Ain't No Mountain High Enough
January 10, 2011 6:00 PM   Subscribe

Recent heavy rain in Queensland has bought destructive flooding to many towns and cities. Yesterday the mountain city of Toowoomba was hit with heavy rain and experienced flash flooding. With (so far) eight confirmed dead and 70 missing, the disaster is set to worsen as more rainfall is predicted.
posted by the noob (264 comments total) 26 users marked this as a favorite

 
I just noticed there wasn't a post about this yet... thanks for putting this up!
Brisbane is now also facing flooding
posted by defcom1 at 6:04 PM on January 10, 2011 [1 favorite]


This has been bad for a while now and my (poor) understanding of the geography suggests that the flooding will work its way down the Darling riverover the next few weeks, prolonging the carnage?

It's worth googling "Rockhampton floods" as well.
posted by doublehappy at 6:09 PM on January 10, 2011


A few numbers, care of today's Crikey:

15: the current death toll from the Queensland floods. This is expected to rise in the aftermath of the most recent flash flooding in the Toowoomba region (via The Sydney Morning Herald) in which eight people are confirmed dead. Police are warning that southern Queensland's flash flood death toll will top 20 (via The Australian).

8: the height, in metres, of some of the "tsunami-like waves" that swept through Toowoomba and the Lockyer Valley yesterday (via the Herald Sun).

18,000: the number of customers in Queensland currently without power (via ABC News).

7.7: the percentage value that dam levels dropped to in 2009 in Toowoomba, an all-time low after a decade-long drought. (via The SMH).

700: the height, in metres, Toowoomba sits above sea level, on the crest of the Great Dividing Range (via The SMH).

65: the number of people evacuated from Dalby overnight (via ABC News).

4500: the number of calls the SES received for assistance from Toowoomba (via ABC News).

70: the number of millimeters of rain an hour that storms continue to dump in some areas of the Darling Downs (via The Courier Mail).

$5-6 billion: the estimated cost to the Queensland economy from the floods (via The Australian).

20: the percentage of Queensland mines that have been shut down by the flooding, with 60% operating at reduced levels (via The Australian).

$50-100 million: the estimated amount of tourism business wiped from the Bundaberg and Rockhampton regions (via The Sunday Mail).

200 (more than): the number of homes and businesses along the river that the Brisbane City Council says are at risk, most at Rocklea, Albion, Milton and Auchenflower (via ABC News).

3: the number of river systems flooded (via The Guardian).

In fact, the only numbers not set to change over the coming hours are these ones:

1300 993 191: the telephone hotline set up for people seeking information on friends and relatives caught up in the flooding disaster.

1800 219 028: the number to call to donate to the Queensland flood relief appeal.
posted by wilful at 6:14 PM on January 10, 2011 [5 favorites]


And an interesting article from Brisbane's finest writer, Nick Earls,a few weeks ago in the NYT.
posted by wilful at 6:16 PM on January 10, 2011 [1 favorite]


Maps of precipitation anomalies in Australia for November 2010, December 2010, January 2011. It looks like a reprieve is underway.
posted by crapmatic at 6:20 PM on January 10, 2011


Flash flooding in Toowoomba video.
posted by wilful at 6:25 PM on January 10, 2011 [9 favorites]


Considering the recent disaster in Victoria where the Government powers were criminally asleep at the wheel [why Christine Nixon and Russell Rees aren't in jail I will never know]...

...How did no one see this coming? Was it once in a generation rainfall? Then plan for a once in a generation flash flood. Sheesh. Or was it some sort of perfect storm with too many confounding variables?

And that's not to say there would be time to do anything about it. But all I've heard is the shiny assed PR spivs [a worrying recent trend for emergencies services over here] with their shiny assed press releases, or some local yokel government Johnny "yuk yuk I have never seen anything like it."
posted by uncanny hengeman at 6:34 PM on January 10, 2011


The Big Picture (boston.com) (First pic has a sad kangaroo).
posted by 2bucksplus at 6:42 PM on January 10, 2011 [4 favorites]


Heard this on the Beeb today morning. Toowomba has a special place in my memory; it's the town my mom and I were supposed to have visited in my childhood, but couldn't for some very personal reasons. Always wanted to go there. Shame to hear that there has been flooding there; hope the fine folk there will be alright.
posted by the cydonian at 6:43 PM on January 10, 2011


thanks for the links wilful.
posted by the noob at 6:44 PM on January 10, 2011


I realized a few days ago that there was no post about this, and thought about making one, but the scope of it is just overwhelming.

This is what it looked like from space on January 6.
posted by rtha at 6:44 PM on January 10, 2011 [1 favorite]


...How did no one see this coming? Was it once in a generation rainfall?

Buildings in Toowoomba that have not seen flooding in 100 years have been washed away, so 'once in a generation' doesn't really cut it. I don't know many centenarian 'local yokel government Johnnys', do you?

How would you plan for a flood that extends from Rockhampton to Brisbane? How would you defend a town like Toowoomba from an 8m wall of water that picked up cars, trucks and shipping containers and threw them down the main street?

But I'm sure you're right. They're all idiots. Next time they'll ask you first, I'm sure.
posted by obiwanwasabi at 6:45 PM on January 10, 2011 [15 favorites]


sorry that's actually a wallaby, kangaroo pictures follow though
posted by 2bucksplus at 6:45 PM on January 10, 2011


uncanny hengeman, not to be too unkind, but I don't think you know what you're talking about. People don't actually have to be to blame for life's disasters, sometimes shit happens after every reasonably step was taken. I guess you're american by your americanised spelling, maybe you don't fully grasp the situation.

In the Victorian bushfires, there was basically nothing that could have changed the outcomes on that day, apart from successive governments over decades having more restrictive planning policies. Read the Royal Commission reports, and recall that it was 47 degrees. What really could Christine Nixon or Russell Rees have done differently, that would have done a damn thing? Can you answer that?

For the flooding in QLD at the moment, this is basically unprecedented, and the cost of preventative measures would surely be enormous. Everything has costs. And all I've heard is Anna Bligh, sounding generally pretty good.
posted by wilful at 6:50 PM on January 10, 2011 [5 favorites]


I've got a friend near Brisbane. She just posted to her journal saying that she's been fine so far, but now the floodwaters are headed her way. If there's any good news, it's that she and her boyfriend live in a second-floor apartment. I hope she makes it through all right.
posted by Faint of Butt at 6:50 PM on January 10, 2011


And I totally forgot to say: Thank you for making this post.
posted by rtha at 6:51 PM on January 10, 2011


Chill out. I specifically added the rider that there might not be enough time to react.

So "plan" might mean anything from actually planning [which you seem to have given up on - love your style] or some joker in the Weather Bureau on a two-way radio saying "hold onto your hats, folks."

How did no one see this coming?
posted by uncanny hengeman at 6:56 PM on January 10, 2011


In the Victorian bushfires, there was basically nothing that could have changed the outcomes on that day

Apart from telling eveyone to GTFO, to the point of police and firemen strongarming residents. It would have taken some leadership to overrule the "stay and fight" option or whatever they call it.

Leadership? Ha!
posted by uncanny hengeman at 7:00 PM on January 10, 2011


For the flooding in QLD at the moment, this is basically unprecedented

Hmm, I grew up there and remember the '74 floods. so not so unprecedented. Also the Wivenhoe Dam was / is meant to be mitigation. that's at least what Bjelke said, and he was always right.

I remember this...

http://waywewere.couriermail.com.au/image-detail.php?search_field=35/K/105/3&offset=0&return=L3NlYXJjaC1yZXN1bHRzLnBocD9zZWFyY2hfZmllbGQ9MzUlMkZLJTJGMTA1JTJGMw
posted by the noob at 7:00 PM on January 10, 2011


sorry, this
posted by the noob at 7:01 PM on January 10, 2011


Then plan for a once in a generation flash flood.

People plan and build for climate, and then get weather. 25' waves? WTF? Last time I paid any attention, Australia was on fire. Sorry you guys are going through this.
posted by PareidoliaticBoy at 7:03 PM on January 10, 2011 [1 favorite]


People don't actually have to be to blame for life's disasters

"How did not one see this coming?" does not equal "blame." I framed my post with respect to the Victorian bushfires, which probably didn't help. I believe there is plenty of blame to be had there.

you don't fully grasp the situation

I do fully grasp the situation. Read the last sentence of my 2nd paragraph. It might be a case of "shit happens."
posted by uncanny hengeman at 7:06 PM on January 10, 2011


Thanks to Australian naming conventions this is the most amusing horrific natural disaster ever!
posted by mightygodking at 7:12 PM on January 10, 2011 [1 favorite]


This is happening around me as we speak. I'm eyeing the storm water easement in my backyard warily. My Mum is about to be evacuated from Brassall, on the other side of town. Scary shit really. Been obsessed with this forum for days.
posted by h00py at 7:13 PM on January 10, 2011 [4 favorites]


Stay safe, h00py, and all other Qld Mefites (and non-Mefites too).

I shudder to think what the final death toll will be. This is bloody awful.
posted by malibustacey9999 at 7:20 PM on January 10, 2011


This is a pretty impressive video of the Toowoomba flash flood. The cars to disappearing at around 1m.
posted by markr at 7:22 PM on January 10, 2011 [5 favorites]


to the point of police and firemen strongarming residents.

Strong evidence you need to buy a clue. The police can only do this if given that power by Parliament, which they were not given. Unless you think police should use their own judgement to determine what is lawful.
posted by wilful at 7:27 PM on January 10, 2011 [1 favorite]


According to this, Brisbane CBD isn't a very nice place to be right now.
posted by malibustacey9999 at 7:31 PM on January 10, 2011


start disappearing that should be.

It's basically been raining here for the last month. The photos of flooding in the Big Picture linked above are largely from around New Years, and it hasn't stopped raining since then. I was in Childers at Christmas and we couldn't get home (or out to our friends at Woodgate) due to the roads being cut. Family I was staying with have since returned to Rockhampton which is pretty badly hit (although all of their places are fine).

It looks like things are due to peak here in Brisbane over the next 2 days or so. In general it shouldn't be a problem except for very low lying areas that are known to be flood prone (the 1974 flood levels are well known and it is easy enough to find maps) but I guess that is cold comfort if you live in those areas (I won't comment on why you would live in those areas, flood levels are one of the first things I checked when I bought a house). The bigger impact in terms of lives and suffering is in the smaller towns that have already been hit unless something completely unprecedented happens.
posted by markr at 7:33 PM on January 10, 2011


I'd ask everyone who may be considering donating to relief efforts to think about how people will still need help in a week, or a month, or six months. Having lived through the 1990 floods (during which time a 10 year old Alice Russel-Wallace and her family got stuck on a bridge during a flash flood), I still remember how the region's plight fell out of the public eye far too quickly. These communities will continue to need assistance for a while to come.
posted by Alice Russel-Wallace at 7:36 PM on January 10, 2011 [1 favorite]


How would you plan for a flood that extends from Rockhampton to Brisbane?

But I'm sure you're right. They're all idiots. Next time they'll ask you first, I'm sure.

Strong evidence you need to buy a clue. The police can only do this if given that power by Parliament, which they were not given. Unless you think police should use their own judgement to determine what is lawful.

Jesus fucking Christ. I'll leave you guys to it. This is gonna end in post deletions.

No one to blame. We're all living in happy land. Those do-nothing government Johnnies pulling 6 figure salaries actually did a bang up good job. I'm glad they parachuted into another 6 figure salary job. Let's not worry about those nasty, mean "scathing Royal Commission findings."
posted by uncanny hengeman at 7:37 PM on January 10, 2011


So "plan" might mean anything from actually planning [which you seem to have given up on - love your style]

'Plan' in the real world (by all means, join us) means balancing uncertain perspectives about long-term risk with finite resources and sketchy costs and benefits. You plan for what you can, and react as best you can to what you can't. You don't go spending tens of billions of dollars trying to prevent the unpreventable.

I can imagine the response if Anna Bligh had said 'You know, we think there's a real outside chance that the entire south-east of the state could be wiped out by floods in the space of a week or so, and we'd like to build an enormous wall around the entire area, and so we're closing a bunch of schools and hospitals and cancelling a bunch of other projects to pay for it. It's just too much to individually secure the many different types of infrastructure - road, rail, water, utilities, emergency services, hospitals etc on a town by town basis, so the wall is our only option." Of course, it wouldn't have been Anna Bligh, because to prevent a disaster like this they would've had to start building when Joh was a twinkle in his father's eye, and maintained it.

Seriously, maybe news.com.au is more your style. I understand there's a real shortage of armchair meteorologists and civil engineers who want to rant about the bloody government over there.
posted by obiwanwasabi at 7:42 PM on January 10, 2011 [11 favorites]


Those do-nothing government Johnnies pulling 6 figure salaries actually did a bang up good job

So what would you have done? Please, do enlighten us.
posted by obiwanwasabi at 7:43 PM on January 10, 2011 [2 favorites]


Here is the Qld SES site that gives advice on how to be prepared for a flood...

But don't forget to make your fire plan too - WA is experiencing bushfires so keep them in mind too.

