of 2011. Residents in Sandgate flooded from the tides and rain.
And the system continues down the coast, heading towards Sydney and affecting almost the whole of the eastern seaboard. Yet in western Qld, fires continue. Where a week ago the temperatures were in the mid-fourties, and two weeks ago the south of the east coast was fire ravaged, now the rain and wind wreak a havoc. Add to that the full moons king tides that are devastating beaches and shorelines. Lifesavers worked the beaches, sandbagging against the impending king tides. Whilst reckless couples decided a dip in the turbulent sea would be ok.
Despite this weather, mother nature at her most ferocious, the number of lives lost is minimal. And some of these were totally needless. Despite numerous warnings not to drive through flooded rivers, nor venture out to sight see, many people ignore the warnings. Risking their lives and the lives of rescue workers. Time spent searching and rescuing some who ignored warnings. I heard of one man asking sight see-ers not to drive through some flooded coastal areas. The backwash from 4WDs sending water rushing up into homes and properties. Human-kind loves to think that we are invincible.
Driving home along the coast line today. Yes, having a look-see. The sky clearing, blue skies above, the wind minimal and the rain just occasionally showering, the foreshore through Redcliff and Sandgate is a mess.
My favourite fish and chips shop flooded. The boardwalk Crystal and I have walked flooded. Roads blocked as flood waters reached half a block up the streets running off the shore line road. So much for dreaming of living there.
Old Queenslander houses are wooden and two stories. The bottom story open and basically storage and laundry areas. Why? Flooding. Cooling from humidity. Yet today many houses are built at ground level, or the bottom stories of Queenslanders built in. Not to mention the number of houses built below street level. Or for that matter, below ground car-parks.
I wonder what tomorrow holds. School children in Queensland return to school tomorrow. No doubt some kids are hoping their school year is extended from the floods. We return to work after our long weekend holiday. Although it is very quiet where I am, it is strange to see that south of me the weather continues its ferocious path. Last nights winds kept me awake. The rain the past few days greening and stripping clean the earth.
The cost of the damage? Massive loss and damage to properties across the state. Insurance premiums will no doubt rise again. They are already beyond a joke cost wise. The cost of animals? Who knows. Yet many birds are water logged. Kangaroos heading for the roadside. Of course the ducks, terns and ibis are loving it. The cost of human life? Minimal. 3 confirmed deaths. Another few missing. Are we not still the lucky country? Most certainly 🙂