Open thread on floods

We now have a number of specific threads running on aspects of the Queensland floods. This thread is for comments that don’t fit the specific threads or if you want to comment on other current floods lacking a thread, such as those in Victoria, Brazil or Sri Lanka .

These are the previous threads I can identify:

Brian on Queensland floods

Robert on Queensland floods get worse

Mark on Brisbane flood maps and up to date flood information

Brian on Toowoomba flood pics

Brian on Brisbane floods in retreat

Kim on Political cheap shots and the Brisbane floods

Kim on Quick link: Quiggin on water policy after the Queensland floods

Kim on Quicklink: Interactive map of Brisbane flood damage

Kim on Germaine Greer wrong on Brisbane floods

Mark on Social capital, social networking and the Brisbane floods

Hope I haven’t missed any.

59 thoughts on “Open thread on floods”

  1. Sorry I haven’t had anything much to say on the Victorian floods; they’re in parts of the state I’ve spent very little time in.

    Suffice to say it’s kinda flat out west, so if the river rises a bit vertically, it’ll go a long, long way horizontally.

  2. There’s a mob saying now that bloggers and such were warning of flash flooding around Grantham and the upper Lockyer and the BOM and the authorities should have known that what happened would happen.

    There’s a world of difference between flash flooding and an 8m tsunami.

    The chances of getting a 150mm (six inch) dump in half an hour precisely on the lip of the Range would, I think, approach zero and couldn’t be foreseen in any realistic or responsible way.

  3. Gerard Henderson repeats the claim made last week by Scott Prasser that environmentalists opposed the construction of Wivenhoe Dam. To date I have found no evidence to support this assertion, Henderson and Prasser don’t provide any evidence, and I would be much obliged if anyone who was around in Queensland in the 1970s and/or who has researched this issue can shed any light on the matter.

  4. Here is a pertinent selection for those interested.

    Originally Posted By: Hinezy
    12:01pm
    Amazing how high the Dew Points are at the moment! This morning’s sounding looks extremely unstable and moisture loaded as well! That could well be a recipe for some very heavy flash flooding type storms to pop up at any time around the place… especially within this break in the rain bands we’re seeing at the moment. If the sun comes out that might not necesserily be a good thing because it could make way for some explosive convective activity which would have the potential to unleash torrential amounts of rain in a short amount of time.

    Originally Posted By: Anthony Cornelius
    12:16pm
    Concerning for the Gatton-Grantham area right now with that very large storm/rain area moving towards it with no doubt, torrential rainfall! Sandy Creek (in Grantham) has caught quite a few people by surprise and I hope they’re prepared for it, but sadly I think most won’t know until the water starts lapping up at their homes due to our insufficient warning system.

    Event is definitely not over – the dry slot is there, but the moist air in front of it is the danger zone which is what’s passing through/moving towards Southeast Queensland right now! Not to mention the instability – and radar is certainly showing a clear picture of the instability right now.

    AC

    Originally Posted By: Buster
    1:10pm
    Anthony, do you think the BOM’s on the case with that cell. If not you probably know who should be told about it. Those rain rates between Esk, Crows Nest and Toowoomba are truly frightening. I fear that there could be a dangerous flash flood very soon, particularly in Grantham. Am I overreacting?

    Originally Posted By: Buster
    1:14pm
    Cressbrook dam 54mm in the last hour. Maybe Toogoolawah should be my concern

    Originally Posted By: Dave-wx
    1:22pm

    No you’re not overreacting Neil!!! We’ve just been chatting about it here…111mm at Redbank Creek alert (1/3 of the way between Esk and Toowoomba, under that stormy blob) since 9am now!