This is quite the country we live in.
posted by Alice Russel-Wallace at 7:49 PM on January 10, 2011


Speaking of PR people, if you're out of coverage of local radio for emergency warnings, the Queensland Police twitter stream has up to date information and warnings.

Stay safe Queenslanders.
posted by Fiasco da Gama at 7:50 PM on January 10, 2011


Does anyone have quick bullet point advice for someone whose house might be about to flood? Apart from, "Uh, don't waste your one Ask.Metafilter question a week on how to record TV on a PVR?". I know I should google, but there are a million things to take care of around here.
posted by surenoproblem at 7:50 PM on January 10, 2011


surenoproblem, I don't have any practical experience of floods, never lived through one.

But surely #1 is to stay safe, DO NOT DRIVE THROUGH FLOOD WATERS, let others know (if you can) where you are and where you expect to be. Find out where the nearest evacuation centre is?
#2 - food and fresh water for several days. Too late now I guess to sort that. Pets could be a problem.
#3 - possessions, check insurance, photos, electronic equipment, do what you can to move them to higher ground, safely.

Is there more to it than that?
posted by wilful at 7:57 PM on January 10, 2011


The Queensland Police Service twitter feed.
posted by Alice Russel-Wallace at 7:58 PM on January 10, 2011


.
posted by pompomtom at 8:04 PM on January 10, 2011


Surenoproblem, this is the NSW SES's information about flood safety, and the local information for areas of current warnings in NSW (flooding is also happening on the NSW Northern Tablelands and mid North Coast):
SAFETY INFORMATION

The SES is asking people who are camping to establish camp sites on high ground well above areas liable to flooding. Caravans should also be parked well away from rivers and streams. If rising rivers are likely to cut access, campers and caravanners should consider whether to find a different camping area where access will not be lost. At this stage it is too early to know if there will be any effects on property or roads until rain causes river rises and flood warnings are issued.

Never drive, ride or walk through floodwater. This is the main cause of death during floods. Floodwater can be deeper and faster flowing than it appears and may contain hidden snags, debris and contaminants. Road surfaces can erode quickly.
  • Listen to the radio for information, updates and advice
  • Follow all instructions given by emergency services
  • Check that neighbours are aware of the flood situation
posted by Fiasco da Gama at 8:07 PM on January 10, 2011


I'm in Ipswich on top of a hill. I just heard on teh radio that the SES found 40 bodies from yesterdays floods. I'm missing some good mates - I hope that's a mistake.
posted by b33j at 8:08 PM on January 10, 2011


I've got a lot of family up that way. It's terrying how quickly nature can overwhelm us when it wants to.
posted by twirlypen at 8:19 PM on January 10, 2011


b33j: "I'm in Ipswich on top of a hill. I just heard on teh radio that the SES found 40 bodies from yesterdays floods. I'm missing some good mates - I hope that's a mistake"

I hope that's a mistake too b33j.

My stepmum in rural South Australia was flooded last December. The whole area was totally taken by surprise by the amount of rain that fell and then caused the main river to flood so drastically. You can only prepare for a certain number of disasters - and for most of Australia flooding is much further down on the list.

Poor Queensland.
posted by gomichild at 8:23 PM on January 10, 2011


Thanks for the help, everyone. Looks like my area isn't going to be too bad, but I'm going to a friend's place anyway. Thanks again.
posted by surenoproblem at 8:31 PM on January 10, 2011


I've heard the water level in the city is easing as high tide passes, but things are expected to be much worse at around this time tomorrow (which will be a bigger tide, plus we'll have more water from out west). The mayor was on the news saying over 6000 homes in Brisbane will be flooded.
posted by markr at 8:35 PM on January 10, 2011


Yeah, theres a lot of bad rumours floating around on Twitter. There are also lots of people 1500km away who feel it's their public duty too inform people about, for example, Brisbane's public transport situation. It seems everyone's a public broadcaster in an emergency, nowdays. People in the area should be listening to AM612 (stream here), or if you put your faith in Twitter, as Alice suggested above, the QPSMedia feed is the place to be.

Currently imagining the water washing out that cute little fake beach at Southbank...
posted by Jimbob at 8:35 PM on January 10, 2011 [1 favorite]


Also interesting: Brisband metro traffic camera - seems to be a lot of people on that freeway trying to get somewhere...
posted by Jimbob at 8:36 PM on January 10, 2011


Bad day to go shopping in Brisbane...
posted by Jimbob at 8:47 PM on January 10, 2011


Well, I work in Brisbane City and just got home about 12km from the CBD. Its about 2.30pm here. Just figured I'd do my mefite duty and post.

Fortunately my neighbourhood is pretty elevated so don't anticipate any problems here. I'm also in a traditional Queenslander home on stilts. The issue for many people will be transport, which will be disrupted.

In the CBD I went out for a look at morning tea, and again at lunch, and the Brisbane River near my workplace went up about 60-70cm in about two hours. Pretty quick on the one hand, but unlike Toowoomba people are seeing it coming.

City office workplaces are quite sensibly allowing people to knock off and go home. People are pretty calm. City traffic was comparable to afternoon peaktime. Nothing too dramatic. People who can get going are getting going.

I lived in Canberra during the 2003 bushfires and in London during the 7/7 bombings. Its easy from a distance and via the media to think everyone's screwed - some people totally are, but most are fine and will hopefully help as they can.
posted by jjderooy at 8:50 PM on January 10, 2011 [1 favorite]


Larvatus Prodeo, a group blog run by a Queenslander and frequented by many Queenslanders, is hosting a roundup thread for information.
posted by Fiasco da Gama at 8:51 PM on January 10, 2011


Premier on television now, reporting that waters will hit 3m overnight, 4.5 tomorrow rising into Thursday with flood levels peaking higher than 1974 (which was a peak of 5.4m).

In ipswich, they expect to see river levels 18-19m by midnight tonight, peak midday Wednesday around 22m. (1974 was 20m).
posted by coriolisdave at 9:12 PM on January 10, 2011


(I should clarify: first paragraph relates to water levels in Brisbane/CBD).
posted by coriolisdave at 9:14 PM on January 10, 2011


If waters hit '74 levels that is major flooding. I've been in Brisbane for 15 or so years, and the story has always been that the Wivenhoe Dam would prevent flooding at that level (and indeed that was always the story when people bought housing in low lying areas "we'll never see flooding like that again so it doesn't mater").

Hopefully with the advance warning we are having there won't be any loss of life like we've seen in other parts of Brisbane.
posted by markr at 9:23 PM on January 10, 2011


Other parts of Queensland I should say. Have I managed a single post in this thread without it needing a correction?
posted by markr at 9:23 PM on January 10, 2011


Here is a plot of the Brisbane River level at the City, note that according to that 3.5m is considered major flooding, and we're expecting 5.5+ by Thursday.
posted by markr at 9:27 PM on January 10, 2011 [1 favorite]


Markr, from the sound of things Wivenhoe has already done its job -- if it weren't there, we would've already had much worse floods (it's already "stopped two 74's" according to one report). It's now, simply, reached the limit of what it can mitigate.

Things are about to get VERY interesting.
posted by coriolisdave at 9:37 PM on January 10, 2011


h00py and b33j - I very much hope both your family and friends are safe and that the dozens of missing folk are just somewhere else unable to get home. Mobile phone coverage is very patchy at the moment in SE Queensland.

I'm just south of the border on the NSW northern tablelands. We are isolated by a raging and still rising river in one direction and a flash flooding (up 15ft) seasonal creek in the other. Just half an hour ago while on our way to feed a neighbour's stranded dogs we crossed a culvert. Minutes later a large upstream dam broke its banks sending an 20 foot wall of water through the gully and cutting us off from our property.

I shouldn't have, but I did panic a bit after realising how a few minutes could have cost us our lives. Fortunately we could walk overland back home. I'm deeply loving my partner right now for seeing my bitching at him as panic and not taking it personally.

Our house and stock are safe from flood waters but I fear that our dam wall will also break which will cost us a lot in lost productivity and income. The inflow is double the substantial outflow. All that water from only a 500ac catchment. Wow.

Here are some safety facts that we are using to inform our activity:

15 cm (6") of flowing water can knock an adult pedestrian off their feet and into the flow.

60 cm (2ft) of flowing water can lift and knock a 4wd and other solid vehicles sideways and into the flow.

In regards to those on this and all forums who say "they should have done something, they should have planned!!!!" I too often have this knee-jerk reaction but I've come to realise it's a response based on fear. We live our daily lives assuming (hoping) that our society and government have all bases covered. They can't of course - they can't swaddle us from birth to protect us from the risks of life. But once we realise that reality, we lose our confidence, we become frightened. We think 'if they didn't plan for this, what else can happen??'

So my brain-smart response (the one that comes a while after the knee-jerk) is to calm down, take stock and look at what can be done to alleviate the damage because, you know, life is inherently risky. I mean what can be done to prepare for an inland tsunami?

The national highways into and out of the northern tablelands are closed as are most of the highways heading to the east coast for a few hundred kilometres in either direction. The next two days are going to bring more heavy constant rain. It's going to get worse.

So.. if.. um.. if anyone has a spare chopper handy, I'd really appreciate an emergency drop of couple of packs of Champion Ruby and some Tally Ho.
posted by Kerasia at 9:40 PM on January 10, 2011 [19 favorites]


Mostly just an FYI, but the ABC have just removed the geolocation block on the web stream of their 24 hour news service. We call Brisbane home, but are currently overseas on holidays so this have been very useful for us.

http://www.abc.net.au/news/abcnews24/

It's all a bit worrying really... :/
posted by adamt at 9:51 PM on January 10, 2011 [1 favorite]


woah! I'm in brisbane, just got back from the local supermarket (in relatively safe, elevated suburb, touch wood), never seen anything like it. The place was packed and half the meat and fresh veggies had been sold out. they had removed all the trollies to stop people hoarding. I saw people buying dozens of bottles of fresh water, let's hope we wont end up needing that sort of thing! My mum remembers the 74 floods which totally submerged the roof of her house, and she's is pretty worried. many of the roads out of town are closed, everybody has left work early today and everywhere will probably be closed tomorrow, the CBD has flooded already and tomorrow is expected to be worse.

it's been raining pretty much non stop for the past couple of months, with the occasional dry day here and there. a couple of years ago and it was the worst drought in history.
posted by moorooka at 9:55 PM on January 10, 2011 [2 favorites]


For anyone interested, someone (not me!) has set up a live feed of the river - looks like it's at West End.
posted by coriolisdave at 9:58 PM on January 10, 2011


I am really working to restrain some pissiness here. I was in Melbourne for the fires and I'm back in my hometown Brisbane for this.

There are vagaries of nature beyond anything we can imagine.

A wall of fucking FLAME moving faster than you. Faster than your car. Exploding goddamn trees BEFORE it gets there.

Eight METRES of water coming down a main street. Middle of the city a mother and child clinging to a lightpole before they go down in the murky, shit brown water and die.

These are not things one can plan for. And even when you try, you try and try and try, people are fucking insane. People build houses surrounded by trees and bush in a landscape known for flames and try to stay with them. People build on the refuse of floods and drought and fire thinking things will be different for them. They have debris in their gutters. They think they're fucking special. They're safe. It happened years ago, not their generation. It isn't their 'turn'. They survived this and that so they'll stay, thank you very much, even as the water laps at the door and the flames eat the town two kilometres away. They drive through flooded roads and dive into swollen rivers. They campaign long and hard to make the government let them build what they want, where they want. They edge closer and closer to rivers for better views and more money. They cry loud and hard about strong arm tactics being the thin edge of a facist wedge.

Or they do everything right. Trees well back, gutters clean, built up high. They have plans. Then nature comes down with a fury NONE of us have seen and they die too. They're farmers and graziers and retirees and teachers and nurses and librarians and they die just like anyone else caught in walls of water or flame. Or they were out shopping. They were evacuating. They were trying to save someone, maybe themselves. They were simply driving to work. Or they believed the real estate agent, the friend 'in the know', that the floods wouldn't ever happen again. That they weren't going to be in danger.

I can't remember anyone saying, ever, that we wouldn't see floods like '74 because of the dams.

My brother in law is isolated in his house. He is ten minutes from a train station that is 45 minutes from the CBD of Brisbane. My sister is in Brisbane, manning emergency lines. She will come here once she's finished, because she cannot get to her house. My parents tried to get to their nearest city centre only to find the way blocked. I'm okay where I am, as close as I am to the CBD.

My workmate is looking at losing her house - it went under in the '74 floods. She started the exodus at work, because she needed to get her stuff out. It's a rental property so she hasn't been able to do anything about actually flood proofing (as much as one can ever flood proof). Every day I go to work I pass a marker about head height on the first flight upwards out of my train station reminding us this is where '74 stopped. This is probably going to be worse. But we've got warning, about 12 hours til peak. At least, that's what we think. Because we estimate then the sky opens again and you can't see more than a metre or so in front of you and there are just no words for it. ABC News is open internationally now, if you want to see what's happening.

But please, tell me how we can prevent it ever happening again. Tell me. I need to know.
posted by geek anachronism at 10:12 PM on January 10, 2011 [32 favorites]


Yeah, the Toowoomba thing is odd - it's on top of a mountain range that's basically as wide as the city, with bugger-all catchment area draining into it. It must have been one hell of a deluge, on top of already saturated ground, to make it flood like that.

