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I admit, I have been remiss. Headlines from down under have not received the attention they deserve. Chatting with Babycow today I began to realize something of the scope of disaster, though I still don't have a handle on it.


This thread is for news of the disaster, background, photos, links to news, expressions of sympathy, information on how to help, and a place for our members to check in.



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Today Toowoomba, Australia's second largest inland city with a population of 128,600 was inundated by a flash flood. Flash floods occurred throughout the region. About 80 are feared dead.


Brisbane is threatened. Saved so far by a dam built after massive flooding in 1974, but the dam is near or at capacity with massive inflows. In the last few hours evacuations have begun as officials fear flooding is eminent. I don't have a sense of the scale, as I lack the cultural references, but this looks serious.



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In the last weeks Queensland (Qld) has seen flooding in an area the size of Texas, with 200,000 people effected. The area is described as an inland sea.


Other parts of the country are experiencing great heat and wildfires.


This quote from the Qld Floods Facebook Page page gives you some idea of the scale:


Where do evacuated people go? If we leave our homes, where to? North is flooded, south is flooded, west is flooded and east is an ocean. It makes it very difficult to work out where to head to. Any ideas?


Gripping news is pouring into the FB page at several posts a minute.

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Brisbane is reported to be flooding. People can not get out. Transport is starting to shut down, and roadways are at a standstill.



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Posted an hour ago:


100mm per hour rain predicted for next 3hr period in Toowoomba Lockyer Valley areas


That's a foot of rain the area above Brisbane where the flash flood already inundated the city earlier today. If I have it right, that water will go to Brisbane.

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Well, basically the situation is that heavy rains are moving on to the south, along with flood warnings for New South Wales now, in addition to the havoc in Queensland.


Looking at Queensland for now:


In an effort to save the Wivenhoe dam, releases have been increased. In combination with the overall rainfall, and the "King Tide" predicted at Brisbane, the worst is expected there Thursday. I think that will be Wednesday, maybe Wednesday night for those of us in the US.


In Brisbane it is predicted that close to 10,000 properties will be heavily impacted (I think this means inundated, or near to) and about 30,000 properties will be affected to a lesser extent. Water levels are expected to exceed those of the historic 1974 flood by about a meter (3 feet).


Further upstream communities are still at risk as the wave of water flows towards the coast. Presently concern seems to center around Ipswhich. It is expected to peak there overnight, which will be, I believe, Tuesday morning in the US. I think 3000 properties there are at risk.


Throughout the region roads and transport are cut off here and there, and apparently folk are advised to seek high ground.


The Facebook page seems to indicate that the action now is in Caboolture. One recent post:


The Workers at the Petrie Paper mill are flooded in!!!! The intersection at Wylie park is under a torrent of water and is rising....There is no way out for these workers!!!!


However, it sounds like rescue workers have been largely keeping up. They are reporting having fielded 34,000 calls in the last 24 hours, and hundreds of responses. The impression is of a very strong response. Shelters have been established where needed.


So far casualties remain low, considering that a wall of water went through a city of 100,000 without warning. I believe 9 are confirmed dead, and "grave fears" for 15 others. About 40 missing in total at present.


Live reports are coming periodically from the Queensland Police Service Facebook page. LINKY


as well as links to you tube for recordings of prior updates.






My overall impression is that this is a major disaster. Video clips show large swathes of urban and rural areas inundated, cars and other vehicles swept away, homes and buildings destroyed, persons struggling in the raging waters.


The people seem to be coming together, on line and on the streets, to aid one another. And while they talk about Katrina by way of comparison, so far the comparison must be one of scale, not behavior.


For those who met Katerina and Tomas at Torrey a couple of years ago, or subsequently at Jacqueline and Richard's in Benicia, CA, they are believed to be in the Brisbane area.


It is about 6:00 pm in the region now, and night is falling.


What morning will bring is anyone's guess.

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I don't know that much about rainfall but apparently there has been 270mm/10 inches of rain in 9 hours and it is expected that there will be a further 150mm/6 inches overnight. Due to the rising water levels power is being switched off. Darkness and floods. Not good. The flash flood in Toowoomba was caused by a downpour spurt of between 80mm/3 inches to 150mm/5 inches in 30 minutes whilst it had been raining heavily for hours.

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The Anglos have only been in Australia fro a couple hundred years and are reporting the rains to be perhaps the worst it's ever been. I wonder what the Aboriginal ledgends tell?

Such flooding is devastating but hardly unusual in the geologic sense.

All those good people built in harms way without realizing it. I wonder how future planning will be affected?

In So Cal most all of the drainage courses have been cemented in and realigned by engineers. Just how these structures would help in the rain falls equal to what has fallen in Aus. is open to conjecture.

Don't mess with Mother Nature.

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This morning from my son who resides in Alice, the town equidistant from all the beaches in OZ.



No floods in Alice right now. It is supposed to rain for the next few days here and there is a possibility of some flooding here near the river. The river has flowed twice so far this year and is running right now.




Queensland has been very hard hit. Something like half the coking coal for the world comes from there and most of the mines, rail lines and ports are shut at the moment. There have been some pictures of some the open cut mines being full of water and the large haulers being almost underwater. It will be months before they are back up to their normal production levels. There are concerns that Asia will have to cut back on steel production.




The other issue is the loss of all our summer fruits and veges. Can’t pick them or can’t get them to the markets or both.




The southwest of the country is in a major drought so all we need is a long pipeline and all would be good.




That is the story of Oz for today.




Oh yeah, not many flies.









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I used to live in Brisbane in one of the suburbs on the Brisbane River. I remember walking around town and looking UP to all the previous years flood markers thinking that it must have pretty hairy at the time. Now looking at the footage I'm horrified as to what is happening.

One of the jobs I did was a refit of the Dalby RSL. Had to drive out west through Toowoomba which sits on top of a 100m drop to the coastal plains below. I just can't get my head around the amount of water that is now flowing / has flowed through those two places.


My brother lives in Yamba and postponed a trip down here today as he is expecting to be flooded in shortly.


I've just cancelled a ride (the first one it would have been with my daughter who's just turned 13) because our destination, Junee, is expecting 24mm of rain today and all points in between are expecting double figures as well. Just hope we'll OK in the 4X.


Australia "The land of droughts and flooding rains". Aint that the truth.



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I have heard from the Globusbikers Katharina + Thomas. They left Brisbane two days ago and appear to be coming to Sydney via the inland New England Highway.... which is good cause the Coastal route (the Pacific Highway) is closed by floods in northern NSW

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It seems plenty bad enough:




Compared to Katrina, only about 20% of the number of homes affected (still 40,000 is a massive number, inconceivable really), but about three times as much land area. The residents of Brisbane were largely able to shelter in place (at friends and relatives and shelters in the city), and no mass movement of people out of the city was required. So far culinary water has been available in most areas, with water being trucked into Toowoomba. The population has been calm and supportive with minimal looting so far, and no police brutality. The internet and mass media have been used to keep residents informed and warned of hazards and events in near real time.


The Australian people are to be commended for what so far seems to be exemplary crisis response. I hope it continues to go as well in the aftermath, as waters have now begin to recede. Hopefully the typhoon proves to be of little import.


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