    Originally Posted By: Adam Ant
    1:41pm
    It has absolutely bucketed down in the last 30 minutes in toowoomba. I wouldnt be surprised if we got 50mm. Keep a close eye on the lockyer creek at helidon and now cressbrook creek. There will be a wall of water coming down it

    Lockyer creek at Helidon

    Cressbrook creek

    Originally Posted By: buster
    1:42pm
    Dave, I live in an area that is equally not used to being so saturated and equally not used to falls of that nature (as opposed to say Springbrook). I just know that 56mm in an hour right now here would produce a flood of frightening proportions and one likely to put lives at risk. Falls higher than this in the immediate area are likely.I repeat my question….Does someone in Esk, Grantham,Toogoolawah need to know what’s possible. Who do we tell?

    Originally Posted By: Dave-Wx
    1:49pm

    There is nothing really that we can do is there

    This is why I wanted to see some sort of heads up for everyone in SEQ a few days ago, because it is hard to justify sounding the SEWS just for that part of Lockyer Ck (for example) when they have no telemetry telling them just yet that there is a huge wall of water coming down the creek in that area. It is also very hard to warn people quickly in specific areas like this when there is stuff happening everywhere.

  5. Paul Norton @ 4:

    My memory is a bit rusty, but I think the main objections to building the Wivenhoe dam came from those who lived and worked in the area that the dam was to flood.

  6. SCG, that’s very interesting, but there is still a quantum leap between 50mm per hour and 150mm in half an hour, delivered exactly, it would seem where it could do the most damage. I remember the BOM guy saying that the cell didn’t look spectacular on the radar, I think because the cell that caused the trouble was not very extensive in area, and depending how the satellite readout was calibrated.

    There’s a quantum difference also between water lapping the floor boards, and a surge that came within minutes and picked up the whole house from it’s stumps.

    Also, in relation to the last line above, there was stuff happening elsewhere. At one stage, not sure of the exact timing, they were getting 100mm per hour at Caboolture.

    But I’m sure much will be said in the inquiry and we’ll learn from this.

  7. It is very sad to see the loss of life caused by people attempting to drive through flood water. It seems that every generation must learn anew the power of water subject to both volume and incline. Many years ago my grandmother drowned with three others in a car washed off a causeway. They were elderly, on the way to a funeral and had routinely used that particular back road for years. Having learned that hard lesson – on several occasions I’ve sat and waited, sometimes for days around Barrington Tops, for flooded fords to abate. There seems to me no useful rule of thumb for judging when it is safe to cross or enter flood water except ‘if it doesn’t look safe it probably isn’t’.

  8. @akn. sobering.

    Brian – agreed. There are pages and pages on that site, some posters knew their shit, and others didn’t have a clue.

    Its worth a going over if you have time.

  9. akn@10: mid-thigh is the rule I use, mostly because if you’re cautiously wading out to find out how deep it is you’ll realise the force by the time you’re that far in. I would be tempted to say that if the water is visibly moving then you don’t want the bottom of the car to get wet. The difference in affected area between four wheels and the whole side of the car gives you a very non-linear response as depth increases. But again, if you can’t walk through it you definitely can’t drive through it. So get someone to walk in front (flag optional).

    My background is bushwalking in NZ rather than flash floods in Qld, but looking at some of those rivers I’m surprised that people would go anywhere near them if they had a choice.

    The ABC doco on La Nina that’s on iView right now shows people driving along the waterfront in a cyclone, to which I have no adequate response. I suspect floods are similar -you’re in a box, isolated from the outside, so you don’t realise the full force of what’s out there until it’s too late.

  10. Brilliant idea Tony. But then I ready your mate Twiggy was making $500 million a day.

    Let’s tax him 100% at 80 days. 284 edays at $500 million a day should leave poor possum with enough to fund his lifestyle plus do his bit for indigenous employment.

  11. Fingers crossed, touch wood (a la Rudd), but I wouldn’t mind having a bit more water down here in the south-east of Australia. For your information, water storages in the major eastern and southern cities look like this:

    (not surprisingly) Brisbane;
    Sydney;
    Canberra;
    Adelaide

    and

    Melbourne. which is twice as much as was held 18 months ago, but still not peachy.