"the 1974 flood levels are well known and it is easy enough to find maps"

Easy way to find the '74 flood level : look for all the areas developed since the early 90's :-/

I bet all those people who - just a few months ago, after the drought broke - were calling for Wivenhoe Dam to be left filled past nominal capacity are feeling a bit stupid now. It was built after the 74 floods primarily for flood mitigation; currently it's past 170% and rising (scroll down to the historical levels graph & select Wivenhoe). Water from there flows directly into Brisbane…

I left uni around lunchtime because I noticed the river was pretty high, and my gf kept texting me that bits of the CBD (e.g. Eagle St) were being asked to evacuate if possible. Someone told me after I left that QUT had been closed; I see on the website now that that was only the lowest block, but the buildings along the river are being sandbagged and the whole place is officially closed tomorrow (and, I expect, until Friday at least). If the river hits the heights predicted, then the carpark will almost certainly flood, and possibly those lower buildings too.

On the plus side, my office is on the 3rd floor of the next building up the hill. On the minus side, my experiments are all on the ground floor… :-(
posted by Pinback at 10:13 PM on January 10, 2011 [1 favorite]


To all our MeFites in AUS, please stay safe. Damn. These extreme shifting weather patters hopefully won't become the norm.
posted by PROD_TPSL at 10:27 PM on January 10, 2011


jjderooy, do let me know where you're moving to next, so I can choose not to go there.

My families are fine, safe and dry, and many of my friends have checked in. One apparently has lost his home in the valley while he was on holidays up the coast. I'm most worried about bird-watching Dougie.

Unfortunately, my lift to Ipswich had to head back to the Gold Coast quickly to avoid being caught here, so I am without alcohol (though I have plenty of food, water, gas, candles etc).
posted by b33j at 10:32 PM on January 10, 2011


geek anachronism: "Every day I go to work I pass a marker about head height on the first flight upwards out of my train station reminding us this is where '74 stopped. This is probably going to be worse. "

I used to live in West End, three houses away from the river. I know the signs you talk of. I also know my real estate (rental) agent whined about the signs saying it brought down property purchase prices and that the council should remove them. Fucker.

The area affected by these floods - mid Queensland to northern NSW is an area as large if not larger than Texas, USA. (Qld 1,852,642 km2 / Texas 678,354 km2)

Despite the damage, the carnage, the greenie in me is giving thanks. These rains - well the ones flowing into the Murray-Darling basin - will aid our major cross-continent river system which was close to death a year ago.
posted by Kerasia at 10:45 PM on January 10, 2011 [1 favorite]


Just checking in again. No worries b33j, I'm sticking in Brisbane for a while yet!

Things seem steady in my neighbourhood. The local train station carpark is empty - like me, all the folks who catch the train into town have gone home early.

I'm reminded of a theory I think I developed independently after 7/7 (someone's probably said it before) about how people talk to the media during and after a disaster and what it says about national character (beware - gross stereotyping ahead!), or perhaps the interaction between local media and local public.

During and after 7/7 the media seemed desperate to find highly emotional people to interview, but all they seemed to be able to find were people who were just giving the facts. I remember one guy, just straight describing "I was on the train, there was a big noise and darkness, there was glass in my hair, we walked out ..." I think I saw several dozen members of the public who were close to events interviewed on the day, and it seemed only a couple were upset. They kept getting people giving really objective descriptions.

Contrast this to Americans (or should I say, how American's respond to American media, and what the media decides to show) - its generally the highly emotional folks to who get on TV after disasters (please note - very gross general impression here - I offer no actual evidence or particular recollection).

After a disaster in Australia, you're more likely to see some bloke in shorts saying "Yeah, its a fuckin' mess, but we're all right!"

Anyway, keep an eye out for my theory as we go.
posted by jjderooy at 10:46 PM on January 10, 2011 [5 favorites]


Last time I paid any attention, Australia was on fire.

And part of it is on fire again.

Droughts and flooding rains, indeed.
posted by andraste at 10:49 PM on January 10, 2011


Kerasia: "I used to live in West End, three houses away from the river. I know the signs you talk of. I also know my real estate (rental) agent whined about the signs saying it brought down property purchase prices and that the council should remove them. Fucker. "

This is a photo of the Axon Building at UQ during the '74 floods. Inside on the wall there is a little plastic sign marking the level the waters reached and giving the name and time of the student who swam the fastest lap of the corridor (well there was 10 years ago anyway).
posted by markr at 10:57 PM on January 10, 2011


These maps and photos are unreal. Stay safe down there; I know I and a lot of others will be checking this thread to see how you go.
posted by LobsterMitten at 10:58 PM on January 10, 2011


This is what's happening on the highway I normally drive to and from work on. Ipswich Motorway and train line closed at Goodna due to unusually high waves.
posted by h00py at 11:27 PM on January 10, 2011 [2 favorites]


These rains - well the ones flowing into the Murray-Darling basin - will aid our major cross-continent river system which was close to death a year ago.

Is there any truth to the theory (put forward by some old mates of mine in Adelaide), that the retention of water in dams in northern NSW and Queensland earlier in the year for irrigation, rather than sending it down the river, contributed to the flooding we're seeing now?
posted by Jimbob at 11:51 PM on January 10, 2011 [1 favorite]


Jimbob: "Is there any truth to the theory (put forward by some old mates of mine in Adelaide), that the retention of water in dams in northern NSW and Queensland earlier in the year for irrigation, rather than sending it down the river, contributed to the flooding we're seeing now"

Not from my understanding. The floods are caused by extreme La Nina rainfalls (100-200mm per day (4-8") for many days). They are not caused by overflowing retained dams. Most of the areas involved have been in drought for 5-10 years and not hoarding water in dams.
posted by Kerasia at 12:18 AM on January 11, 2011 [1 favorite]


Latest news is that Wivenhoe Dam is at 190% and not much is left between partial flooding and full catastrophe. I still can't quite comprehend that we were drought-declared only a year ago.

I live two blocks from the river at Yeronga, near the Brisbane Tennis Centre, and although the river hasn't flooded we've had storm overflow from the drains flood the end of our street. With it likely to peak on Thursday, I think the plan is to pack the bags tonight and wait for tomorrow's high tide to make my mind up. Or the police knock on my door first.

Sidenote: one of the more frustrating thing for flood victims is that most insurance policies in Queensland do not specifically cover home and contents insurance for flood damage from river overflow, only from storms.

And agreed that the Queensland Police twitter and facebook feed have been the most reliable source of road closures and shutdown on rumours.

Good luck guys, hope you're all at home with loved ones and looking after yourselves and your neighbours.
posted by chronic sublime at 12:32 AM on January 11, 2011


Good luck, neighbours.
posted by rodgerd at 12:35 AM on January 11, 2011


Disaster declarations have been made, allowing the 'strong arm' tactics for evacuation.

75% of the state is a disaster zone.

Still looking at 59 missing, 15 dead. Latest piece I watched was a family on top of a car with a news chopper overhead who got washed out as rescue teams looked on. The mother and son were found kilometres downstream and alive, but the father is missing.

Latest news from the Premier.

Pets now allowed in some evac shelters.
posted by geek anachronism at 12:44 AM on January 11, 2011


Fingers crossed for you all -- this looks dreadful.
posted by i_am_joe's_spleen at 12:49 AM on January 11, 2011


From what I've seen, the response and preparedness for this disaster has been excellent. Responses from the emergency services, the State govt and police have been well co-ordinated. Maybe some tougher stress testing on their websites would have been a good idea, but that's picking at straws perhaps. The fact that it continues to rain has made it difficult to estimate the flood levels.

The fact that Wivenhoe Dam, built to prevent recurrence of the '74 flood, wasn't left filled and has still reached capacity is staggering. Even with 2.3 million megalitres held there, this flood is still expected to pass '74 levels. 75% of the state has now been declared a disaster area - to give some scale, this is a larger area than Texas and New Mexico combined.

Flood warnings have been issued for 4 of the other 5 Australian states - and the other one is on fire. Northwest Victoria is expecting up to half a year's worth of rain tonight.
posted by notionoriety at 1:00 AM on January 11, 2011


"..it's been raining pretty much non stop for the past couple of months, with the occasional dry day here and there. a couple of years ago and it was the worst drought in history...

...just a few months ago, after the drought broke...

...I still can't quite comprehend that we were drought-declared only a year ago..."


QFT. This is unprecedented. Usually this time of year it's hot as hell, we may get a few storms in the afternoons, and that's about it. It's basically been raining non stop for a month, after a few years of drought so severe all the damns in the south-east were in real danger of emptying. In the course of a single year they have not only refilled but are ready to overfill. How do you predict and plan for that? Across the entire state. Parts of Queensland have had a year's worth of rainfall in single evenings and the flooding in Toowoomba is really bizarre, given that Toowoomba is basically on a mountain. This really is the sort of thing that sometimes just happens. They're comparing it to 74, but it's not like 74 at all. We'd basically have been washed out to sea by now without Wivenhoe. The fact that it's only 74 level given how much rain we've had and how much serious flooding we've had upstream is a testament to the planning that has happened. For fuck's sake, we're talking 9 dead across an area with a population of several million people. It's still a tragedy, but by god, I don't want to think about the death toll without the planning that has been in place, the education programs, the fact that we even have that experience from 74 to draw from.

That said, it's not actually that panicked in the city itself. People are worried, but planned and are prepared, by and large. They keep mentioning gridlocked traffic and panicked buying, but the road cameras I've been watching (mostly to see how the river is behaving) show orderly traffic flowing at about what you'd expect on an average afternoon at close of business, albeit a few hours early. The supermarket was packed when I went, given today is my shop day anyhow, but everyone was relatively orderly and calm.

Australians are tough. I do bump into folk online who occasionally wonder why, and this is why. We'll get through this, like the Victorians did, and like North Queenslanders do every monsoon.
posted by Jilder at 1:09 AM on January 11, 2011 [7 favorites]


posted by chronic sublime: I'm just up the road at Annerley, a little further from the river but still nervous.
My insurance excludes flood (fuck you CGU), but I've found ING does a good flood-inclusive cover that I wish I had right about now (not expensive, either!). Suncorp is about the only other insurer I know of to offer flood protection.

Good luck everyone. Stay safe.
posted by coriolisdave at 1:22 AM on January 11, 2011


A few days ago, the area underwater was the size of Germany and France combined. It would be fascinating to see the current area overlaid on a map of Europe or the US, to get a sense of the scale of it.

My heart goes out to the Queensland Mefites. Hopefully you will at least get something like a giant beached ship to entertain you once the cleanup begins (why yes, I am from Newcastle).
posted by jaynewould at 1:25 AM on January 11, 2011


Checking in from Brisbane too. I moved to a friend's place in Spring Hill for the week, so far we're flood safe. This photo was taken a block away from my apartment - good thing I left!
posted by divabat at 1:31 AM on January 11, 2011


Thoughts are with everyone up there right now. Queensland mefites, if there's anything we southern Aussies can do/send either now or during the cleanup to help you out (besides donating to the flood relief appeal), please let us know.
posted by une_heure_pleine at 1:32 AM on January 11, 2011 [4 favorites]


jayneworld, I've been doing some math - the current disaster area is now equivalent to the area of Spain, France and the UK combined. Or alternatively, Texas, New Mexico, Oklahoma and Louisiana combined. I assume this is a larger area than that which is actually underwater, but it's the most up-to-date figure I have.

To echo une_heure_pleine's offer: Qlders, if there's anything we can do - ask.
posted by notionoriety at 1:38 AM on January 11, 2011 [4 favorites]


The pictures of the small town of Grantham on the news where terrible. Entire houses were washed away with their occupants still inside and many are missing. The town has now been evacuated, but there is not much left of it. Really terrible.
posted by markr at 1:41 AM on January 11, 2011


It turns out that this is all Krudd's fault for being insufficiently supportive of Israel.

You'd think the loonies could wait until the bodies have been counted...
posted by pompomtom at 1:43 AM on January 11, 2011 [1 favorite]


The current area overlaid on a map of Europe or the US, to get a sense of the scale of it.

For jaynewould.
posted by Hot buttered sockpuppets at 1:45 AM on January 11, 2011 [2 favorites]


It turns out that this is all Krudd's fault for being insufficiently supportive of Israel.
You'd think the loonies could wait until the bodies have been counted...


I'm not suggesting someone should kidnap Danny Nalia and tie him to a park bench in Fortitude Valley. I'm not saying that at all.
posted by Jimbob at 1:59 AM on January 11, 2011 [1 favorite]


As far as helping Queenslanders out...

This is personal, and frivolous, but I would appreciate people writing to me. Random stuff. Anything. I'm already going through a tough emotional time (cousin's death over NYE, now ruled suicide) and bad weather usually heightens my depression - so this is a multiple whammy. I'm not sure how often I'll get to check my email, but any sort of message would be really appreciated. <3
posted by divabat at 2:10 AM on January 11, 2011 [4 favorites]


Thankyou, incredibly speedy Hot Buttered Sockpuppets and notionoriety :)
posted by jaynewould at 2:13 AM on January 11, 2011


God. I've been pressing upload all day wishing I could do something and horrified by the images I'm seeing.

