October cycle tour map

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Saturday, October 16, 2010

FLOODING!!!

Listen to this! OMG what an adventure we have just had over the past 24hours! As you know from the previous blog posting we went into an onsite caravan because there was forecasted rain and quite heavy rain at that. So the rain didn't really begin until the wee small hours of Friday morning and when we woke up we could see that the river (Urangeline) was flowing and nearly up to the causeway but not yet going over. So as the morning progressed we sat here at the table watching cars go over the causeway and as the rain belted down the causeway became deeper and deeper and deeper to the point that some cars were a little hesitant to go into it. While watching the 2 caravans that were near the river one decides to move and have a go at putting his caravan under one of the two awnings that are next to our caravan well that was quite entertaining - between that and watching the causeway we didn't know where to look! Anyway the guy couldn't get the caravan in due to the airconditioning unit on the roof it just wouldn't fit under so he left the caravan. Then the next caravan tried and the first attempt was unsuccesful so Neil got out in the pouring rain to guide him into the other one and he managed to get in ... in the meantime back to the causeway ... now there are a few yellow jacketed men near the causeway warning cars that the may not be able to cross - 4WD and trucks are ok but cars that are low lying aren't ... one guy thought better and next thing you know he is stranded and stalled in the middle of the causeway!

So Neil and everyone else went down to have a look - since they were already wet and I wasn't I stayed in the comfort of the caravan watching it from afar! The council men waded out to the guy (who also had his 2 grandchildren in the car with him) and hooked him up to be towed out

I felt sorry for the council man who had to reach under to hook the car up! If you look to the background you can see young kids watching on! I think the school closed early because of the flooding, anyway if you take note of the foot bridge the kids are on - the water, later on, rose to above the top railing that they are all leaning on!!!
Meanwhile it is still belting down with rain and we are slowly watching the river creep into the caravan park and below is a photo of the toilet and shower block and where the water is is where the 2 caravans were!


if you can see in the above photo there is a table in the middle of the photo and the water is up to the seat part of the table ...


... look at the table to the right of the photo and you can now see the table is nearly covered! also the bins are now floating away down stream!

This is the toilet and the entire driveway into the right of the park is now flooded and below is a photo of the toilet block from the front - you can see the vans in the back ground and we are on high ground so there was still alot more water to come!

when we first came to the park we found the highest possible ground for the tent should we have to stay in it and it was the spot to the right of the tree in the middle - with the exception of where the caravans now are that camp spot was one of the last places to be flooded - I didn't get a photo of it but to the right and off this photo is the ensuite cabin - at this point the cabin was surrounded by water but the water wasn't in it ... yet!

see the bins are still floating

now the toilet is completely surrounded by water and the water is now going in it ... by this point we were umming and ahhing just what is going on in town is the water getting there as much as it is here - looking at the surrounding houses on the other side of the river it was beginning to reach their doors.
Assessing where we are we still had a fair bit of height to go as the van itself is mounted on blocks that are higher than wheels so we still were confident that we were okay!

... it is getting close now! So Neil puts on his bathers and I am laughing and chatting with Sharon about what is going on and I have no idea just how much water is in town and here is Neil going in with his bathers on and funny suntan line and I am thinking yep he is going to either get arrested for exposing those legs or he will get laughed at!

here he is wading - at this point it is up to his knees and you can see the car to the left of the photo is now getting wet.
So by this point I think the ensuite cabin now has water going into it as it is quite low down and I am still giggling with sharon and Neil before he left has told me to pack a few things - so I am still chatting with sharon and keeping an eye on the water and I look at the back of the van and think shit! the water will come from the back as it is flatter!

... and it is coming in fast so I hang up on sharon and quickly pack a few things in our water proof bags and in between all that I take a few photos.

this is the back and side of the van and the water is rushing in now

... and this is the front and you can see the water has now come up our little slope!
Neil came back and said we are leaving and have a room at the pub and Kouta is okay to come there. So clothes, computer, wallets and cameras in the water proof bags, shorts on and our warm vests and gortex on and we set off - Neil carrying the backpack and kouta and I have the 2 small water proof bags ... we quickly pop over to our neighbour and tell them we are leaving and going into town, at this point the other caravan owners are in town doing something. The couple in the van decide to stay and their van is surrounded by fast rising water.
We set off towards the factory next door as that was the easiest way out and the water came up to my underwear line so it was pretty deep - bearing in mind 30mins earlier it was only up to Neils' knees! It was actually quite scary as you can't see where you put your feet. We got out of the park and waded through the factory yard and came to the street that runs across the main street (the street on the previous post that has the "New Gunyah Hotel") by now that street is completely flooded and flowing very quickly so we crossed it cautiously - there were kids also looking around marvelling at what was happening! We got to the main street and there was only slight flooding as the bulk of water was going down the street we just crossed. But you could see that very soon the main street was going to be in flood the water was just pouring in. Just before we got to the pub we saw the caravan park caretaker and mentioned that the other couple with the 2 show dogs are still at their van and I mentioned that I don't think they can get out now as the water is very deep for them and with their 2 dogs there was just no way they were going to get across the road where the water is flowing like a river! So Kathy went down with 2 men to get them out.
Safely at the pub hotel and up on the balcony we got to watch the rest of the action. Neil went back to the caravan park to help while I stayed with Kouta on the balcony watching - Kouta was a very good dog, no trouble at all, he was calm when Neil carried him through the water and sat very patiently on the balcony slightly wet (from the rain and no we didn't dip him into the flood waters as a joke!) until we were then joined by Daryl and Maureen and their 2 show dogs - Kathys' brother came down in his 4WD to drive them out. Their showdogs were very exciteable and almost very hard for them to control so they were excited about kouta and us but kouta snapped at them and sat quietly on his mat.
I began taking photos of the main street where they town began to sand bag the shops.