  12. Worked on the farm levee banks at Kerang all day (Loddon River) – we lost the north-east corner late morning and the south-west late this afternoon (flood-exposed levee on two sides). Family farm; I got in from Japan Sunday and came up Monday. Waters have now peaked and receded by 5 cm but will still be going over the top in those two corners. House is on a hillock so that’s no worry, but morning will tell us how much lower the water is on the inside of the levee than outside. Cattle also on high ground. Front drive is under water. High water levels for 3 days perhaps and a second peak down Pyramid Creek in the next few days.

    Sandbag permissions went through gate keeper by phone but that broke down about halfway through the day. By the time it was a more sensible pick up at the depot it was too late. Might have reduced the inflows if we could have got a couple more ute loads in the morning (got one).

    Still, better off than most who have been flooded, and I hope there’s enough freeboard to start shoring up levees tomorrow to limit inflow and to help get rid of water in the coming days. Might need to build a floating pontoon for sandbags to tow by rope.

    The back swamp, full of water, is beautiful. The water in the farm will go off quite quickly, more’s the pity.

  13. And SES did roll up with a few hands and some bags and helped close a breach mid afternoon – that helped and we’re grateful.

  14. I would like to offer an few general observations.
    In 2009 the area I lived in was flooded twice in 3 months and many people suffered considerable economic hardship. This area has has multiple floods over the last 50 years some of which have been deadly and extremely destructive.
    It was first time I had experienced flooding.
    Now I have become obsessed with watching weather predictions and have a real sense dread every time a new low moves in from the Coral Sea or the NT.
    This summer all the farmers around me have been concerned with the strength of the La Nina event and I want people to understand this pattern is still very strong and there is every expectation that more flooding will occur anywhere in Eastern Australia.
    After our second flood in 2009 it rained heavily for 3 months but local rain was an impediment to cleaning up and getting back to work not a risk that more flooding would occur.
    And this is where the stress starts to develop.
    All the hectic efforts to rebuild, to source feed for animals , to repair damaged buldings and worst of all to try and actually obtain financial help contributed to me realising I was working on adrenalin for about 4-5 months.Only after the weather patterns shifted was I able to feel we had turned a corner.
    Looking back on the post flood period I realised this time is much more damaging to people’s sense of wellbeing than the flood event.
    The Brisbane flood has affected an area where people probably thought they would never have to deal with such an event.
    I would guess the rebuilding period will be very traumatic for many of these people as they start to realise the complications of poor insurance coverage, the risk that another flood may occur with each new tropical low and the unfortunately rather cynical way the government’s dole out assistance monies especially to any rural property owner with off farm income.
    In my local area the older residents deeply impressed me with their ability to just work away rebuilding, to do so without much assistance and to be positive about their futures but they have all been through this type of experience several times.
    In Queensland lets hope the impact of this stress isn’t denied , that people can feel comfortable to express their frustrations and complaints at what they feel is the lack of empathy from others without being judged as being weak and that the state services work to aid those who find the stress is just too overwhelming.

  15. Further to my comment #4, I have contacted a number of experts on the history of environmental politics in Queensland, all of whom were Queensland residents and politically active citizens at the time of construction of Wivenhoe Dam. None of them can recall any environmentalist opposition to the dam. Such opposition as existed came from farmers and other residents in the area of the dam concerned about the loss of agricultural land, and historians concerned that some of the earliest European settlements in Queensland would be flooded. Gerard Henderson and Scott Prasser look to have been economical with the truth.

  16. Did anyone else hear the news item yesterday that mines in Central Queensland want to be able to pump out the mines into the rivers as their holding dams are full.

    Anyone else walked through paddocks littered with hundreds dead eastern long neck tortoises/turtles because a mine pumped out in the river system. Not a problem since wildlife isn’t measured as part of the GDP.

  17. Hmm Brian … perhaps the term p*gmies is one we might stay clear of, at least in such contexts and without some compelling reason to deploy the term?

  18. Fran @ 23, fair enough and my bad. I was going to say they were not exactly intellectual giants, but went for a more direct approach.