People keep mentioning the bushfires in the thread, and they've been close to my mind today too. The scale of the disaster is just as hard to comprehend. It could also have something to do with the fact that just over a week ago I drove through Marysville for the first time in about 6 years and saw the devastation there first hand.

I don't really have anything to add to this, but I wanted to give my support to all the people in QLD affected. My heart breaks hearing about all this.
posted by jonathanstrange at 2:26 AM on January 11, 2011


ADF now has 15 aircraft in the search and rescue effort.

Ipswich is now threatened by the Bremer river.
posted by awfurby at 2:39 AM on January 11, 2011


Best of luck, guys. We're thinking of you from down here in Melbourne.
posted by mosessis at 2:44 AM on January 11, 2011


SBS has quoted the PM that emergency personnel from New Zealand are now in QLD to help out with relief efforts. Many thanks to our Kiwi friends.
posted by awfurby at 2:46 AM on January 11, 2011 [3 favorites]


Just dropping in as I am also a Brisbane mefite (Carina way) but I am high and dry - I do work at Herston though so assume I won't be able to work in the morning. Can't say I care about that too much. I have been glued to TV and texting all my friends and family... It's all been very organised and most people in the Brisbane/Ipswich area are being sensible and forward planning. Lots of offers of beds on higher ground and generally, though anxious, everyone is calm.

Friends of my brother's fiance have gone missing - they were working in the Lockyer at the time of the grantham deluge - no word yet on if they have been found. Hopefully they are still alive.

To the other SEQ & rest of QLD mefites I hope you are all safe.
posted by latch24 at 2:54 AM on January 11, 2011


The RSPCA in Fairfield is looking for foster homes for pets to be displaced by the flooding of their major HQ.
posted by geek anachronism at 3:07 AM on January 11, 2011


Wishing all our east coasters good luck... do let us know if there's anything that can be done to help over and above making donations to the relief appeal.
posted by harriet vane at 3:08 AM on January 11, 2011


Energex is shutting down a significant number of substations, almost entire CBD to be affected. No link because their site is down.
posted by geek anachronism at 3:12 AM on January 11, 2011


I still can't believe this is happening. We've been *begging* for rain for ages. It's as if Mother Nature just checked her email and decided to fulfill all the requests for rain at once.

Much love from Melbourne (which looks like it may get hit soon as well). Like many above, I offer my services if they're needed.
posted by AzzaMcKazza at 3:14 AM on January 11, 2011 [1 favorite]


Having been victimised by flooding myself, I empathise with what these poor folks are going through.

Hope it gets better soon, mates.
posted by bwg at 3:26 AM on January 11, 2011


It's wet and humid here in Melbourne but whinging about it feels like a bit of a luxury now.

Stay safe guys, thoughts are with you.
posted by prettypretty at 3:29 AM on January 11, 2011


Last time I lived in the UK, my mother's place was nearly wiped out in a bushfire (the house next door was totally gutted, they lost two trucks, totally gutted etc.) in 2003 I think.

Now she is cut off totally by floods, in the same place. She was meant to go to Toowoomba earlier this week for an operation, but turned around driving up the highway as the rain was so strong she couldn't see where she was going. The weather is just crazy, and I think people have to accept that in many, many parts of Australia (and the world) you can't always tame nature - stuff like this is going to happen and sadly wipe out houses, no matter how much mitigation you do. I mean, serious floods and serious fires in the same place in under a decade.
posted by Megami at 3:40 AM on January 11, 2011 [1 favorite]


Just watching the news. This is insane. The main river thru Brisbane is expected to keep on going up until Thursday! I sorta suspected a media beat-up for a while there.

I also note some big meanies in power are actually planning stuff.
posted by uncanny hengeman at 3:55 AM on January 11, 2011


I'm headed over there in about 6 weeks. I hope the rain stops before then and that there is something left to visit.
posted by humanfont at 4:25 AM on January 11, 2011


...How did no one see this coming? Was it once in a generation rainfall? Then plan for a once in a generation flash flood. Sheesh. Or was it some sort of perfect storm with too many confounding variables?
The rainfall was some kind of freak storm cell that was so small in area it wasn't picked up by any of the radar systems etc and fell in the worst possible place - at the very top of the range in an area so steep it's called 'the escarpment' and it dumped so much rain so fast that it produced what the state Police Commissioner called an 'inland tsunami'. Unfortunately, Toowoomba, Grantham etc were directly in the path.

I'm a bit south of Brisbane, on the Gold Coast and we seem to have escaped the worst of this, although I work in the Brisbane CBD. I'm supposed to be heading to Northern NSW tomorrow for our annual summer holiday, but I think the caravan will stay in the driveway fully packed for a few days at least. The weather is fine where we're heading, but the Pacific Highway is cut between here and there so there's no way to get there.

I've been trying to get messages out to my staff through Facebook etc to tell them not to go to work unless they can guarantee to get in and then back out of the CBD and home safely. In other words, stay at home, you idiot! I'll sign off on your emergency leave application when we all get back to work.
posted by dg at 4:45 AM on January 11, 2011


Just got back from Gin Gin Showground Pavilion where I spent a night with people washed out of their homes. Pretty humbling. The sense of community is wonderful. Bedding and BBQ was set up for anyone in need.
posted by unliteral at 4:47 AM on January 11, 2011


If you're in Brisbane and are willing/able to help, Brisbane City Council is looking for volunteers to fill sandbags - details found here. They have enough people for tonight, but expect to need more in the coming days.

That link also has info on other ways to help - fostering pets, assisting with clean-up etc.
posted by une_heure_pleine at 5:00 AM on January 11, 2011


My sister and dad are holidaying in NZ from Bris, sister says the water is lapping at the bottom of the house (Milton), all the family photos and stuff are about to go under and we can't do anything. We're devastated, but they are just things - people have got it far worse, a 4 year old is the latest reported casualty.
posted by the noob at 5:04 AM on January 11, 2011


It's wet and humid here in Melbourne...

Yeah! And my hair is frizzing like you wouldn't believe! Where's my care package?
posted by Ritchie at 5:09 AM on January 11, 2011 [5 favorites]


You'd think the loonies could wait until the bodies have been counted...

Well you had to go and look
posted by the noob at 5:15 AM on January 11, 2011


Have seen a couple of reports that the Wivenhoe Dam is very close to emergency capacity, and predicted rainfall will take it to that. Obviously pace uncanny hegemon they should have built it twice the size, but what happens if it overflows -- will it just be the excess to worry about, or is there some sort of emergency gate-opening release that'll cause a whole lot more trouble?
posted by bonaldi at 5:47 AM on January 11, 2011


Ah, here's an interesting piece on it. The answer is: they're already emptying it, but yes, it's effectively full.
posted by bonaldi at 5:49 AM on January 11, 2011


The idea that random disasters happen and that sometimes you can't anticipate extremes like this is really BS.

Here in Toronto, the flooding caused by Hurricane Hazel in 1954 (81 people dead, almost 2,000 homeless) led to the creation of huge flood management plans, and the Toronto Region Conservation Authority which manages areas prone to flooding. The flooding caused by Hazel was used as the barometer to create a flood management plan for the whole Region. Development is severely restricted or prohibited all together in these areas. (they are used for parks) This approach is applied across the province of Ontario, by the way.

It has its drawbacks: suburban roads were built even wider than necessary to accommodate heavy runoff (see linked picture below...notice how the whole roadway is shaped like a basin that could channelize water...not an accident).

Flooding still occurs, but it is contained. In August 2005, we received 115 mm of rain in about an hour. Damage did happen (this road was closed for about 6 months). But it and injury were significantly minimized.

tl;dr You can still plan for a 100 year flood. It's done all the time.
posted by dry white toast at 6:23 AM on January 11, 2011


dry white toast: We did plan. The plans are working. I am in the city, I have been watching the river, and while there is flooding, it is being handled remarkably well. People are behaving sensibly, by and large, because we have planned, and we are going along with the plans.

A friend and mefi lurker has posted a mirror of the power outages here

As for a media beat up, it wouldn't surprise me if it's actual government policy to overstate the expected damage, in an effort to motivate a traditionally apathetic public. Shock them into action. I'm still preparing for the worst, but given you still get folk who wander down to the water to take pictures despite flash flood warnings. Rather a lot of the casualties so far are from people going and playing in floodwater. Convincing them it's worse than it is so they stay away from it probably makes sense to someone somewhere.
posted by Jilder at 6:36 AM on January 11, 2011 [1 favorite]


should one cancel a flight to attend a conference in Brisbane on the 24th? how long will all of this continue?
posted by bleary at 7:07 AM on January 11, 2011


Watching the news, this just seems to be getting worse. If you're on the east coast, good luck.
posted by Ahab at 7:32 AM on January 11, 2011


I'm quite amazed that the death toll is below 10 despite all the havoc so far. Doubtless, it could increase in the days to come, but to think that there'd be so few casualties with 75% of the state flooded is to the local authorities' credit. Heart-rendering tales about those who perished though; here's hoping there won't be too many more of those.
posted by the cydonian at 8:01 AM on January 11, 2011


It can be pretty amazing when a flood control dam gets near the limits. A lot of them are in steady state at like 5% full, and being near capacity means the water is 20-30 feet deeper than normal, which floods the entire surrounding park.
posted by smackfu at 9:56 AM on January 11, 2011


tl;dr You can still plan for a 100 year flood. It's done all the time.
Of course you can and the Qld Government has planned and the plans are now being enacted. The events in Toowoomba and surrounds were not a 100-year event, they were far more unlikely than that. Some things just can't be anticipated and it's as simple as that.

What's happening in Brisbane is the implementation of 30+ years of planning. There's simply no way to stop Brisbane flooding after the recent rainfall, given the geography, but these plans will minimise property damage and loss of life and speed recovery. Like many, many Australian cities, Brisbane was built on the flat ground along a river - obviously a bad idea in terms of flooding, but it probably made sense at the time. Keep in mind that it wasn't long ago that the two main dams providing Brisbane with water (and flood mitigation) were at 2% capacity not long ago and are now approaching 200% capacity. Keep in mind that we are outside the worst of this where I live, but have been getting an average of 80mm of rain a day for the past month.

You can plan for a 100 year flood, but you can't stop it happening. Not in a state covering 1.7m square kilometres with only 4.5m people. Not when you add in planning for cyclones, bushfires and droughts.
posted by dg at 11:31 AM on January 11, 2011 [5 favorites]


bleary - no idea about the answer to your question, but I'm glad I'm not planning on going to linux.conf.au this year.
posted by atbash at 11:48 AM on January 11, 2011


I just woke up and the sun is shining and birds are singing.

This shit is fucked up.

I am probably going into the city to drop off my sister, will report back after that.
posted by geek anachronism at 11:57 AM on January 11, 2011


Radio recommends not going into CBD today at all.
posted by coriolisdave at 12:05 PM on January 11, 2011


List of streets expected to be affected by this week's floods.
posted by coriolisdave at 12:22 PM on January 11, 2011 [1 favorite]


atbash - that's the one. I've checked their website for any news, but there's nothing there. I also checked the university page. No news for it. The disaster seems like it is of such magnitude that things still might be chaotic at the end of this month, but I have no experience to draw on. Maybe things will be okay after a week?
posted by bleary at 12:42 PM on January 11, 2011


Oh, it's at QUT? Yeah, that's under (at least, bottom levels of buildings are). UQ's just cancelled all summer classes until the water recedes too.
posted by coriolisdave at 12:46 PM on January 11, 2011


bleary: http://www.zdnet.com.au/linux-conf-au-on-track-despite-floods-339308511.htm
But that was from 15 hours ago, as coriolisdave says it may be flooded now.
posted by Joe Chip at 1:48 PM on January 11, 2011


coriolisdave: Radio recommends not going into CBD today at all.

She's manning emergency phone lines, we figured that trumped a 20 minute round trip (roads checked prior to leaving via this). For all that I took the wrong way. It was eerie - very sunny (even at 6:30am) and clear. Coming back I could see fog over the mountains and suburbs, almost like the wet ground steaming in the sun. Between leaving and getting home, I've gone from a difficult trip to work to just not being able to get there, with roads closed almost all the way along and half of the CBD of Ipswich under even if I got there. The supermarket a two minute walk away, where I get supplies for munching at my desk, has half a metre of water through it. None of the servos I passed on the way home had fuel.

My partner just took the baby for a walk to get milk. It feels wrong that we're so close to flood but so far. That it's BAU at home, but work is going to shit and my sister's house is isolated with her dogs and husband inside, my parent's are cut off as well. My brother was fine last check in but waiting to hear from him and his family this morning. But my suburb is nice and dry and busy like any other morning. It's not even as sodden as it was last week.
posted by geek anachronism at 1:57 PM on January 11, 2011


Just thinking more broadly for a minute (having that luxury safely several thousand k's away), this is going to be financially ruinous for so many people, obviously all those immediately affected who didn't have enough insurance cover (never mind the psychological trauma), but everyone in Australia will face higher insurance premiums. Something that affects all of us, as councils have large insurance bills.

