(OT) Australia - Some stories doing the rounds today in OZ

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Some stories doing the rounds today in OZ for those forum dwellers who follow the weather...

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People stranded in NT as river swells
Monday, 28 February 2000 16:10

Northern Territory police say a few people are stranded in the north-east at Avon Downs, waiting for the swollen Georgina River to subside. Sergeant BJ Davis, from Avon Downs, says there is still a metre of fast-flowing water streaming across the bridge. He is warning motorists not to make the trip because they will be facing an uncomfortable wait at the river's edge.

"When it's not raining, it's quite humid and hot," Sgt Davis said.

"The few that are down there, however, seem to be well provisioned in that they have shade and adequate supplies of food and water and fuel and insect repellent. "It's not a comfortable place to stop and most people have opted to heed the warnings and remain either in Tennant Creek or their point of origin," he said.


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Food drops continue in South Australia
Monday, 28 February 2000 08:58

Food drops will continue today for remote Aboriginal communities in South Australia's far north, which have been cut off for over a week. More than 13 tonnes of supplies will be dropped by Chinook helicopter in the area today.

Emergency Service authorities from Ayers Rock organised a drop of nine tonnes of food and supplies yesterday. Communities in South Australia's far north have been isolated since last weekend.

With no road access, aerial food drops have been the only way for communities to get much needed supplies. The first food drop to the area last Tuesday disintegrated on impact and it was not until Thursday that communities received their first supplies. Wet conditions in the area have eased with the Stuart Highway reopened yesterday afternoon but it will be at least another week until trucks can enter the isolated northern part of the State.


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Flash flood causes widespread blackouts in Esperance
Monday, 28 February 2000 16:10

Police and the state emergency service (SES) in Esperance have been kept busy overnight with a flash flood dumping nearly 70 millimetres of rain on the town. Low lying areas of Esperance are underwater and up to a dozen houses have been flooded.

The rain also caused widespread blackouts. Western Power says a high voltage powerline fault caused the Esperance power station to shut down. The SES's John Coates says crews worked throughout the night sandbagging houses.

"Houses flooded with water right through the house, some of them will be major, I think they'll be pretty bad," he said. "It's been a foot deep in a couple of houses in Tupper Street from what I've been told."


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Livestock herded, airlifted out of floods
Source: AAP
Published: Monday February 28, 4:01 PM

Thousands of stranded sheep were today being herded to safety in a massive rescue operation in flood-stricken far north-western New South Wales.

More than 25 homesteads remained threatened and isolated by floodwaters, which have receded in Broken Hill but left towns on the nearby Paroo River swamped.

NSW Agriculture spokesman Jeff Evans said the flooding, which had flowed from saturated northern and central Australia, had already killed up to 12,000 sheep.

Up to 600 cattle and 5,000 sheep had been herded to safety by a helicopter since Thursday, Mr Evans said.

Several thousand more sheep, most of which were overdue for shearing and at risk of dying from blowfly attacks, would be airlifted from islands via mobile aluminium loading pens attached to a helicopter, he said.

Mr Evans said the process was long and slow, with just seven to 10 sheep lifted at any one time.

'It's a big job,' he said.

The State Emergency Service (SES) said while water had receded around Broken Hill, dozens of properties along the Paroo River, particularly Wanaaring, remained under threat.

The Paroo River had peaked at 2.46 metres and was expected to peak again next week, the SES said.

'A number of homes are still isolated,' SES spokesman Peter O'Neill said.

The SES was airlifting fuel, food and medical supplies to locals who were in 'very good spirits', he said.

Meanwhile, the Commonwealth Bank today announced it had extended its emergency assistance program for flood-stricken farmers.

The bank has offered to restructure loans for affected business customers without the usual establishment fees, consider additional loans and changes to repayment arrangements, review and postpone credit card instalments and waive charges for customers wanting early access to term deposits.

NSW Premier Bob Carr said today he would visit flood-affected areas later this week.


