(OT) Australia - A sunburnt country gets a drenching

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Some forum regulars follow the Antipodean scene. It's a wet weather scene. We don't need Y2K for excitement. Cairns has been clobbered overnight by a cyclone, with visual coming through via early morning TV right now - a mopping up sight. Story Link

A sunburnt country gets a drenching
Monday 28 February 2000

Cairns was last night bracing itself for renewed flooding with Tropical Cyclone Steve expected to dump more rain on the city.

The disaster operations manager, Mr Bob McLagan, said a cyclone was the last thing Cairns needed.

"It's a category two cyclone which is fairly low in the scale but, by the same token, the winds could still do some damage and we could do without the rain," he said.

"The whole area is saturated from the rain we've had over the last two weeks."

Flood warnings are in force for all coastal rivers and streams from Townsville north to Cooktown.

Meanwhile, the worst-affected region in New South Wales remains the Paroo River, near White Cliffs.

Yesterday, the roads to the opal mining town of White Cliffs were passable to four-wheel-drives. However, the local State Emergency Service was continuing food and fuel drops to about 20 isolated properties, most of which will remain cut off for the next week, at least.

For the past week, Max and Judith Hams have been staying at a friend's house after local floodwater swept through their homestead at Koralta Station, midway between Wilcannia and Broken Hill.

Their property, as is the case with much of the country now flooded, has no real river system to take the waters away and since last Monday, when the rain hit, Koralta's homestead and sheds have remained waterlogged while the Hamses have waited for it to seep away.

In the hangar near the house was an aircraft, their motorbikes, tractors, a loader, a grader and wool pressers were in the sheds - a life-time of accumulated farming equipment now under water. A metre or more of muddy water still sits in their house.

Koralta Station was probably the worst-affected homestead when up to 300millimetres of rain fell across millions of hectares in the state's west last Monday.

At least 23 families living on remote sheep and cattle stations in the far north-west of NSW are still relying on State Emergency Services for aerial drops of food, medicines and fuel.

Some will have to wait as long as six months before being able to drive out of their properties.

The Paroo River, which empties into a network of inland lakes, has only reached the Darling twice in recorded history.

"This time, without any doubt, the Paroo will reach the Darling River under its own steam," said a SES Central Darling Shire controller, Mr Graham Wellings.

"Normally, when there's a flood coming down it takes so long to get there they've got time to get all their stock on higher ground. This time it happened overnight and they got caught really bad."

In South Australia, Aboriginal communities isolated by floods in the state's far north, yesterday received food drops after bad weather prevented the drops on Saturday.

Emergency services used an army helicopter to drop supplies to communities in the Ananga Pitjantjatjara Lands, Senior Sergeant Peter Wilson said.

"All the roads out that way are dirt, so no one's been able to drive in and out for a couple of weeks," he said.

There were no others stranded in South Australia, according to Sergeant Wilson, officer in charge of Marla Police station. with AAP


To get an idea of the dimension of the flooding - imaging 20% or more of all of the USA under water.

Regards from Down Under

-- Pieter (zaadz@icisp.net.au), February 27, 2000


People who visit Australia during the Olympics later this year will see a natural wonderland of wild flowers that'll carpet the country from the East coast all the way to the West coast. The normally dry centre will be very colourful and picturesque.

These water inundation events happened 4 times last century with the normally dry salt pans of Lake Eyre filling, with a teaming wildlife explosion.

The astonishing thing about the floods this time is no loss of life recorded so far. Huge stock loss figures are reported though.

I know it's not Y2K, but travellers who plan to visit OZ might wait a little to allow the joint to clean up a bit first.


-- Pieter (zaadz@icisp.net.au), February 27, 2000.

Pieter, thanks for the news! Please keep us updated!

-- suzy (suzy@nowhere.com), February 27, 2000.

I wanted to say HURRAY!, then I read the article. Wow.... Thanks for the information.


-- NH (new@mindspring.com), February 27, 2000.

Regards from Cairns. It is WET. Everything flooded. Didn't get real much wind out of that cyclone thingy, still uprooted and smashed a lot of stuff but. We lost power at about 7pm localtime last night, got it back about 8am this morning.

Most schools are closed and the area i am in is pretty much cut-off. The .gov.department i work for is closed for the day. Extremly overcast and the flood peak isn't expected for some hours yet.

-- XOR (drwizzard@usa.net), February 27, 2000.

Pieter, you still ain't told me if the heat is off ya. Heat is awful. I can't stand to think of you being in heat. I hate it myself. Has the heatwave broken?

-- canthappen (n@ysayer.com), February 27, 2000.

Also, do you now or have you ever owned a ferret?

-- canthappen (n@ysayer.com), February 27, 2000.

G'Day XOR, beaut blow eh, but?

canthappen, Had a few cooler days and it's getting warmer to hotter again. What's annoying is the rain stays away from us in the deepest south of OZ, drenching the banana- benders, the cornstalks, the territorians and a swag of croweaters. There's no justice! As for ferrets? Well, it's like this. We use them for rabbit warren clearing. Nothing like a rabbit stew with quail in a campoven....

Regards from OZ

-- Pieter (zaadz@icisp.net.au), February 28, 2000.

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