Tourism businesses wont get any custom for ages. Harvey Norman should do a roaring trade though, as people replace tellies. And car dealers.

The failure to deliver any coal for several months will badly affect our BOP, so the budget will be in deficit for at least another year or two, which Abbott and the Oz will totally blame Gillard for. Interest rates should stay down, this'll knock fifty points off the thinking of the RBA.
posted by wilful at 2:22 PM on January 11, 2011 [1 favorite]


This might be naively stupid of me... but does anyone know of a way I can donate 3 garbage bags full of kids clothing to flood victims/evacuation centres? From central-west NSW?

The wardrobes were cleansed of out-grown stuff last week. My 12 year old daughter is on holidays with her grandparents and she's just texted me to ask if I can donate her stuff to the flood victims. There's some cute stuff in there that just might help cheer up a 10 year old girl who's lost everything. And there's some cool 8 year old boy stuff too.

The Salvo's aren't answering, and Vinnies isn't open. Googling tells me that the Red Cross aren't accepting clothing.

Any ideas?
posted by malibustacey9999 at 2:37 PM on January 11, 2011


Interest rates should stay down, this'll knock fifty points off the thinking of the RBA.

I feel ashamed that I considered this earlier, and did a little silent jump for joy.

This might be naively stupid of me... but does anyone know of a way I can donate 3 garbage bags full of kids clothing to flood victims/evacuation centres? From central-west NSW?

I heard someone from Vinnies on the radio earlier, basically saying they don't want any donations other than cash, because transport is down so it would be hard to get the goods there to start with, and the Vinnies stores and warehouses are likely to be flood affected as well. Which is a shame, because I'm sure everyone has clothing and stuff they want to offer. Maybe wait a few days - people will be needing help for weeks to come.
posted by Jimbob at 2:43 PM on January 11, 2011


malibustacey9999: This might be naively stupid of me... but does anyone know of a way I can donate 3 garbage bags full of kids clothing to flood victims/evacuation centres? From central-west NSW?

Hold on to it for a few weeks. Nothing can get through right now, everything has stopped. There's no space for anything. So hold onto it for a few weeks then put it through. Right now it's money and time. And space. But in a few weeks, I think we'll need stuff. And it'll do no good if said stuff had to be dumped for no room.

The milk that my partner got? Two 1 litre bottles of super skinny milk since that was all they had. They hadn't got the milk run yet (the major distribution area for groceries on the southside is also flood prone and major roads near it are cut) but they had gotten the bread and the pickings were as slim there.
posted by geek anachronism at 2:44 PM on January 11, 2011 [2 favorites]


malibustacey9999: "The Salvo's aren't answering, and Vinnies isn't open. Googling tells me that the Red Cross aren't accepting clothing. Any ideas"

Hang on to them for the time being. I think Vinnies and the Salvos are still on Christmas break. Those clothes will be needed, but probably not for a few days/weeks until folk get back home.

If anyone feels like donating money here is a link to the Premier's Flood appeal: http://www.qld.gov.au/floods/donate.html

We are considering having a fundraising music festival at our place sometime in the next few months. If there are any Australian MeFites who would like to perform or help organise the event, please drop me a me-mail.
posted by Kerasia at 2:53 PM on January 11, 2011


Cripes. This is getting pretty crazy. I keep seeing all these videos of people trying to cross flooded roads, and standing alongside raging river torrents with their phones. Please stay safe you guys.
posted by PareidoliaticBoy at 3:02 PM on January 11, 2011


I keep seeing all these videos of people trying to cross flooded roads, and standing alongside raging river torrents with their phones.

Yeah, unless you're on one side of a river, and your kid is on the other, I have little sympathy for people trying to cross flowing rivers by either foot or vehicle. I saw a clip last night of someone trying to drive a Falcon sedan across a river, which then stalled in the middle and they had to be rescued. That displayed complete ignorance of both fluid dynamics, and the operation of petrol engines.
posted by Jimbob at 3:51 PM on January 11, 2011


The national morning news on channel 9 has, naturally, being the ambulance chasers they are, upped stumps from Sydney and has been broadcasting live from Brisbane.

A reporter and a guest were looking at the river and noticed people in their moored boats. They embarked on a long discussion about how they hope they get off and they they want them to start getting off soon and how they really hoped all the people on the boats planned on getting off and about another half dozen get off references.
posted by uncanny hengeman at 3:55 PM on January 11, 2011


Previous livestream of the river has gone down, as the person was evac'd. New livestream of the river http://www.livestream.com/brisbanefloods (again, not mine!).
posted by coriolisdave at 4:09 PM on January 11, 2011


So, my house at Auchenflower is probably going underwater today or tomorrow. I'm at my parents' house in West Chermside, on top of a hill, and I got just about all my stuff out and to reasonably high ground. Until I got home at around 2pm yesterday, I figured we'd be mostly OK, but the water was already halfway up the back stairs by then, so it was pretty obvious that we had to get out.

Our current concern is that my grandmother's unit in Taringa is somewhat in danger and we can't really get to her.
posted by plant at 4:37 PM on January 11, 2011


Plant, it should be possible to get there -- at least, as far as Moggil Rd anyway. Take back routes through Toowong/Bardon etc, top of the ridge basically.

PM me for more info.
posted by coriolisdave at 4:52 PM on January 11, 2011


I'm from Brisbane and although I'm far away, all my family and most of my friends are there. Have been glued to Twitter and streaming ABC612 for the last 24 hours as it unfolds.

Amazing pics under the #qldfloods tag on Twitter - like this one of Suncorp Stadium filling up with water.

And some heartwrenching coverage bylocal media at the Toowoomba Chronicle and Queensland Times also.
posted by t0astie at 5:05 PM on January 11, 2011


Google flood map.
posted by Jimbob at 5:26 PM on January 11, 2011


Wow. If you zoom into Brisbane and then click on "predicted flood areas" on Jimbob's map it's pretty apocalyptic. On the other hand, it shows South Brisbane, West End, the CBD, and other flooded areas as free of floods, so maybe it isn't to be relied upon.

Plant, you should seriously think about getting her out now. The river's rising steadily all along that riverside western suburbs area. You can probably still get in now but parts of Toowong and Auchenflower are already closed off.
posted by GeckoDundee at 5:49 PM on January 11, 2011


Peter Martin has linked to the westpac analysis of the economic damage of the floods. More interesting than just some dull numbers, BTW.
posted by wilful at 5:55 PM on January 11, 2011


That webcam link of coriolisdave's is fantastic.

The river speed has picked up a lot in the last 30 minutes, the level not at all as far as I can tell.

The live chat next to it is hilarious. There's a guy on a bicycle doing tricks they've dubbed wheelie man. Plenty of pedestrian action.
posted by uncanny hengeman at 6:00 PM on January 11, 2011


On the other hand, it shows South Brisbane, West End, the CBD, and other flooded areas as free of floods, so maybe it isn't to be relied upon.

Yeah, I'm wondering if it's based on simply raising the sea level to X meters, rather than doing a proper hydrological model. I know the BOM / emergency services / city council are doing serious hydrological models, and it would be nice if they showed the public the results.
posted by Jimbob at 6:12 PM on January 11, 2011


Ahh reading further, their predicted flood areas are from the Brisbane City Council.
posted by Jimbob at 6:17 PM on January 11, 2011


wilful:
Peter Martin has linked to the westpac analysis of the economic damage of the floods. More interesting than just some dull numbers, BTW.


That's some amazing stuff. It's just astonishing to try and see the scope of things. And remember Brisbane City Council in't putting out stuff for other councils, like Redlands or Moreton. Moreton evac'd Caboolture yesterday but my siblings up there reckon it's all reasonably under control.

In other, happier, news - a baby was born in Ipswich during the flood. He and mum are doing fine, he's just a wee bit early.
posted by geek anachronism at 6:34 PM on January 11, 2011


Amazing pics at Brisbane Times of the CBD and Ipswich.

News has more including a round up of images from '74.

The scale is staggering already - and it's nowhere near peaking.
posted by t0astie at 6:38 PM on January 11, 2011


The livechat next to that livestream are fantastic:
"All those houses would have been fine if they'd painted them with DULUX WEATHERSHIELD."

"I'm a sparky living in WA but from Brizzy, is there any way I can help out?"
"Yep, make sarcastic comments here."

"Here we see a rare Queensland flood. It's quite beautiful but can be dangerous if disturbed."
It seems a bit inappropriate, but this is exactly the attitude I've observed in Australians and New Zealanders in disaster situations (although never anything of this magnitude). I've got family and friends over there, some of whom have been evacuated. My friend left his family farm out of Brisbane mostly out of water and he just sent an email to the family which consisted mostly of jokes. It might be universal to respond to disaster anxiety in this way? I dunno, but it comforts me.

Anyway, some links from there:
QLD water levels.
Police scanners

CNN - "Inland tsunami..." - some amazing footage
posted by doublehappy at 6:49 PM on January 11, 2011 [1 favorite]


Doesn't match up with the BCC flood maps though, unless the BCC have radically revised their predictions. Mind you, those maps seem to be simply the '74 flood overlayed on current maps, 'cos areas near me that've had creeks diverted and filled over since then still show as flood-prone.

Ipswich flood maps are back up now (were down last night) here - choose the flood map, and zoom in to your area (it doesn't show the flood map at large scales). They seem to largely match up with Jimbob's link.

"Here we see a rare Queensland flood. It's quite beautiful but can be dangerous if disturbed."

Now that's funny ;-)
posted by Pinback at 6:56 PM on January 11, 2011


Apparently my wife's brother has left his place in Fairfield, it's a high set house and he's hoping it will stay below the main level, the water was at the edge of his block and rising yesterday afternoon, his business is in Milton, and that is also looking like it will go under as well.

We just had my wife's Aunt and Uncle show up at our door asking if they can sleep here, apparently their water was at the their front steps in '74, so they are hopeful, but they needed to get out before access to their place got cut. They couldn't ring ahead due to congestion on the mobile networks.
posted by markr at 7:01 PM on January 11, 2011


Here is a picture of a frog riding on a snake.
posted by wilful at 7:04 PM on January 11, 2011 [2 favorites]


Some more flood modelling.
posted by GeckoDundee at 7:16 PM on January 11, 2011


wilful writes "70: the number of millimeters of rain an hour that storms continue to dump in some areas of the Darling Downs (via The Courier Mail)."

That is a smeg load of rain.
posted by Mitheral at 7:24 PM on January 11, 2011


I'm on my way to Sydney for a week. Hopefully by the time i'm back the worst is over.

Writers: an anthology of stories is being compiled to raise funds for Queensland. Any genre any author worldwide.
posted by divabat at 7:36 PM on January 11, 2011


doublehappy: I've been told off for cracking jokes about the flood. Mostly by people not in the floods. Come on, I narrowly escaped having to be rescued by boat, let me let off some steam.
posted by divabat at 7:47 PM on January 11, 2011 [1 favorite]


I just made a drag and drop map of the flooded areas that you can drag around a world map to compare sizes.
posted by gomichild at 8:03 PM on January 11, 2011 [7 favorites]


bah, Greenland swallows it up!
posted by wilful at 8:21 PM on January 11, 2011 [1 favorite]


"I'm a sparky living in WA but from Brizzy, is there any way I can help out?"

Heh, I also caught that one.

"Rewire my house" was another answer. Lots of gallows humour there. Pecious Petes beware when clicking.
posted by uncanny hengeman at 8:39 PM on January 11, 2011


"Precious" sorry.

Speaking of frog on a snake. Lady interviewed last night. Said SNAKES WERE TRYING TO GET IN HER HOUSE!!!! Pure Australia.
posted by uncanny hengeman at 8:42 PM on January 11, 2011


Here is a picture of a frog riding on a snake.

The scorpion had already left.
posted by pompomtom at 8:54 PM on January 11, 2011


I just made a drag and drop map of the flooded areas that you can drag around a world map to compare sizes.
posted by gomichild

bah, Greenland swallows it up!
posted by wilful


Might want to use something other than the Mercator projection. Greenland is actually only 17% bigger than Queensland.
posted by rory at 9:18 PM on January 11, 2011


Most of the info maps are based on google maps so I followed suit. Nobody has exact numbers yet - even this version is out of date as the day progresses.
posted by gomichild at 9:30 PM on January 11, 2011


"Iconic Brisbane restaurant Drift Cafe - formerly Oxley's on the River - has been claimed by the surging Brisbane River."
Driftwood Cafe
posted by uncanny hengeman at 9:46 PM on January 11, 2011


My husband wants to go to linux.conf.au too and the kids and I were going to tag along (I hear they don't have earthquakes and aftershocks there). I see they aren't making any decisions until the flooding's expected peak sometime tomorrow.