Story Link

Canefields flattened by cyclonic gusts
Source: AAP
Published: Monday February 28, 3:56 PM

Cane farmers around the far north Queensland town of Mareeba were today trying to salvage what was left of their canefields after Cyclone Steve swept through overnight.

Almost fully-grown canefields lay flattened and sodden following a 20 centimetre deluge in less than eight hours from 8pm last night.

Mareeba canegrower Ross Cuzzubbo said Cyclone Steve, which crossed the coast north of Cairns about 8pm, drove water in streams near the mighty Barron River to record levels.

He said his canefarm, 20 kilometres west of Mareeba, was next to Granite Creek where almost 20 metres of water was lapping at the edges.

'It has started to flood, it's the highest I have ever seen it,' Mr Cuzzubbo said today.

'It wasn't as windy as Cyclone Rona last year, but there is a lot more rain.

'It has been raining here non-stop since January ... one minute there's thunderstorms, next there's showers, nobody knows what the weather is going to do next.'

He said canefarmers from Mossman, north of Port Douglas, to Innisfail, south of Cairns, were hit by the cyclone which reached wind speeds of up to 180kph at the centre.

'It is too early to tell how much damage has occurred,' he said.

'I haven't been able to get out to the other half of my property, but there is cane down everywhere you look.'


Cyclone damage assessed
From AAP

4.05pm (AEDT) CYCLONE Steve spent only minutes in Cairns last night but daylight proved the cyclone's violent visit would require months of recovery.

Close to 40,000 homes lost electricity in Cairns and surrounding districts when the category two cyclone ripped down powerlines, unroofed buildings and tore up trees, blocking many roads across flood-ravaged far north Queensland. Emergency crews said they were surprised there were so few casualties in the region considering structures as sturdy as road signs were bent and uprooted in last night's disaster.

Story Link


The flooded area is bigger than Texas!!! Now that's bigger 'n Big!!!

Regards from OZ

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


Just called a friend in Cairns. With the loss of power he's totalled the freezer and fridge content. Drinking water is rationed in certain areas due to non-functioning electrical pumps. Quite a few landslides make travel impossible. All out it is a bad time. One wag on the radio witnessed a rainwater tank floating down the river...entire communities are cut-off. No reported loss of life. He calls it a miracle. Yep, it's that all right.

Regards from OZ where we don't need Y2K to have a crisis.

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

Wow! You've really had a rough summer, so far. Thanks again for your posts.

-- (ladybuckeye_59@yahoo.com), February 28, 2000.

I wish we got international news in the U.S. We're so isolated...

-- Mara (MaraWayne@aol.com), February 28, 2000.

Pieter I have followed your postings for some time with interest and sympathy for you terrible weather conditions there. I live at the 50th parallel N in northern Ontario at the centre of the continent where we are subject to almost constant arctic fronts through the winter. Usually we have periods of several days up to 2 weeks were the temperature stays below -40 degrees. This winter I do not believe we have been down to -40 even once. For much of the winter we have been setting new high temperature records most days.We had several feet of snow but most of is melted now and temperatures are what we would expect in early April. I wonder if the unusual conditions we are both experiencing have global significance or are just short term anomalies. Best wishes and hope things improve

-- Roy (bushwhacker@north woods.com), February 28, 2000.

Mara with a short wave radio you can listen to the world.

-- Roy (bushwhacker@north woods.com), February 28, 2000.

No weather expert really, but I do think it extraordinary to see such variation outside what goes for normal patterns. Right now the Northern Territory is getting clobbered by a revived cyclone 'Steve', that'll return to the Far North Queensland and give it another bucketing. Meantime I sit in a studio in a high alert very dry firezone region next to a region with water rationing/restrictions. Go figure...


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

"Bigger'n Texas! That's BIG!" Naw, that's only a third the size of Alaska, which, last time I looked, was still part of the Union.

-- Liz (lizpavek@hotmail.com), February 29, 2000.

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