as you can see the mainstreet is almost covered

if you look to the right of the first electricity pole you will see some cars - that is the 'other' side of the river! and the red car is the one that was pulled from the causeway earlier when it got stranded - it more than likely is ruined now!

sand bagging happened all afternoon and to watch the community do this was amazing it was all hands in and under a few directions from key community people the shops that were at most risk, ie. closest to the river, were sand bagged first and then the lowest shops and the last shops which had a step up into their shop were last - but it all got done - the only shop that copped alot of water was the IGA as it was low and on the corner where the street with the flowing water was! so there were a few children bailing out water over the sand bags!
By 3pm the wind had picked up and it was freezing so we went to our warm rooms. At this point the rain had stopped and the water was slowly beginning to receed.
We came out later around 7pm and the mainstreet was cleared of water.

as you can see some of the pavers were lifted up from the water - it is a shame really as the town both sides has like a 'walk of fame' type pavers where residents have their own pavers with names and pictures - quite pretty really!

mainstreet

this is where we stayed last night.
We were up in the room and had a hamburger and chips for dinner and just checking the maps to see which roads are closed and what else is going on and while listening to the ABC reports of the flooding we had a knock on the door and everyone elses door and it was the police just taking our names should relatives decide to enquire about us ... I hope you had finished giggling by then sharon should you have to ring the Australian police and enquire about me as it wouldn't look good if you rang them still giggling!!!
Then another woman spoke to us and she was from some Disaster action group that also took our names etc. and said they do this in disaster areas to make sure anyone who is displaced has accomodation that is paid for by this disaster action group (government funded!). Neil was gobsmacked that Lockhart was regarded as a 'disaster' area! Lucky for us we were okay but there was around 40-50 houses in Lockhart that had water through their houses. And Lockhart itself wasn't too bad compared to places like the Rock which had people on the roof of their houses - the Rock had far more flooding (and this morning they had no water, sewage etc.) as did Wagga Wagga where the beachside caravan park was being evacuated this morning as it is near the Murrumbidgee river and that was to peak at 8m sometime today!
Also their was an immediate evacuation of houses near Tumbarumba and Tumut as some dam wall was leaking and on the verge of collapse - we are lucky as we were going to go there but we decided not too as I don't think I could have ridden the hills around their - they were just a bit too hard for me ... hence why we came here!
So we woke in the morning and all the water had gone, went back to the caravan and all was good - no water in the van. Although the toilet block was an absolute mess and the water level got to at least 1m in there so the toilets were cacked in red mud!
We had brekky at the van and the Kathy caretaker came in to see if everything was okay and Neil said to show us where the cleaning gear is and we would clean the toilets as she had to help get some car out that was stuck.
So we spent the entire morning getting warm (the wind was bitterly cold!) cleaning the toilets and I stupidly forgot to take a before and after photo! It actually wasn't that bad just used alot of water and brushed and squeeged out the cubicles then wiped the showers and toilets with disinfectant and then hosed down with more water!
Kathy came back and thanked us for cleaning the toilets but it was no problem! We all began chatting and she said the ensuite cabin is a write off and we had a look and there was mud on the floor and everything was water logged. She also said that a few houses had water throughout etc. Then discussion came to the water flowing swiftly through the street the previous day and she said that while some local was wading through the water 2 snakes were spotted! I didn't even think about snakes swimming in the water as we waded through it! Neil said he did and I said lucky you didn't mention it to me as I would have thought twice about wading through it!!! There was discussion of when we are leaving but she said that roads were closed and Neil and I said we won't leave until the roads are cleared and okay and she said the park is closed so we can stay free in the van - so bonus! It would be stupid to leave knowing that roads that we are not familiar with (not being locals) are flooded and crossing them could get you in more danger - one of our caravan neighbours (the ones without the dogs) left early this morning - not sure how far they got.
We learnt throughout the day that all roads out of Lockhart are closed ... so our neighbours with the dogs went into town and saw the other neighbours that left this morning still driving around town! No one can get out! I think it might be a while as Lockhart Council looks after The Rock township so I think that would be their number one priority to get that town sorted with water and sewage etc. So no worries we are dry safe and have shelter! what an advenure!

4 comments:

  1. Hi,
    So glad to hear you are safe. I saw the floods on the news this morning and I wondered if you were stuck in it. I guess it might take you a bit longer to get home now.
    Keep safe and dry . It is very wet here too.
    Love Judexxx

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