Beginning last Sunday, our little corner of Queensland has been under attack by Mother Nature. Rain, hale and wind have worked together to tear roofs from homes, tossing the huge bits of corrugated iron around like frisbees. It’s been coming in waves just about every 36-48 hours all week.

The initial storm lasted 4 hours and dumped a foot of rain. The towers that record lightning strikes along our coast registered more than 3000 hits per hour for the duration of the storm. (Average is 700-1000)

When it hit we were lucky to be just on its rim. The neighbourhoods caught in the center were destroyed. Prime Minister Kevin Rudd and Queensland Premier Anna Bligh walked through the wreckage on Monday, declaring these suburbs of Brisbane a disaster area, giving residents access to government emergeny funds. Later in the day, at a news conferene, Rudd commented that he felt he’d just walked through a warzone. He announced the immediate assignment of additional funds to each displaced person on top of the normal emergency relief. I believe the sum quoted was $1000 (AUD) each.I thought “Ok. Rudd got it right.”

It’s Saturday. We’ve been cleaning up mud and mopping up water and preparing for the worst all week. The next storm system was estimated to be a category 2 cyclone. The morning news reports featured Premier Bligh encouraging everyone to please, “stay home today”. What woke us at 7am was not the normal sounds of magpies taunting kookaburras, but the scrunching sound of trees banging against the side of the house as if begging to be let in.

So today we were in ‘batten down the hatches’ mode. We made sure there was nothing loose outside. We secured the oudoor plants on the patio, checked our emergency supplies, got out the billy so in case we lost power again we could at least have fresh coffee

And then we listened to the wind, watched the sky and waited. Just after tea, around 5:30, I was sitting at my desk and realized the light was different. I looked out the window and the trees were calm. The sun was out. Birds were chasing each other from telephone wire to treetop. The sky was filled with late-afternoon sunshne and beautiful fluffy clouds. I grabbed the camera, donned shoes and flew out the door to catch what I could before mum changed her mind

This past week has found hundreds of Queenslanders without homes, thousands more without electricity and the icing on the proverbial cake: A roof collapsed dumping bird feces and other contaminates into the Brisbane water supply, rendering some areas without drinkable water.

The thing about Mother Nature is, though, no matter how badly she behaves, she always makes as dramatic an exit as she does an entrance. Here’s what she left behind today, following a week of unrelenting grief:

She left us this…

Oz Sunset (22 November 2008)

Oz Sunset (22 November 2008)

and this…
Oz Sunset (22 November 2008)

Oz Sunset (22 November 2008)

They just announced clear skies until Wednesday. I can live with that 🙂