    It is well to remember that if people are offended by what we say, then they are offended. That is a fact and has to be recognised.

  19. Brian said:

    It is well to remember that if people are offended by what we say, then they are offended. That is a fact and has to be recognised.

    It’s easy to slip up — language is inevitably shaped by culture and culture often seems so obvious you don’t see it. It’s one of those hidden in plain sight things. I’m guessing even the term “intellectual giant” might have been open to challenge on “ableist” grounds. 😉

    We have any number of words about mental illness, body type, sexual orientation, class, race, gender etc that have escaped their narrow meaning that it can be quite hard to bwecome figurative without trading in attitudes we supporters of equity normally condemn. I used the term “airhead” here a while back and was called on it.

  20. Certainly seems like a big wet is on, and it doesn’t feel like it’s quite over yet.

    Also checked those weatherzone threads at the time and since. Certainly some informed weather freaks around there, good for local info and real time reports (esp NSW, Qld and tropics there seems to be lots of members, many rural). Though I imagine the debate in their climate change forum would appear infuriating to many.

    Managed to dodge the worst of it (so far) in the Wilson/Richmond rivers area of NE NSW, which is kind of unusual. Though some folks are just coming out of the woodwork from the upper Richmond and Clarence regions. Which did get the drenching that SE Qld got. One friend got out yesterday after nearly three weeks, due to raging creeks.

    Awesome amount of water on the move across the E inland of the country now it seems.

    Todays MODIS satellite image shows this brilliantly, amazingly clear skies inland with a ring of cloud around the SE coast.

    The Cooper, Condamine, Macintyre, Darling, Barwon, Namoi and Murrumbidgee (and other Qld and NSW) rivers can be clearly seen in flood.
    The Menindee lakes are full.
    What must be the Loddon, Avoca and Wimmera rivers are clearly seen in flood in Victoria. The Murray river appears quite clearly and the relative abundance of green indicates what must be massive vegetation growth in response to it all from Qld to Vic.

    (Terra mode highlights water as pale to dark blue, you can view higher resolution or true colour version)
    http://rapidfire.sci.gsfc.nasa.gov/subsets/?subset=Australia6.2011019.terra.721.1km

    There’s been a few amazing images of these recent floods available there (on the rarer clear days), such as the Emerald, Dawson and Fitzroy rivers event. It’s amazing to see how vast and wide they are away from the coast. Many kilometres wide, weaving across the land.

    It’s destructive, even potentially dangerous, for us humans and our infrastructure.
    Though it’s also a display of the awesome power of nature in this country. It seems many indigenous plants and animals that are no doubt adapted to the dry but can respond to a big soak.
    Pre Europeans, there’s oral and archaeological evidence for even bigger events in many places.

  21. I’m really disturbed by the “disaster levy/ tax” being proposed by the federal government.
    Under this scheme there would be effectively a subsidy by all taxpayers to people or businesses that chose to locate to high risk areas which have lower land values. It is analagous to subsidisation of uncompetetive industries with bad OH&S.

    If this levy comes in then we will all be subsidising loss of life and higher economic overheads.

  22. harleymc, you might also be contributing to building all-weather roads and railway lines in places like Rockhampton and Bundaberg, so that we don’t have the state cut into bits every time it floods.

  23. The Weatherzone thread to keep an eye on is Coral Sea Tropical Cyclone Season 2010-2011. Apparently a number of models are in unusual agreement about a couple of TCs forming and causing more large rainfall events across QLD, including the SE.

  24. Su, it is good that people start to inform themselves on weatherzone. It has been invaluable for many years for my cyclone preparations. This event you commenting on is modeled for nearly 10 days out. Generally, predictions of models that far out are not reliable, as well as they all are struggling at the moment dealing with the extreme conditions. For that reason they have been all over the place this wet season and failed (IIRC) to pick up the two cyclones we already had in the Coral Sea. Thats probably why WZ commenter emphasised that at least two models agree.

