Welcome to Australia.
We like to welcome many to our lovely country to share in the beauty of it all however in late March and early April we had a visitor that wasn’t so welcome.
Her name was Cyclone Debbie
All jokes aside about what Debbie usually does, in this case she caused utter devastation and loss of life. If you read the link above, it gives a brief Wikepedia overview of it all.
In our local area, we weren’t affected by the impact of the cyclone itself but the aftermath of her being downgraded. Generally, cyclones turn into tropical lows that result in a lot of rainfall. Debbie however, also retained the winds and the Bureau of Meteorology images still showed a distinct eye as she moved steadily south.
In our area, we were told to brace for winds and localised flooding.
On Thursday 30th March, Debbie began to make her presence felt.
I sat here at my computer with my internet connection and telephone and fielded calls from family members in the process of trying to get home from work. At this stage, due to the rain many roads had flooded and it was making it difficult for them to get through. There was also a severe road accident blocking one of the main highways into town. I kept up to date with road closures and estimated times that the highway would reopen after clearing the accident.
It took the Garden Gnome 3 1/2 hours to get home from work; a trip that generally takes approximately 45 minutes. My DIL ended up being dropped at one point by her friend and driven the rest of the way into town by a person with a large 4WD who was happy to drive through some of the flooded roads. Bloody crazy if you ask me. If it’s flooded – forget it!
School was cancelled throughout South-East Queensland on the day – although the Teen had already told me that if I thought she was going to walk to school in this weather I had another think coming lol. Then she rolled over and went back to sleep. It was definitely good sleeping weather that’s for sure.
Thursday night at about 8pm, our power went out. By this time the wind was slamming against the house. We took the opportunity to make an early night of it. The Teen couldn’t sleep properly (and truth be told she was a little frightened) and climbed into bed with me. The Garden Gnome took his pillow out to the couch. None of us slept well due to the strange noises made by the howling wind and the pounding of the rain on the roof. It sounded as if we were going to lose our roof.
Through the night, the rain stopped.
The wind continued for a little while but then dropped off.
The Garden Gnome went out at daylight to survey the damage and happily found nothing except leaves and few things that the wind had knocked over. The rain gauge was full and he emptied it for the second time in just under 24 hours.
Our total rainfall for the two days was quite high – several inches I believe. (I went looking for where it was written down and couldn’t find it. Wasn’t even in my journal).
He then came inside and told us to get up and come out and look at the view.
You may remember that this is what our view generally looks like.
Well, this is what it looked like on the Friday morning.
The Logan River had burst its banks.
We got in the car and went out for a short drive to see some of the other flooding (and to capture photos).
The following photos are taken right on the edge of town where they are currently putting through a by-pass. This is actually the flooding shown in the above photos (just a little closer).
Along the highway in the other direction (on the way to the Garden Gnome’s parent’s home), the road was also cut. You can see where the flood waters had actually receded a bit and left a hay bale on the road.
Several local businesses, farms and homes were flooded. Stock, property, fences, crops, cattle and livelihoods were lost.
The First Born and her family were marooned in their housing estate about half an hour drive away. The only way in or out was by boat and many people set up shuttles to get groceries to people or take those out who required medical attention etc. My youngest grand child was ferried out to go away camping with his little friend’s family.
Since we still had no power, we cleaned out our fridge and freezer to take to my son’s place in town. Oddly enough, he still had power and many of the supermarkets were still open with skeleton staff. They operated on reduced hours however. What didn’t fit in my son’s freezer, we kept in an esky filled with ice.
That night, as the Teen and the GG played shadow puppets on the roof using torches (flashlights) and candles, we read or chatted before having another early night.
Thankfully, our power returned through the night.
The Albert River was still rising further downstream where my father lives (about a 45 minute drive away) and he was watching it closely. Aerial photos taken by media of where he lives show how close the water came to his house but luckily didn’t reach it.
When the flood waters receded enough to get out to visit the GG’s parents, I took my camera along. His sister had been unable to return home from Brisbane due to not only the Logan River bursting its banks but the Albert River as well. A friend (who lives near where some of the following photos were taken) had been interstate and returned on the Friday morning. She and her family ended up staying with friends and got home 2 days later.
Estimates of the damage bill in our area alone is about 41 million dollars.
It’s been a month now, since Debbie wreaked havoc in Queensland and the pain is still there. The Garden Gnome is out every day in his job still cleaning debris and mud. He is assisting some home owners with disposing of the contents of their homes and tells me of one street where every house is still sitting empty, stripped of contents whilst the owners seek temporary accommodation somewhere else.
Many people are borrowing white goods whilst waiting for the insurance companies to settle their claims. Farmers are hoping they can salvage something from the crops they had planted before the flooding. Stock and animals are still being reunited with owners.
But there is spirit of mateship and strength among those affected and those who weren’t. The ‘mud army’ came out in force to help clean. The local race course was damaged so badly that it still can’t run races there however it was cleaned up enough by volunteers to have a fundraising day in lieu of their major race day.
Camping at the local show grounds are volunteers from interstate that are going out each day and working with farmers to repair fences and clean up their farms.
Hope and faith in human nature is restored at times like these.
And we still laugh. The memes that were on social media at the time were funny.
Local cartoonist Phil Day published this on his facebook page (he missed the deadline for the local paper due to flooding at the back of his own property).
Debbie may have added South East Queensland to her list of conquests, but she didn’t beat us!