2011-01-10

My home town hit by flash flood today

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by Neil Godfrey

I had thought my home town, on top of a mountain range, would be immune from the flooding that has hit so many other areas. Still trying to accept the following scenes. It’s not the steadily rising waters that have hit other places, but a flash flood that went as quickly as it came, even washing away cars in the main street, and it all happened so suddenly that some were unable to escape with their lives. I’m now living in Melbourne way down at southern end of Australia away from the flooding, but still own a house only only ten minutes walk from several scenes pictured in the linked news story. Naturally am concerned about  everyone there, especially people I know, but still mostly trying to take in scenes and tragedy the city has never seen before. Devastating.

Seven dead as raging torrent swamps Toowoomba (ABC news story)

and the Video of a rescue of one lucky fellow

 

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18 thoughts on “My home town hit by flash flood today”

  1. I’m very sorry to hear that tragedy hit so close to home for you, Neil. Yes, the flooding has been relentless. I send my wishes for healing to all the victims and their families and friends.

  2. I used to think that one disaster mountain range city Toowoomba would never experience was a major flood: we have no natural water supply (it’s a lousy place for a city: no river, no lake), and it seems only months ago we had to joke that visitors had to bring their own water: it was forbidden to water gardens or wash cars with hoses at the end of the worst drought in our history). Friend told me there were 3 inches of rain in 20 minutes and then minutes later the wall of water came raging through the city centre. Cars and houses with people inside at the foot of the mountain range were washed away. And this is after spending millions to control storm water overflows.

    I’m still trying to take in a friend’s report that whole houses below the (mountain) range were washed away, no doubt — we still need to reach them — with people inside.

    The worst floods prior to this to hit Brisbane were in 1974. A new dam was built to ensure nothing like that could ever happen again. Now even with that dam Brisbane is about to experience even worse than 1974.

    And we have bushfires raging in the west.

    This is just Australia. We know bizarre weather is happening in Europe and Central/North America is also happening. The world is changing.

    (Funny the identity thing. I notice I kept slipping into saying “we” even though now I’m living in Melbourne.)

      1. Especially the ones praising the odious Fred Phelps, whose gang of church thugs plans to protest at the funeral of the young girl who killed along with 5 others by a deranged 22 year-old in Tucson. The girl’s sin? Being raised by Catholic parents. But hers isn’t the only funeral to be picketed:

        The Westboro Baptist church in Kansas praised Jared Lee Loughner for killing six people, including young Christina Taylor Green, right, and wounding 14 others. The church founder, Fred Phelps, posted a video in which he said: “Thank God for the violent shooter, one of your soldier heroes in Tucson. However many are dead, Westboro Baptist church will picket their funerals. We will remind the living you can still repent and obey.”

    1. Most electorates affected by the worst flooding voted against Labor (Rudd’s party), and Toowoomba, the city hit by that “sudden inland tsunami” routinely votes against Labor/Rudd. Toowoomba is renowned for being a conservative Christian stronghold that has been pro-Israel, anti-strip clubs, etc.

      Rudd is considered a “friend of Israel” by the Jewish community both in Australia and Israel. His occasional comments that he would like to see Israel abide by at least a few international laws from time to time – nothing so ridiculous as “all” of them all the time — are accepted in friendship by Israel: see http://www.abc.net.au/news/stories/2010/12/13/3091427.htm

      I think the Christians are to blame for the flood. They have been praying for rain for so long now that I am sure God got fed up and did a hissyfit on them. – Like when Israel complained about their buckwheat diet in the wilderness and asked for something with a bit more protein, so God made them gorge on quail till it was coming out of their ears.

      Well, if CTFM can say silly things, so can I.

      Or maybe it was Rudd’s fault. A year ago when Prime Minister he pledged aid for that devil-worshiping Haiti.

  3. It’s so hard to take in. A friend of mine in Toowoomba can’t get any help because he has only suffered “flood damage” (his unit was flooded and lots of property loss). All priority is given to “flood victims”, so mere “flood damage” folk will have a while to wait. Read today of someone on the roof of his house reaching out to help someone he thought was swimming towards him in choppy waters: turned out the “swimmer” was a corpse (the choppy waters made it look like he was swimming), one of several floating past his roof top. I can’t imagine experiencing that.

    In my original post I said I was living a long way from the flooded areas. Since then even the state where I am now — Victoria — has been hit with floods too now. Evacuations have caught up with us down here.

    1. http://www.abc.net.au/news/stories/2011/01/16/3114016.htm?

      Yep, I thought we were so far from the floods it would never affect us hundreds of miles down here. Yesterday happened to drive past an area where we stopped for temporary accommodation while searching for someting longer-lasting, and saw the whole area was flooded by the overflow from the local Barwon River. But only acres of recreational/sports and council areas were flooded, no homes, so it had never even made it in any noticeable way on the local news service. Normally the loss of local sports fields, public recreation areas and buildings, and cut roads would be local headlines. Not any more.

    1. Wow. That’s terrible. Truly awful to see. And to echo what others have written here, I fear things will only get worse. Up in the northern hemisphere, we’re seeing temperature extremes in winter and summer, stronger storms, hurricanes, etc. My own home town witnessed a “500-year flood” a couple of years ago. I’m afraid we’ve made a real mess of this planet.

  4. This La Niña is terrible. It is also responsible for the disastrous floods in Brazil (which have already claimed more than 300 lives). It is becoming pretty clear that we will see more and more disastrous weather. When the effects of weather patterns like El Niño and La Niña are combined with global warming, deforestation and population growth their effects are multiplied significantly. According to the Dutch language version of the wikipedia page (I don’t know why I even bother looking at this) on La Niña it doesn’t create much damage. I think it’s time to revise that page!

    1. http://www.abc.net.au/news/stories/2011/01/15/3113478.htm? This is horrific. One of the reasons for the lower death tolls in places like Australia in such events is probably the more solid structures in affected areas, and the additional resources of the western nations to enable the “luxury” of enforcing tighter safety standards. I was trying to imagine how anyone at all could possibly have survived such a “tsunami” in pre-white occupation times. The discrepencies are surely explained as another factor of the poor-rich divide.

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