    Weather events modeled for 3-4 days away and with models agreeing are far more reliable predictions.

    Having said that, I repeat a quote from a seasoned weatherzone commenter “I would not lay the new carpet yet!”.

  25. 33, 34 Cyclone landfall is much more frequent in La Nina years, so this is a good rule of thumb to apply!

  26. Further to Roger J, cyclone distributions pattern changes towards south in La Nina. Just toggle between La Nina and El Nino here and keep in mind we have one of the strongest La Nina events.

    If you feel concerned re extreme weather, make sure you have a friend or access to a network which is in that way interested and has ‘form’, as well as make sure you are contactable via sms or fb. For years now I acted as a severe weather cockatoo to my friends locally, because of my health I have the time to spend hours glued on BoM and WZ sites during the wet.

  27. Brian @ 32 – is it even possible to build roads and rail lines which won’t get severely damaged when there are floods like in the last few weeks?

  28. Brian @37,

    I’m sitting in a century old farmhouse on a small rise, surrounded by floodwaters from the Loddon River. Just below us the Pyramid Creek joins the Loddon and it has a flood peak bearing down. Kow Swamp, further upstream on the Pyramid was threatened earlier – haven’t heard whether it is safe.

    The Loddon has dropped 7 cm from its peak on the Murray Valley Highway Bridge mid-yesterday and 11-12 cm at the Kerang Weir below us. Flood water is ripping through the farm and I have some beautiful photos. Given the slow drop in levels and flows down the Pyramid, we could be here a while. This includes Kerang and a few other smaller places such as Murrabit. The weather here is fine and I feel for those up north who are copping storms again.

    They reckon this flood is similar to the 1909 flood in height, the previous largest. I studied the Loddon floods 20 years ago (unarchived the short report), and the 1909 flood was pretty much a flash flood from intense rain. The catchment was still damaged from clearing of forest for firewood for stamp mills crushing gold ore, bakeries etc, so the flow was a large peak but relatively short-lived. The Laanecoorie Dam broke its banks adding to the flow. The gauge washed out so peak flows were estimated. I think over-estimated, but that estimated peak flow in 1909 was higher than this time around. The volume then was much less, though.

    Flows from mid 20th century were much less peaky and more sustained due to improved catchment conditions. This flood is very much like that, but very fast because of the wet catchment and huge amounts of water. This is the largest flood measured volumetrically.

    People downstream are copping it now. There will be trouble round Benjeroop, as the Loddon joins with downstream floodwaters from the Avoca (It is a terminal river but spreads across the floodplain). This will add to Murray River flows at Swan Hill.

    I don’t have all the dates of floods, though have quite a bit of material at hand that Mum dug up from earlier assessments (might repeat the analysis if I get time) but cannot recall anything like this ever happening mid summer. Late February, yes; November, yes; December-January no. I do think warming is a contributor (to volume) if not to cause (timing wise).

    If we get any more similar events over the summer, I would be tempted to call extraordinary conditions that are largely anthropogenic in origin. Ironically, despite the strong La Nina and negative Indian Ocean Dipole, the long-term dry conditions since 1996 are likely to continue. There are historical analogues for big floods in dry periods in this part of the world. We might not have needed the floods but needed the water.

    At the front gate is a sign saying “Water sale. Call Now!”

  29. We must have had some takers on the water sale, the water is beginning to drop appreciably. Let’s hope the Pyramid Creek flood doesn’t drive it up too far again.

  30. Fiona @ 38, from your link and what Roger said, I get the impression that the floods in Vic cover vast area that are fairly flat. On the TV here we saw people building levies at St George, which is also pretty flat, up to the roof line around single houses. Generally they were building for a 14.5m flood which luckily only topped 13.5 or so, but some of the individual levies gave way, so it was all for nought.

    I did hear that the Condamine R was 15km wide at one point, so I don’t know how that compares.

  31. Chris @ 39:

    Brian @ 32 – is it even possible to build roads and rail lines which won’t get severely damaged when there are floods like in the last few weeks?

