Wednesday, January 12, 2011
Extreme weather events - Floods
Extreme weather event are becoming more common, global climate is changing very fast.....what can we do?
Whilst Europe is covered in a blanket of snow, more than ever before, so much rain has fallen on South East Queensland. It has been raining on and off since October and almost constantly since xmas.
It is completely unprecedented to have this much rain in summer.
For the past ten years we have had drought... dry.. water rationing, and now too much has fallen and is continuing to fall
The weather bureau says it is a one off extreme weather event, a 1 in 100 year event, but we had a major flood 30 years ago, and we are experiencing a La Nina, the opposite of EL Nino..
El Nino is hot dry air over the Pacific Ocean causing excessive temperatures and little rain, now we have the
opposite. Cool air over the Pacific and much much rain, more than we can handle.
Yesterday I attempted to get some food from the supermarket. The shopping centre car park was going under water and there was no bread, eggs, meat or bottled water on the shelves, people were panic buying food stocking up in case flooding was long lived...
Yesterday there was an inland tsunami, a massive rain cloud with over 100 mm of rain moved up the range to Toowoomba, a place renowned for extreme water shortages. (They had just established a water recycling plant.) Being on top of the mountain, you would never expect a flash flood, but when the low level cloud hit the escarpment, it caused massive uplift. When you have uplift in the clouds, you get precipitation. Massive amounts of water fell, in 30 minutes causing a flash flood.
The CBD of Toowoomba was like a torrent of rapids. Cars were swept away like matchboxes, shipping containers became boats floating down the torrent. http://www.youtube.com/
Up to 90 people are missing, presumed drowned and 10 confirmed dead. A national disaster. What is more the deluge of rain then flowed down the mountain, an entry on Facebook page read:
7 metre high wall of water heading for Lockyer creek. Evacuate immediately, get out now....
The town of Grantham was flattened, it was like a battle zone, within minutes the water level rose to 8 metres, people scrambled on top of cars, houses, anything. Some drowned trying to escape in their cars. Some were rescued by choppers. And the water has to go somewhere, so it flows down in to the Brisbane river system, swelling the river. Add to this the Dam is now at 200 % capacity and has to be released, otherwise a 3.5 metre earth levee will be breached and the amount of water that is contained in Sydney Harbour will flow down on to Ipswich and Brisbane. So dam releases into an already swollen river system means the Brisbane river and Bremer river will now flood, and are breaching their banks... Ipswich says the flood level will read 21 metres, higher perhaps than the 1974 floods.
My own relatives have farms along the river and were last night, tying ladders to the roof so that they could climb up there when necessary. My elderly Aunt can't manage a ladder so they will use the tractor to lift her up onto the roof with the scoop!!! They sit on their verandah and watch the water level rise..... they are completely isolated. Roads in and out are flooded and impassable.
The Emergency services Department advised that they could not rescue them as there were people in more dire situations that needed help... Climb on the roof they said....
Rockhampton and Gympie have been in flood for past two weeks and now it is Brisbane's turn. Flood waters in Rockhampton are now going stagnant and mosquitoes are breeding Dengue fever, and other water borne illnesses.
It is "Queensland darkest day" and will most probably bankrupt an already cash strapped state...
Will people consider changes to lifestyle as a result of the obvious extreme weather event caused by climate change phenomenon??? Or are there still sceptics out there?
Something for govenments and individuals to ponder very seriously about....