Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Droughts and Flooding Rains

For around the last ten years, much of Australia has been experiencing drought. Over the last two years we've had some drought breaking rains and floods, particularly through central Australia. Lake Eyre (the biggest lake in Australia) remained dry for years and hadn't filled since 1974 (a big year of big floods for the eastern side of Australia), but it has been close to full two years in a row. There has been a definite shift from El Nino to La Nina.

My work is in water engineering. Usually studies for mitigation but lately we've done a lot of flood investigation for insurance companies after the event (not nice work might I add). That's how I knew this year would start off terribly. Through December a lot of regions in Australia flooded (east, west, south...it's been crazy) and we has more work than we could handle. Over the Christmas break QLD was hit even harder, areas on the central coast had their worst floods in history. The town of Rockhampton reached it's record peak before new year and the waters haven't begun to recede. Other towns to the west of Brisbane have been hit hard as well, some with multiple peaks.

When I got back to work last week we were turning work away. I was sent down to Adelaide to look at damage from an event they had in early December, we haven't caught up with events before Christmas yet and it still hasn't stopped raining.

I've been home sick the last two days, have a stomach bug. A little grateful for the break but I know things will only be worse when I get back.

I'm concerned for all the people affected or who may soon be affected. More and more towns are being flooded, particularly in South-East Queensland. Brisbane (the state's capital city) is preparing for a major storm today with most low lying areas at risk.

What is even worse, the town of Toowoomba (located at the top of a mountain range around 200km west of Brisbane) yesterday experienced major flash flooding. No real warning could be given, the rainfall and flooding were basically simultaneous. Eight people are confirmed dead, another 72 are still missing at this stage. Footage of the damage is horrendous. Cars have been folded in half by the force of the floodwaters.

Things are getting worse in Queensland as the day goes on. Inner city suburbs are on high alert, more and more homes are being affected.

This is insane.

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