11 January 2011 3:00pm
As of two hours ago, 72 people are still missing with 8 confirmed deaths in the southeastern corner of Queensland. My corner. The portion of the Bremer River which affects my neighbourhood is already12.6 meters (aprox 40 ft) above it’s normal height and is still rising. The prediction is that Bremer River will continue to rise overnight, reaching 18-19 meters by midnight and 20-22 meters by morning.
Wivenhoe Dam is reportedly mitigating enough water daily to fill the Sydney Harbour – twice. (Mitigating, I’m told, as it pertains to water in dams is a fancy way of saying swallowing.) Wivenhoe has five floodgates and all five are open and in full operation. A month ago, one spillway was opened to slowly empty the flood storage compartment in response to the unusual amount of rainfall during November and December, and in anticipation of what we’re seeing today. Good onya city planners…
There are evacuation notices going up for my town – but not for my neighbourhood. The streets needing to be evacuated are all along the river’s edge and lie below tthe predicted 22 meter rise. We are positioned well above. We won’t be in any danger of our home being washed away, but we will be cut off by inaccessible roads. So it’s truly time to stock up and hunker-down.
12 January 2011 4:00am
The suddenly absent drumming of rain on our Queenslander’s iron roof literally woke me from a sound sleep an hour ago. If you’ve never experienced it, the iron rooftops of the older Queenslander homes create a deafening racket under heavy rain or hail. You can stand next to someone outdoors and scream at the top of your lungs and not be understood, it’s that loud. I hollered to a neighbour across the fence during the morning downpour and she just laughed at me, making a hand gesture that meant ‘call me!’ You get used to the sound, though, and it becomes more noticeable when it stops than when it starts.
As of 10pm last night, the local number of missing persons has risen to 78 and the death toll has risen to 10. The power went off during the 10pm updates. I went to sleep, but spouse stayed up listening to evacuation updates on a transistor radio. Around 1am the local supermarket and it’s parking lot went under water, as did my dentist’s office.
We have uninvited guests on our roof and quite possibly in the attic. We think they’re possums but honestly, they sound like elephants tromping overhead. At the moment, I can identify at least two different sets of footsteps and I’m pretty sure they’re playing volley ball up there. (Or having extremely loud sex – I can’t really tell.)
Just after the rain stopped, waking me, the power came back on and I immediately turned on the computer and TV for news. Nothing new since the last radio report, except everyone is incredibly grateful for the break in the rain. Oh and Wivenhoe Dam has dialled back it’s water release for the next 24 hours to slow down the amount of water being dumped into the Brisbane and Bremer Rivers – evidently the real problem still lies ahead as there is a projected seasonal high tide expected to impact on these rivers between 9am and 12 noon today (Wednesday).
While the river is rising, there’s not the flash-flooding that wreaked havoc through Toowoomba yesterday, so while the rain has stopped, we’re thinking of venturing out at first light to see how much of the river we can see from a closer vantage point. I’m also thinking I should post this before the power goes off again.
This isn’t over. We’re in for at least two more days of heavy rain, dam overflows and high tides.
This is the most comprehensive set of reports including photos, stories and videos I found to share.
PS Thank you so much for all the kind words of support in the previous comments- and yes, we have our two emergency tubs packed and at the ready.