Is there anyone here from up around Caloundra? How is it there?
posted by tracicle at 11:44 PM on January 11, 2011


A bull shark has been spotted in a flooded street in Goodna, between Ipswich and Brisbane #qldfloods

Holy crap!
posted by codacorolla at 11:45 PM on January 11, 2011 [1 favorite]


Pfft, that's nothing. It's the bull sharks that haven't been spotted that you gotta worry about, mate.
posted by Jimbob at 11:51 PM on January 11, 2011 [3 favorites]


o hai just been on a road trip thru the riverina, melbs, gippsland et al. no floods there to be seen. so queensland is fucked, i take it? haven't seen much news lately.
posted by UbuRoivas at 12:52 AM on January 12, 2011


Queensland has always been fucked. Now it's underwater too.
posted by Jimbob at 1:05 AM on January 12, 2011 [1 favorite]


Queensland: fucked one day, inundated the next.

Just so's long this screws up their State of Origin preparations, it's all good.
posted by UbuRoivas at 1:26 AM on January 12, 2011


Now now, Jimbob.

I must say I am impressed with both Qld Premier Anna Bligh (yes, a descendent of that Bligh) and Brisbane Lord Mayor Cambell Newman. Both have been calm, compassionate, truthful and extremely hard working through this crisis. They look very tired and distressed but are responding like the leaders they are. They have unenviable jobs and I respect both of them for their very difficult tasks at this time. Not that I voted for either when I lived in Qld, but after this event I think I would.
posted by Kerasia at 1:33 AM on January 12, 2011 [2 favorites]


I was reading the local (Adelaide) paper today, and the article about the Queensland floods talked about Steven and Sandra Matthews.

They were all indoors, but the floodwater swept in so fast, that by the time the 20 year old son had punched a hole in the ceiling, and helped his 15 year old sister up into it... their parents had been swept away to their deaths. (!)
posted by with the singing green stars as our guide at 1:42 AM on January 12, 2011


shit. just catching up with the news - this flood seems to be worse than the ashes debacle!
posted by UbuRoivas at 1:55 AM on January 12, 2011


That story about Steven and Sandra Matthews haunted me, too. They helped their children into the ceiling cavity first through the access manhole, but were swept away before the son could help them up.

More stories like this are emerging. That local coverage linked by t0astie above has some. Grantham death toll could hit 30:

A distraught Grantham local says he thought bodies being thrown about in turbulent floodwaters were trying to swim, until he realised they were dead.

"You saw arms, hands, grey hair, and that was it, by the time you knelt down you realise they're not swimming, they are already gone," Martin Warburton told the Seven network. "I can't describe it, I just can't describe it."

The married father of a young son spent 12 terrifying hours on a roof awaiting rescue on Tuesday night....

"At first I thought I was alright. Then you started seeing houses get ripped off their stumps and washed down the road ... Then they were slamming into the side of the building and the building was starting to shake."

posted by rory at 2:24 AM on January 12, 2011


The bridge was this morning cluttered with tree trunks hurled effortlessly into the bridge, Helidon resident Sue Moss told The Australian she had been watching the debris, counting the refrigerators she found strewn along the bridge.

"I keep counting them because I think, for each of these fridges, there’s got to be a house that was washed away," Ms Moss said.

posted by rory at 2:27 AM on January 12, 2011 [1 favorite]


I spoke to my sister, who lives in Brisbane. last night. The suburb she's in is on high ground, but her former house (near a creek) is flooded, and her workplace (in West End) was evacuated. She says that there was panic in the supermarket as people scrambled to stock up on supplies.
posted by acb at 2:41 AM on January 12, 2011


Mr Schultz said a friend who still lived in [Grantham] recounted the horrific moment when they met in Gatton. "I met him on the street just after he got out by a helicopter," said Mr Schultz, 68. "He said this home just floated past his house with people yelling out for help. But no one could help them. The house just floated past."
posted by rory at 2:43 AM on January 12, 2011


I'm a bit late to this thread but if anyone is stuck where they might get water it's a good idea to put a hatchet or axe in the attic in case you need to escape the attic through the roof.
posted by vapidave at 3:26 AM on January 12, 2011


The ABC has some aerial video of Brisbane up on youtube.
posted by markr at 4:20 AM on January 12, 2011


I went for a walk (getting stir crazy in here) and took some pictures. The results are here.
posted by Jilder at 5:55 AM on January 12, 2011 [1 favorite]


Thoughts and prayers to all the Queensland MeFites!
posted by magstheaxe at 6:24 AM on January 12, 2011


That bull shark thing is terrifying. As if floods weren't bad enough!
posted by Brainy at 7:11 AM on January 12, 2011


Wally Lews is all set.
posted by ocha-no-mizu at 7:36 AM on January 12, 2011 [3 favorites]


tracicle said My husband wants to go to linux.conf.au too and the kids and I were going to tag along (I hear they don't have earthquakes and aftershocks there). I see they aren't making any decisions until the flooding's expected peak sometime tomorrow. [...]

This is a sunny thing to read:
@linuxconfau: #lca2011 is still on! This is when community really shines! If there are some changes, we'll publicise them widely. linux.conf.au is GO!

And from their announce mailing list:
[lca-announce] LCA Flood News: [...] I imagine things will remain shut down until the floods pass and electricity is restored. This should happen over the weekend. So by Monday it should be clear what effects, if any, the flood will have on the conference.
posted by bleary at 8:07 AM on January 12, 2011


Wally Lews is all set.

He's got his boogie board & all.
posted by UbuRoivas at 9:24 AM on January 12, 2011


If anyone is in Sydney, Evapor-Aid is a fund-raising comedy night at the Roxbury Hotel in Glebe, Sunday January 16th. All money raised to go to the Premier's Flood Relief Appeal.
posted by robotot at 11:48 AM on January 12, 2011 [3 favorites]


Good luck to you all in and around Brisbane. I am sending my best disaster recovery thoughts to you all. Please keep us posted here in the Blue.
posted by zerobyproxy at 12:22 PM on January 12, 2011


Whelp, we lost power about 6:30 last night, radio reckoned power could be out for 3 days. Started making plans to de-camp to my inlaws, but as the baby was already in bed we decided to stay until morning. Just before 10pm, power came back on!

So we're staying put.

News this morning reporting that the river has peaked, and 1m lower than predicted (to about 4.5m). Good news.
posted by coriolisdave at 12:42 PM on January 12, 2011


coriolisdave: Whelp, we lost power about 6:30 last night, radio reckoned power could be out for 3 days. Started making plans to de-camp to my inlaws, but as the baby was already in bed we decided to stay until morning. Just before 10pm, power came back on!

I think we're in the same suburb. Except we put the kiddo down to sleep to wait for my sister - she'd done 11 hours on the phones so I figured we should at least wait for her before heading off. Then we got lazy and stayed since it was just electricity (and then it came on just after we went to bed). She's in the emergency evac call centre and she's bracing for a bad day today. They were looking at evacuating the emergency call centre yesterday but have stayed put. Major roads are cut and down all over the place - when she called for a cab to get in this morning the cabbie was like "...you realise it's flooded, right?" - a correlary to a friend calling about his Foxtel being down who got told "we have no reports of flooding in Queensland".

I still can't get to work, and I need to check in with my boss because last check in she'd caught about three hours sleep between assisting evacuations. And that'll have only gotten worse. The train line out there is down and I know the station is under.

I have to say, I am loving my pollies right now. From Pisale's "we'll use looters as flood markers" to KRudd's "...it's not satisfying to help, it's the right thing to do".
posted by geek anachronism at 1:17 PM on January 12, 2011


On a less shit note, the floods might just save the season for the Wellington Phoenix whose match against the high flying Brisbane Roar at SunCorp this weekend but who will now have a week off and a much easier fixture.
posted by doublehappy at 1:30 PM on January 12, 2011


They should have kept the match on and played it as water polo as a fund raiser.
posted by markr at 1:35 PM on January 12, 2011 [2 favorites]


It's looking like the people in my wife's family who have had their houses threatened should both be okay, although neither can get to their property without a boat. One the water probably didn't quite reach, and the other it would have got in downstairs, but it's a raised queenslander and the living areas are upstairs. Good news. It really is lucky that the rain stopped yesterday and has stayed away, things are bad for many, but it could have been much worse.
posted by markr at 1:38 PM on January 12, 2011


There was panic buying across Brisbane earlier in the week, but that seems to be calming down now that the flood peak has come and gone. That said, the city is still suffering enormous problems with public transport, mobile services and blocked roads. I dealt with the deluge by going to a mate's house, deconstructing the disaster and drinking a lot of beer. If you are a Queenslander, you'll realise this isn't out of the ordinary in such situations.
posted by Bubbles Devere at 4:46 PM on January 12, 2011


I bet the slabs of XXXX were the first to go in the panic buying.
posted by UbuRoivas at 5:05 PM on January 12, 2011


I bet the slabs of XXXX were the first to go in the panic buying.

If natural disasters in Brisbane are anything like they were in Darwin...yep...I bet they were.
posted by Jimbob at 6:00 PM on January 12, 2011


Possibly not, at least not in Brisbane. Given one of the worst-affected areas is Rosalie, the yuppiest of yuppy-villes, it was probably the cartons of James Squire, then the Coopers. Then the other dross ;)
posted by coriolisdave at 6:06 PM on January 12, 2011


So Queensland yuppies drink brews that are regular tap beers down south? They mustn't have any Blanche de Chambly or Le Fin du Monde. Shame that, the latter would be decadently appropriate.
posted by UbuRoivas at 6:54 PM on January 12, 2011


did they sink the Moggil ferry? I used to take that to work, and have fond memories. Once the driver dropped the bows before the ferry hit the bank and a huge wash of river swept onto the deck - including one of these things
posted by the noob at 6:57 PM on January 12, 2011


So I'm here in Sydney (meetup??). My heart wants to be back in Brisbane helping, but my head really needs a break and besides I'm not much use to anybody right now while the water's still up. I saw footage of my apartment on ABC24 - there goes my garage. We rescued some things but not all, putting other stuff on higher stools, but I think my books/art supplies/media are done for. Yeah it's just things, but that video was the last straw and actually got me crying. Such a visceral reminder. I dread to see how our downstairs neighbours are gonna deal with when I return (will my area still be waterlogged then?).

I just got chewed out on Facebook by someone who got mortally offended because I asked about getting a backup of my Up with People tour DVD from my crewmates, all situated around the world. "People are dying! You're just causing drama!" Save the energy for getting donations, then. As much as I like to see the immense community spirit, sadly people's true colours are showing, and some of them are uglier than the damn river.

Thank you so much to everyone who's written to me, I really appreciate you reaching out.
posted by divabat at 7:06 PM on January 12, 2011


The comedy night in Glebe this Sunday linked by robotot above might be good for a meetup...?
posted by UbuRoivas at 7:13 PM on January 12, 2011


They've added an extra anchor to the Moggil Ferry. It should be safe for a while. The Island - the old Murrarie ferry that's been converted into a "party boat" is also safe for the moment. Though if they do decide to scuttle it, it'll happen live on the webcam link coriolisdave posted.

BTW, the bottleshop at Rosalie was the first to go under. Canadian abbey beers are probably only available from Dan Murphy's now. Though 1km straight up the hill to, em, Red Hill at the other end of Paddo and they'll still be able to get plenty of DIPAs from the good old USA.

Sorry to hear you lost your stuff, divabat.
posted by GeckoDundee at 7:14 PM on January 12, 2011


Oh, and Brisbane's favourite computer parts store is not looking good.
posted by GeckoDundee at 7:31 PM on January 12, 2011 [1 favorite]


that's too bad--i hear water damage invalidates most warranties.
posted by lester at 8:08 PM on January 12, 2011


Though if they do decide to scuttle it, it'll happen live on the webcam link coriolisdave posted.

Gah, I forgot the webcam was still running, I would have waved when a co-worker and I walked down to take part in the great Australian sport of rubber-necking.
posted by markr at 8:08 PM on January 12, 2011


So I'm here in Sydney (meetup??)
Let's organise it: IRL.
posted by Fiasco da Gama at 8:11 PM on January 12, 2011


How Much Water in Queensland?
A little interactive map to help compare the flood affected areas of Queensland, Australia to other countries of the world. via MeFi Projects.
posted by Burhanistan at 8:16 PM on January 12, 2011 [1 favorite]


We lost power for three hours last night, and given it was pretty much exactly three hours I'm guessing it's load shedding. Water's fine, internet is go. It's surreal, because the only thing I have to tell me we're in a disaster area is the constant stream of helicopters to the hospital over the road. And it's fairly constant. We get a few minutes break, and then it starts again. I comfort myself by thinking that people with ailments that would usually get an ambulance are being airlifted now, but it's a fairly grim reminder.

The boozer is basically the only thing open at my shops. They are out of beer.

I have started to hear from friends returning from evac who have lost everything. Most are optimistic, but given many are artists of one stripe or another all I can think about it their work, washed away. You can get a new fridge. Other things are unique, and are gone.

I am heartened by how many photos I keep seeing that feature a few dudes in a canoe. Do they come standard with some homes or something?
posted by Jilder at 8:38 PM on January 12, 2011 [1 favorite]


I hate to ask this, but are there any regular Qld Mefites we haven't heard from? (When I click on known Qld profiles to check users nearby, Firefox has a heart attack.)
posted by malibustacey9999 at 8:54 PM on January 12, 2011


They are out of beer.

jesus christ, Jilder, are you OK?