    The short answer, I think, is yes, but with some difficulty. There is always pressure for Highway 1 in Qld to be flood proof. It never was between Townsville and Cairns, where every year it seems to get cut around Innisfail and other places. One place that is impressive is the Burdekin River at Ayr, near the Whitsundays.

    Years ago they built a quite massive bridge, which I understand is flood proof. You can see here an image, scroll down for some facts.

    If you go here there’s a long shot of the bridge top row, centre. That would not be the wet season.

    It was always known as the bridge that was needed but could never be built until an old engineer who used to live next to us was given the task of building it, mid last century.

    I think Rockhampton needs and deserves a similar structure. For a while the only way north was through Roma, Blackall, Longreach, Mt Isa and then that got cut at Dalby, Chinchilla and a few other places.

    The Fitzroy at Rockhampton was slow up and slow down and was in major flood mode for about 2 weeks, I think.

  32. Roger @ 40, thanks for giving us some colour and movement from Victoria. If you’d like to send me some photos I might be able to knock up a post similar to the one about Toowoomba which was based on 7 photos sent in an email by my cousin’s wife.

    My email system seems to have reasonable capacity, though I imagine not unlimited.

  33. Moz @12: yes, I recall an NZ ‘Mountain safety Handbook’ that recommended not attempting to cross glacier fed, and therefore opaque, NZ rivers if you can hear ‘boulders moving along the bottom’. Good advice I thought. My walk down the Heaphy Track (1979) was one of the wettest of my life and involved a flooded Alpine area, the Heaphy in full spate, a very significant low pressure system in the Tasman as well as a king tide. The river ruptured and I spent two days up to my chest in water going downstream. This was followed by a terrifying crossing of a thing called ‘Crayfish Point’ on the seaside where, some weeks after I completed the walk, several Scouts were drowned by a freak wave. And the Heaphy, please note, was promoted at the time as a ‘family summer walk. Hard bastards, you Kiwis. I noted as well that many of the huts scattered around the Sth Island were memorial huts to people who had drowned, been crushed under a mud slide or frozen to death at the location.

    As to thigh deep as a test of the current – too scary for me! The last time that I drove through seriously deep water it wasn’t flowing strongly and it involved disconnecting the fan belt on a front wheel drive Ford Laser to prevent engine compartment splash, wrapping a tarp across the nose to create a solid bow wave and then getting my two companions to sit on the bonnet to keep the front drive wheels in contact because once it starts to float you can say goodbye. Did that to cross about eight fords. These days I’d prefer to wait it out.

  34. Brian @ 43, “very” is probably a better modifier than “fairly”, not that I know the north and north-western regions of Victoria all that well. Been through Horsham a few times to and from Adelaide, and just over a year ago drove through the Mallee to Swan Hill and thence up the Murray to Echuca, passing through both Kyabram and Cobram.

    As far as I understand things, the volume of water down the four major rivers – the Avoca, the Campaspe, the Loddon, and the Wimera – has been so huge that secondary and even tertiary creeks have been flooded as well. And yes, because the place is so flat, once the banks (and levees) are breached the water just spreads for miles. Added to which, as I think Roger Jones has already mentioned upthread or elsewhere, the Avoca and Wimmera both terminate in wetlands / old lakes, so subject to volume, those areas can flood very widely.

    Well, I can’t go and shift mud, so will take heed of the ad on the site and see what can be done about a BBQ.

  35. The satellite photo from yesterday I linked to previously has a stated resolution of 1km/pixel, the 250m/pixel version is also available.

    Opening the hi res pic in suitable software and zooming in using a pixel ruler, it looks to me like

    The head of the flood on the Culgoa river below St George and Dirranbandi is ~10-15km wide (50 pixels @ 250m/pixel). It is considerably wider and split around Dirranbandi (& Cubbie station), with another flood front of almost the same breadth of water heading for the Narran lakes to the south. The length of the large flood zone that can be seen clearly without cloud there is ~200km long.

