Saturday, February 16, 2008

Mackay floods

Okay, I suppose it's time I made a blog entry about the flood, eh?

Friday morning about 3-4am it started bucketing down. We could barely get to sleep for the sound of the rain. The view at dawn was bleak and wet.

It's raining

Apparently at 5:30am there was still no water in the classrooms at the school. By 8am it was over a metre deep. It peaked at around 9am. Looking through the small gap left in the window of my usual classroom and seeing the plastic furniture floating around was quite an experience!

Rising floodwater

The floodwater rose visibly while we watched. In the space of 15 minutes we watched it move up a road sign. Before an hour was up, the sign was completely submerged.

Through traffic keep Through traffic (No traffic sign)

We went for a short walk. At the end of our street we saw some drivers taking their cars where no small car was ever meant to go: through flood waters across the street. There were waves breaking against the kerb of the traffic island!

How not to drive

At the Gooseponds we found a raging torrent. Seriously, the speed of the current was pretty scary; it's normally a placid little lake. Usually you can walk along a concrete path underneath the Maplethorpe Bridge, but not today.

Gooseponds "Creek"

We lost power at around 10am. We got a little of it back in the late afternoon, and I mean exactly what I wrote: enough for the radio to play, but not enough for it to light up its display; enough for precisely one of our inside lights, but not enough for the fridge, phone, microwave, toaster or anything else. Finally at around 8pm we got full power back.

More rain fell overnight, but not nearly as much as on Friday morning. Apparently Mackay received the equivalent of about a third of the usual annual rainfall in the space of 6 hours! When I went to the school this morning, the floodwater was still deep over the oval and rugby fields, but was no longer in the classrooms. I spent the afternoon at the school, helping with the clean-up. Sad sights abounded: ruined resources and waterlogged textbooks, filthy furniture, chipboard as soft as tissue paper… but by far the worst was these pianos:

Soggy pianos

Tomorrow, more cleaning up in the afternoon. Church in the morning—if we can get there.

By the way, you might also like to read Laetitia's blog about the flood, and there are more flood photos up on Flickr.

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