Though if it's XXXX, I think the river might taste better.
posted by wilful at 9:22 PM on January 12, 2011


Nah, the river water would dilute the horses' piss too much.
posted by UbuRoivas at 9:52 PM on January 12, 2011


We haven't heard from Effigy2000 in a few days. His profile puts him underwater too. Hopefully he's fine.

TD pushed the big red button a while back so we wouldn't expect to hear from him.

You bloviating Mexicans are making me thirsty and all I've got in the fridge is Little Creatures. It's a shame they changed the XXXX recipe a while back, but I think I might just have to nip out and get a carton anyway. (Slabs are what's left when your house floats away.)
posted by GeckoDundee at 10:12 PM on January 12, 2011


Here's my house as it was at 6am. I've lost a busted fridge (a photo on facebook shows it floating away somewhere), a washing machine and some assorted furniture I wasn't using anyway. Centrelink is going to give me a thousand bucks to buy some new shoes and possibly some alcohol. All elderly relatives are safe and dry.
posted by plant at 10:32 PM on January 12, 2011


A carton? What do you call 10 packs of cigarettes then? Or do people just go to the bottlo & ask for "two cartons, mate" and the guy just gives them one of XXXX & one of Winnie Blues Reds?

And yeah, hope Effigy2000's alright & that Turgid Dahlia is keeping his sack above water.

On preview: that's a beautiful photo of plant's house; shame about the destruction.
posted by UbuRoivas at 10:41 PM on January 12, 2011


Glad to hear your rellies are ok, plant. Bummer about your house, though that's a great photo.

Jimbob: Is there any truth to the theory (put forward by some old mates of mine in Adelaide), that the retention of water in dams in northern NSW and Queensland earlier in the year for irrigation, rather than sending it down the river, contributed to the flooding we're seeing now?

I just saw this which says the LNP's water spokesperson called for just that but was over-ruled by power crazy bureaucrats.

On preview; you didn't have to add the redundant "heavy" to "XXXX", so why the equally redundant "Reds"? It is 1974 after all. (Though having given away the durries, I still can't bring myself to drink Gold).

I imagine Turgid Dahlia's sack keeping him above water, much in the style of Buster Gonad from Viz.
posted by GeckoDundee at 10:51 PM on January 12, 2011


was over-ruled by power crazy bureaucrats.

No, it had to be greenies. It's always the greens at fault whenever there's a natural disaster. They probably didn't want to disturb the fragile habitat of the Ross River mosquito or something.
posted by UbuRoivas at 10:57 PM on January 12, 2011 [1 favorite]


I'm always leery of suggestions that stopping water flowing causes flooding. How does that work, anyway? All the water in one spot makes it look like a party, so all its mates show up? Anyone fancy explaining to me the theory behind that?
posted by Jilder at 11:10 PM on January 12, 2011 [2 favorites]


UbuRoivas: No, it had to be greenies. It's always the greens at fault whenever there's a natural disaster. They probably didn't want to disturb the fragile habitat of the Ross River mosquito or something.

It certainly wasn't something that needed "hydrological, flooding, engineering and geotechnical" considerations. I'm entirely sure a politican with no qualifications in any of those areas knows a lot more than the people who wrote the report that stated "a reduction of flood storage capacity had the potential to significantly increase flood risks for downstream areas.".

Because Brisbane and Ipswich are downstream, we're TOTALLY behind anything that increases our flood risk. You should try floods! They're grrrrrrreat!

In other news, people have started complaining about noise from the army choppers assisting the SES. I assume they're the same people who complained about Brisbane City Council calling workers in to staff emergency call centres and door knock affected areas. And also complain that their bins have not been collected. In other words, short-sighted hypocritical fools.
posted by geek anachronism at 11:11 PM on January 12, 2011 [1 favorite]


In the case of the dam, stopping water flowing causes flooding because it makes flood mitigation less effective. Dams like Wivenhoe try to do three things at once. They hold water to dole out for drinking (etc). They generate electricity from water they release. But they also serve as a place to hold onto sudden inundations like the one we are currently seeing. The 220% capacity wasn't the result of the engineers who made it giving 110% effort. It's because 100% is the level for mains water and the other capacity is its flood mitigation storage.

If the dam had been allowed to reach say 180% (i.e. if that had been deemed the new 100% level) there would have been a far reduced capacity to hold onto in the last few days. All that extra water would therefore have been released at once, bringing the levels of the Brisbane River up to a height well beyond what it's currently at.
posted by GeckoDundee at 11:16 PM on January 12, 2011 [2 favorites]


Ubu is a notorious greenie himself. Unfortunately he was bitten by a mossie carrying some form of encephalopathy. The resulting swelling of his brain's sarcasm centre was, alas, incurable.
posted by GeckoDundee at 11:19 PM on January 12, 2011 [1 favorite]


I'm fine and my place is fine, but I haven't heard from h00py. Her Facebook hasn't been updated except by a friend who indicates that she heard from h00py, and that she was well, so I suspect she's in one of the homes without power/connectivity.

And as for the helicopters, sheesh what's up with people? I stayed across the road from Limestone Park, and counted 7 helicopters in 10 minutes, all of which seem to navigate by my house (I will have to climb up there one day and find out why the F1-11s and hueys like it so much) and every time I heard it, I was grateful to know that someone was up there, finding or getting to people who needed.
posted by b33j at 11:43 PM on January 12, 2011


Just saw this video footage of some of underwater Brisbane...
posted by with the singing green stars as our guide at 11:54 PM on January 12, 2011 [3 favorites]


I'm not very intelligent when it comes to geography and floods and charts and reading comprehension, but does this suggest that Toowoomba was in drought in December? And does THIS suggest that much of the South of Queensland was in drought a year ago? (Albeit much of that area is on the other side of the hills, but still)

It's pretty tough to blame the people that favoured storing water for irrigation and drinking and power (although someone has already suggested that they weren't out of order in doing so anyway).
posted by doublehappy at 12:30 AM on January 13, 2011


doublehappy: I'm not very intelligent when it comes to geography and floods and charts and reading comprehension, but does this suggest that Toowoomba was in drought in December? And does THIS suggest that much of the South of Queensland was in drought a year ago? (Albeit much of that area is on the other side of the hills, but still)

Yep. Toowoomba's main dam got down to 7% or something insane like that. I don't know how bad the drought was in December but most of the affected areas we've gotten a month's worth of rain in a couple of days. Or one day.

GeckoDundee: Ubu is a notorious greenie himself. Unfortunately he was bitten by a mossie carrying some form of encephalopathy. The resulting swelling of his brain's sarcasm centre was, alas, incurable.

I feel like I've missed something. Somewhere. Possibly due to recent family members declaring said percentages for drinking and percentages for flood mitigation 'suspicious'. They're also the ones who are so anti-greenie they are pro-whaling.

posted by geek anachronism at 1:19 AM on January 13, 2011


This new strain of encephalopathy has clarified my thinking so amazingly, that I'm planning to name it after my one of my journalistic heroes: either E.Sheridanus or E.Divinii.
posted by UbuRoivas at 1:34 AM on January 13, 2011


So apparently my migration agent's office is most likely underwater (in Milton). I have a Permanent Residency application that's been waiting to be processed since May 2009. DIAC won't talk to me about it, only my agent (and they haven't told her anything). Hopefully this time they'll actually talk to me about my app - being on a bridging visa SUCKS. (No Centrelink, no one will hire you, no grants, no financial assistance, etc etc)

If they decide to be stupidly bureaucratic or fuck up my app because of some stupid technicality I will be FUCKIN' PISSED.

(also I am too scared to go back on Tuesday and see the damage. My flat may be OK but I'm not sure about the building and the downstairs neighbours...)
posted by divabat at 1:46 AM on January 13, 2011


Well at least Wally Lewis is prepared in case of further flooding.
posted by harriet vane at 2:24 AM on January 13, 2011


pssst...
posted by UbuRoivas at 2:41 AM on January 13, 2011


This map is eye-opening.
posted by coriolisdave at 3:12 AM on January 13, 2011 [1 favorite]


I know the first State of Origin isn't until May, but that's only 16-ish weeks away. Will Suncorp Stadium be usable by then, considering that it's currently underwater? I know they can re-turf the surface, but surely the underlying dampness can't be good. Isn't that why Toowoomba was so devastated, because the ground was already so wet that the rain ran off instead of soaking in?
posted by malibustacey9999 at 3:45 AM on January 13, 2011


The number of people killed by flooding and mudslides in south-east Brazil has reached 335, local officials have said.

In the mountain towns of Nova Friburgo, Teresopolis and Petropolis, the death tolls are reported at 155, 146 and 34 respectively, Brazilian media reported.


We're doing okay.
posted by Jilder at 3:50 AM on January 13, 2011 [1 favorite]


Yeah, they have to drink that awful Brahva beer.
posted by UbuRoivas at 4:09 AM on January 13, 2011 [1 favorite]


Doh! I've become one of *those* people, linking things already lunked.
posted by harriet vane at 5:02 AM on January 13, 2011


Artworks moved as flood level rises. It seems that the museums and state library planned ahead.
posted by gudrun at 8:59 AM on January 13, 2011


Hi all

Yes, I'm OK, and thanks for the well wishes. My last few days have been spent gasping in horror at what the news is showing us is happening to our city and helping in the coordination of the recovery effort (I work in Government).

I live in a part of town that's close to the CBD but very hilly so my house didn't get any flooding at all. I had friends who live in the West End though, and they're not so lucky. We had them over yesterday and they're holding up remarkably well. The thing they hate the most is that they have to live with the parents for a week or so until they can go home.

Can I just ask that anyone who has the ability to do so to please donate to the Premiers relief appeal, as mentioned by wilful up above? This disaster is above and beyond anything I've ever seen in my lifetime here in Brisbane and it's going to take a whole lot of money to fix this up and get everyone back on their feet.

Again, thanks for the well wishes. When all this is over and things start returning to normal and I have more time, I'll write a longer comment. In the meantime, I have to go to work. Take care everyone!
posted by Effigy2000 at 2:05 PM on January 13, 2011


As mentioned in the thread, my sister and father are holidaying in NZ from Brisbane, and had resigned themselves to loss, and were going to make the best of their time off.

My sister phoned last night - her house in Milton was in danger of being swamped - under the house was already under water, and the flood was lapping at the second top stair. her mother in law was desperately trying to move what ever she could out of the house when the neighbours turned up. These people had already lost their houses, and one had lost a business too - not insured for flood, all his equipment ruined, all pitched in and moved my sister's (and family's) entire possessions to the mother in law's house.

My sister was telling me the only thing she was really worried about (apart from the family photo albums) was her (our) old piano which has been in the family since grandma was a girl. The neighbours moved that too.

Thank you, thank you, thank you people who ever you are. You are utterly amazing. I have no words and don't know how you can possibly be thanked enough.
posted by the noob at 2:09 PM on January 13, 2011 [1 favorite]


We are OK now here in Northern NSW - the river is still flooding across one access but the other is OK. At least I can get my Champion Ruby fix and all the neighbours dogs are being fed.

Unfortunately we have lost a month of business because our pre-booked guests in our accommodation have cancelled. This means we cannot donate cash to the Appeal.

However, we have worked out two ways to help.

1. A fundraising music festival weekend. I have put a post on Music Metafilter calling for metafilter musicians and performers to donate their services to a music festival weekend to be held at our place. Details here.

2. A free holiday. If anyone knows of a family who have lost everything (eg: from Grantham etc) we would like to offer them accommodation for a few days to a week in one of our fun and very kid-friendly accommodation venues. If you know of a family who need a break from the disaster please send me a me-mail with details.

Oh, and if people keep doing the generous altruistic things that I am reading about in the news there may just be another flood due to the happy-to-be-human tears that keep filling my eyes. The pulling together has been incredible.
posted by Kerasia at 3:28 PM on January 13, 2011


sorry to make this all about me!! But I just got off the phone with DIAC. Turns out I don't even need to go through the agent in the first place to find out about my app. (Gwargh whoever told me this the first time!) Nothing positive tho, turns out my app's last priority and the set before me will only be done in 18-24 months. @_@

thank you to those of you organising a meetup on my behalf, you are awesome!
posted by divabat at 4:12 PM on January 13, 2011


Latest beer news: XXX is safe, unfortunately
posted by Trivia Newton John at 5:20 PM on January 13, 2011


WTF?
* Many Queenslanders had found their policies did not cover them for flood, she said.

* Queensland Premier Anna Bligh this morning warned insurers that it was not in their interest to play hardball on claims.

* "If people do not purchase flood cover insurance, they will not be covered," an ICA spokesman said.

* Insurance company Allianz said that flood victims who did not have flood insurance should not expect ex-gratia payments.

* Opposition leader Tony Abbott and Queensland Treasurer Andrew Fraser have also backed calls for insurance companies to cut people some slack.
posted by uncanny hengeman at 5:23 PM on January 13, 2011


good news though, it lost an X in the floods.
posted by wilful at 5:24 PM on January 13, 2011


well seriously, you're not going to call an insurance company and say "hi, you know how I don't have any flood insurance cover, well could I get some free money anyway? What, no??? You bastards!!"
posted by wilful at 5:26 PM on January 13, 2011


One of the extreme oddities of Australian disasters is that if you are going to lose your worldly goods ina natural disaster, better make it a big one. Lose your house in a small fire that doesn't kill anyone, that's tough, you should have paid your insurance. Lose it in a really big one, well here's $100 000 to help you rebuild.