    The large area of flooding in NW Vic from Lake Hindmarsh (big sort of kidney shaped lake on left lower edge of picture where I gather the Wimmera is headed for) across the many large areas of flood (dark blue) to around Echuca seems ~300km E to W, and ~200km N to S. An area of maybe 60 000 sq km, not all covered in water obviously, but significantly so. With the Murrumbidgee flood still visible just to the north of the Murray around there as well.

    The largest solid dark blue patches along what I gather is the Loddon river appear at least equally ~10-15km wide, with a far broader area looking like it’s covered in numerous lakes and tributaries.

  36. Here is a little bit of info on Toowomba. Apparently, as reported who can remember Toowoomba’s development, it was built in a swamp. Which would indicate that it was in the bottom of a basin.

  37. My recall of the insurance issue after the ’74 Brisbane flood is that insurers at one stage approached the federal government demanding an indemnity against having to pay up of their policies on the basis that payment in full was likely to lead to widespread bankruptcy within the industry. I cannot recall how the matter was resolved but do clearly remember that at one point it was suggested that payments of a percentage in the dollar would be made to policy holders.

    Between then and now, through successive Qld governments, this outrage has clearly not been addressed. Anyone recall what the upshot of the ’74 business was? The way the insurance industry reneged on its obligations (legalism and wriggling followed by loud and persistent squealing) convinced me that anything other than absolutely necessary insurance was a total waste of money. The behaviour of HIH executives confirmed that view. The current treachery reconfirms that view.

  38. BilB, Ian MacFarlane, the local Federal member, said it was built in the mouth of a (very) old volcano, eroded towards the west. So to the N, E and S the water funnels into the centre of town. To be honest, it doesn’t strike one as a problem, (I’ve driven through the place scores of times) but obviously in the face of a quite extraordinary event it is.

    I want to emphasise the extraordinariness of the event. It’s not one in a hundred or one in a thousand, more like almost never. It was quite localised, probably no more than a few square kms. I have heard of “cloud bursts” like that perhaps 2 or 3 times in the area over thousands of square kilometers over about the last 30 years. Come to think of it the last I heard was 11 inches over a few hours about 100km to the north about 5 years ago, not 6 inches in half an hour, delivered with precision smack on the lip of the range.

  39. akn @ 51, I can’t help with post 1974. There are definitions for storm damage, flash flooding and riverine flooding, plus a 4th category, I think, which vary across the companies.

    I heard one lawywer saying that he suspected the flooding that hit Toowoomba would be classified as storm damage, while the surge that went down the Lockyer Valley would be flash flooding. Same storm!

    He said there was a move to sort this out, but the insurance industry came up with a definition of flooding that was far too broad. This was unacceptable to the consumer representatives, so the insurance industry walked away from the discussions.

    He emphasised that because there were definitional problems, you shouldn’t take at face value what the policy says.

    Hopefully this mess will now be sorted out on a national level.

    Suncorp advertise their policies as “peace of mind” covering the whole caboodle. You don’t have to tick boxes, the default position is that everything is covered. But then their policies are not necessarily the cheapest.

    But that doesn’t prevent their assessors behaving like dead-shits on occasion.

  40. Oh dear. It gets worse: on breakfast ABC the sight of Gillard suggesting that we all may face an additional tax to pay for the infrastructure damage. I’m sure her popularity shot through the roof with that one. I’m hoping that Bob Brown will want to assert that the coal miners need to cough up to repair road and rail links rather than see the rest of the country taxed to prop up their profits. Poor coal miners.

  41. Brian @45,

    thanks for that. I had actually opened up something on WordPress, a while back and had not followed up. I’ve put a few photos up on the blog and will post a few more as the waters recede.

    There is also an open letter in support of the Governor of Victoria Prof David De Kretser, who dared to link climate change with the floods. I outline the relationship between recent climate change and variability as it affects ongoing risk. Emailed to the governor and cc’d to The Age.

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