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January 2013 Flood

Around 8am yesterday we ventured out to see how things were. We had been notified the night before to be prepared to evacuate and could hear the river roaring like an ocean from our home, yet no further word had come. This spot is about nine houses away from our home. The river had broken it's banks on the far side and stretched for many 100's (maybe 1000's) of metres/yards across.

The big black hose is water being pumped out of storm water drains back into the river.

As you can see, the water wasn't far from the top of the levee wall and some spots are lower than this. The water was still rising....

From there we walked towards the bridge. The children sometimes go fishing at the jetty at this spot which was under about six metres of water by now. Here is one of several national news cameraman doing his job.

This is the usual vista, taken half way down the grassy embankment which fronts the river, vastly different to yesterday's scene.

 Now on the upstream side of the bridge you can begin to appreciate the volume, height and speed of the river.

This is how it usually appears, often still and effected by the tides of the ocean.

Hydrographers measuring this flow at the peak estimate the flow to have been 1.5 megalitres a minute, probably an Australian record. At that rate it would fill Sydney Harbour in 7 hours.

The top of one of the pylons.

As the river normally appears.

The building with the blue roof is the sailing club (which is riverside of the levee) taken around 8am yesterday from the pedestrian walkway on the edge of the bridge - I didn't walk any further along the bridge. 

I took this photo as we drove (husband driving) home from church around midday Sunday. The river was hardly up at all, all the sailing club building is visible. There is less than 48 hours between these photos, the river rose so quickly this time.

Zoomed in to the other side of the river - there is a levee wall between the river and those houses. Lots of debris can be seen speeding down the river.

Soon after returning from our walk we were ordered to evacuate (text messages then door knocked). We returned late in the afternoon after the peak had passed and all looked safe again.

On our evening walk we could see the top of the wall had been reached in places by the peak. Residents (yes, many live right on the levee wall) and emergency workers had been very busy filling and placing sandbags to extend the wall height and contain the river. In places seeping/overtopping  water had been pumped out of  front yards.

The usual expanses of park-like riverbank lay completely submerged.

This is a big river, currently much bigger. As I write this the river height has just dropped below 6m after peaking around noon yesterday at 8.09 m, about 20cm higher than ever recorded before. We were amongst 2000 residents evacuated from our area of town as a precaution for no one knew which way this flood was going to end. If you view my previous post, you will see the desperate measures which were taken to help strengthen and raise one particular weak/low spot of the levee.

We are very grateful for the many emergency workers and residents who watched over the levee through Monday night (I could hear their vehicles) and throughout yesterday. If it wasn't for their efforts and God's mercy I wouldn't be sitting here at home today with life almost back to normal.  Many thanks for those around the world who have prayed and expressed your concern. There are other areas of Australia which are still facing record flood levels due to the same storm system which effected over 2000km of our east coast and extended over 500km inland.

In our town most of the school buses will be running again tomorrow and many local schools will be open for their first day of the school year, which otherwise would have been today. We will begin slowly on our homeschooling also. The third January flood in a row for our town, but this one was definitely the biggest.

Sharing at Weekly Top Shot, Our World Tuesday.

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