That obviously makes no sense whatsoever.
posted by wilful at 5:40 PM on January 13, 2011


Excellent blog post evaluating the flood in terms of resilient infrastructure
posted by mhjb at 5:43 PM on January 13, 2011


I know you're having a go at the hypocrisy of the Australian press there, wilful, and fair enough, but there's a reasonable role for levels of Government to compensate people for losses incurred regardless of their insurance status, especially since levies from insurance companies underwrite State and Federal disaster response planning.
posted by Fiasco da Gama at 6:02 PM on January 13, 2011


Lose your house in a small fire that doesn't kill anyone, that's tough, you should have paid your insurance. Lose it in a really big one, well here's $100 000 to help you rebuild.

By the exact same logic, your next of kin will be much better off if you're killed along with a bunch of other people - say, if your mine caves in or a plane flies into your office building - than if you're killed alone in a more regular accident, or by a lone guy in the street.

It's the culture of the spectacle. People still have plenty of compassion for victims, but it's only activated if the event is spectacular enough to splatter all the front pages.
posted by UbuRoivas at 6:15 PM on January 13, 2011


wilful, I'd imagine it more a case of:

[POLICY OWNER] Can I have my free money now?

[INSURANCE COMPANY] No. Your policy doesn't cover it.

[POLICY OWNER] WTF? I bought home and contents insurance. I've bought it every year from you for 25 years. I've made one claim for a break and enter 12 years ago.

[INSURANCE COMPANY] But you're covered for storm water floods only. Not river floods. No free money for you.

[POLICY OWNER] But that's not FAIR!!!!!

Interesting to see the politicians and Government do some heavy duty lobbying, rather than in reverse.

Slightly changing subject now... it always concerned me when "mutual funds" such as insurance companies started to list on sharemarkets. It was all the rage here 20 years ago.

I've studied plenty of compulsory Corporate Law / Ethics units in my travels, but forgotten most of it. But I'm wondering, are our senior politicians asking insurance company directors to break the law?

Coz once you list on the sharemarket there's this "duty to shareholders" thang that I keep hearing about from Directors. And our politicians are basically asking insurance companies to give away money. I just can't remember if the "duty to shareholders" is law... or just a really good guideline that's found in the footnotes... or it's something even murkier still.
posted by uncanny hengeman at 6:53 PM on January 13, 2011


Well the details of flood versus stormwater insurance are murky to me, yeah that sort of case would be on the wrong side of my ethics.

Fiasco, my point is, disaster assistance doesn't kick in on small disasters, no matter how personally devastating. It's wrong, it makes no sense.
posted by wilful at 7:37 PM on January 13, 2011


It makes perfect sense, wilful.

Natural disasters impair a community's ability to mutually assist—if one person's house burns down, they can go and sleep at a relative or friend's place until they sort themselves out. It's when everybody's house burns down or floods that the community requires assistance ie. special payments for recovery.
posted by Fiasco da Gama at 8:19 PM on January 13, 2011 [1 favorite]


So society assumes that if 50 houses burn down in a smallish fire, they've all got relatives and friends able to give them money to help them rebuild, but if that becomes (say) 500 houses, well the pool of relatives and friends is exhausted? It aint right.
posted by wilful at 8:33 PM on January 13, 2011


Just a personal update. We lost power at home (and have been offline!) for 50 hours, but are otherwise dry. The high got to about 50m from our front door, but we were still a few metres uphill from there. We had some friends stay but their house has made it through, and helped a lot of the neighbours with ice and other supply runs. City seems to be getting back on its feet.
posted by jjderooy at 8:45 PM on January 13, 2011


wilful - it's politically motivated, not ethically.

If one uninsured person gets a handout from the government, the talkback hosts & tabloid papers would be up in arms about welfare bludgers, because Joe Public hates nothing more than the idea that somebody else is getting a freebie that they're missing out on, no matter how needed, or even how insignificant.

However, if an entire community is affected (and even those not personally affected have friends & relatives who are), then they'll cry bloody murder & stage another Rum Rebellion against any government that doesn't show up like Santa Claus on ice, with handouts for all.
posted by UbuRoivas at 8:53 PM on January 13, 2011


Ubu, it's also a reflection of a real problem: people can (and should) insure against individually catastrophic events like being in a car accident or having your house burn down, but that there can't be insurance for very large events affecting very large numbers of people.

Who would pay the premium on "the CBD of Brisbane flooding"? Who would collect?
posted by Fiasco da Gama at 8:59 PM on January 13, 2011


I'd assume that the individual property owners would pay the premiums & collect on the loss or damage to their own individual property; the government's role would only be to repair the public infrastructure. Naturally, the government could insure this, but that would be a different matter to regular home & contents or business insurance.
posted by UbuRoivas at 9:12 PM on January 13, 2011


PS - just so as not to seem like I'm being too blase about other peoples' tragedy, the area I grew up in (and where I was minding my parents' house at the time) was the worst affected in the 1994 Eastern seaboard fires: 101 out of 225 homes destroyed were in my immediate neighbourhood. And the same issues of public disaster relief v private insurance were hot topics at the time, so it's not as if people can really claim ignorance, and even more so after what happened in Victoria the other year.

I remember people who had lost their homes complaining (eg in the letters to the editor of the SMH) that they had diligently paid their insurance for years, so what was the point of that, if the uninsured were able to rebuild their homes from public donations or government money?

aside: i caught an ember in the eye fighting the fires, until they were about 10m from the house & I had to flee & took a swim at Cronulla beach for want of anything better to do, and had to go to the eye hospital for treatment later. this involved an eyepatch that i swear had people crossing the street to avoid me, when they saw me approaching 100m away. argggh! those pirates sure knew how to strike fear into the hearts of all landlubbers!
posted by UbuRoivas at 9:32 PM on January 13, 2011


1994 Eastern seaboard fires link.
posted by UbuRoivas at 9:35 PM on January 13, 2011


It's not in any Government's interests to leave an entire region crippled, particularly when that region is resource rich (minerals, tourism, agriculture, whatever). Better to invest and repair now because everything will be more expensive later. Once the region regains its self sustainability it will pay that initial cost back, plus you've saved $x in welfare and relocation.

This logic doesn't really scale to a neighbourhood level.
posted by doublehappy at 10:19 PM on January 13, 2011


***BRISBANE CITY COUNCIL COMMUNITY SERVICE ANNOUCEMENT***
Time issued 6.50pm

Brisbane City Council will have a co-ordinated plan for volunteers to assist with the flood recovery clean up from tomorrow, Saturday 15 January.

6000 volunteers are estimated to roll up their sleeves over the weekend as they rally together to help others in their communities.

Volunteers can register from 7am tomorrow at four registration centres located at:
• Boondall Entertainment Centre, Melaleuca Drive, Boondall – follow signs to the main foyer
• Doomben Race Course, , Hampden St, Ascot, main entrance, gate 5
• Mount Coot-tha Botanic Gardens, auditorium, Mt Coot-tha Road
• MacGregor State High School Assembly Hall, Wadley Street, parking at Eight Mile Plains bus station or Upper Mt Gravatt park n ride

Volunteers can nominate to work for a half or full day. The first round of registration will be from 7-8:30am with the first shift commencing at 7:30 till 11.30am. The second registration period is 11am- 1pm with the shift finishing at 4pm.

Volunteers are requested to come prepared with their own rubber gloves, brooms, shovels, eye protection, hat, sunscreen, lunch, water, antiseptic wash and water resistant clothing, including gumboots or enclosed shoes. A fact sheet detailing items volunteers must bring with them is available at www.brisbane.qld.gov.au.

Once volunteers are registered, they will be transported to sites requiring cleaning up by Council bus to save on parking congestion.

All volunteers over the age of 14 are welcome but 14-17 year olds must be accompanied by a legal guardian.

All Volunteers MUST wear enclosed shoes and also bring photo identification such as a drivers licence, passport or student ID.

St Johns Ambulance will be in each region providing first aid.

The cleanup focus will be on removing spoiled material out of houses and clearing mud and debris.
posted by Jilder at 1:09 AM on January 14, 2011


I made a donation today and will make another after my next pay packet comes in. I've seen a lot of people taking collections of clothes, dunny rolls, etc but I thought that we weren't supposed to send goods, just cash?
posted by harriet vane at 4:20 AM on January 14, 2011


Oh and the link to City of Sound that mhjb linked earlier is well worth a look if you're not cleaning mud out of your house. I read it this morning, linked from an urban design blog, and it's really interesting.

The guy is an architect with an interest in planning 'urban resiliance' and suggests ways in which Brisbane can be better prepared for these kinds of disasters. More walkability, siting essential services above the historical floodlines, more Queenslanders (houses on stilts).

I think it'd apply for most cities, if you substitute whatever house style is appropriate for the weather/climate.
posted by harriet vane at 4:26 AM on January 14, 2011


The power came back on this morning, yay! I've now used up every candle I had in the house, some of which I've had for over 20 years. I dusted them before I lit them and I've been told that older candles are better in a disaster anyway. Apparently older candles burn much more slowly because the oils have dried out a bit and the wax is harder so hooray for hoarding. Luckily I was well out of the way of the flood waters but a few friends had water up to their roofs, which is pretty intense.

My two young boys are with their father because his suburb had no power outages which is good because small boys and candles are a bad combination, I feel. Also, I was being a completely stressed out bitch so it was a rescue mission really. I'm feeling fine now.

All things going well, tomorrow the boys and I will go on our holiday to the Gold Coast which is relatively unaffected by the flooding, fortunately.

It's been a weird week.

I had a meltdown on Wednesday afternoon after the boys and I walked down to main road and saw exactly how far up the flood waters had come. The difference between looking at pictures on the internet and seeing it in real life did my head in. The boys were jumping around with excitement and I was all aaaaaaaaaarrrrrrggggh.

That night I got a phone call from my oldest son (9) from his dad's place and he was terribly upset. He'd been watching the news and heard about people dying and he said he was so worried about me being at home by myself with no power. It was heartbreaking really. I assured him that I was fine, all our immediate friends and family were safe and I apologised for being so nasty earlier.

It is very weird to be in the middle of a catastrophe, it still feels very surreal. I went for a drive through town earlier today and there's unbelievable amounts of stuff piled up on footpaths, entire contents of shops and offices and homes just waiting to go to the dump. I saw a few people guarding stuff for fear of looters too. Sitting in canvas chairs with torches and grim looks on their faces. Clean up crews crying and hugging. Very full on.

Anyway, holiday tomorrow. All the bad shit that's happening in the world is invited to fuck off out of my brain for the next four days
posted by h00py at 4:51 AM on January 14, 2011 [6 favorites]


Glad to hear you're okay, h00py.
posted by Jilder at 5:15 AM on January 14, 2011


You too, Jilder, and everyone else in this thread who's been in (or near) the front line.

One good thing is that I'm moving house very soon and I have a lot of stuff that I don't need so I'll be inundating my Freecycle list and hopefully some people who are in dire need will be able to take advantage of my hoarding tendencies (no rat mattresses though, I promise).
posted by h00py at 5:24 AM on January 14, 2011


eponysterical.
posted by divabat at 12:40 AM on January 15, 2011 [1 favorite]


Yet another map, showing floods as of the 13th January - Nearmap.
posted by coriolisdave at 2:03 PM on January 15, 2011


Also checking in as someone with 5 days without power. Water came up to our driveway (boyfriend's FB photo) near the peak at 5pm Wed; looking down our street only a few hours earlier.

We got lucky; others in our street had ground floors submerged. I'd packed an emergency bag on the Tuesday night and picked everything up off our floors Wed morning. It had started to come in a lot quicker and I'd started to panic while the boyfriend was having a nap.

I'm limited in my ability to help because of a knee injury but am planning to donate clothes, furniture, kitchen appliances and books to Giveit next week. Schools start back next week (as do I, as a teacher) and there will be a lot of students in need of financial and emotional help.

It's good to hear other Mefites checking slowly back in.
posted by chronic sublime at 4:32 AM on January 16, 2011 [2 favorites]


reposted from the meetup thread (sydney mefites are lovely):

I flew back with my new housemate yesterday (who spent NY in Sydney and then basically got stranded) and had the best surprise ever - our garage was clean! Cleaner than we moved in, even. And sitting nicely in the corner were my crates of books and art and media, looking a lot nicer than I had expected. turns out the water only went halfway up the garages, and because we'd put most of the stuff on top of furniture it managed to escape relatively unscathed.

The owner's old furniture (we were renting), a box of random toiletries and bits&bobs I had, and some random stuff didn't survive, but they weren't too much of a concern. The stuff I was really worried about was all fine.

We didn't have power till today, and our fridge exploded with ick and maggots EW. Now it's sparkling, again better then we we started. The area isn't too bad, most of the cleanup happened before we returned, but it's still muddy in places - especially along the John Oxley Walk in UQ, which is a MESS.

There are truly angels everywhere!
posted by divabat at 2:03 AM on January 19, 2011 [1 favorite]


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