Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Rain, rain, go away!

The state of Queensland in Australia has had a lot of rain over the past month or so. Here in south-east Queensland it's turned into a natural disaster. Yesterday the inland city of Toowoomba (about 127 km / 79 miles from where I live) was hit suddenly and hard by a flash flood. Toowoomba sits on the crest of the Great Dividing Range and is around 700 metres (2300 feet) above sea level which makes this freak of nature even more bizarre. The flash flood has been described as being like an 'inland tsunami'. Sadly, several people were caught in the waters and drowned.

Check out this YouTube clip of amazing footage of cars being washed away in the heart of Toowoomba yesterday. I can't believe the guy at 1:13 who got his car out of the car park. Very lucky indeed.

Tragically there has been more loss of life in areas down from the range in Lockyer Valley. Since yesterday there have been a total of 9 confirmed deaths and 66 people are still unaccounted for in these floods. The death toll is expected to rise as emergency services enter the worst affected areas and conduct searches.

Check out this video of the Toowoomba CBD. Check out the man desperately clinging to a tree at 1:23 as a white van is swept into the tree almost dislodging him.

Thankfully the man holding on to the tree was rescued a short time later.

This body of water all flows down to the Brisbane River and then into Moreton Bay. It's bearing down on us as I type and is going to swell the Brisbane river which runs through the middle of the city. With this water, combined with ongoing rain, releases into the river from our main over-capacity dam and a king tide due tomorrow, it is predicted that Brisbane and surrounding suburbs are in for some massive flooding. It's even been suggested that levels could reach as high as the 1974 flood. Evacuations are now occurring in low-lying areas of Brisbane.

It's very sad watching this dramatic disaster unfolding on the news with people and homes affected from all over the state. 6500 properties in Brisbane alone are threatened with flooding over the coming days. Thankfully my home is not in any danger of flooding.

And to think we were in drought conditions just over a year and a half ago. Brisbane was under the toughest water restrictions of any Australian capital city at that time and our combined dam total was around 16%. They are now sitting at 160% capacity.

Check out news.com.au for the latest on this natural disaster. The flooding also has made front page news at CNN and the BBC. A government flood relief appeal site has been set up for financial donations.

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