What a week! Or at least the last few days. Thankfully the water has drained out of Lismore and the authorities are inspecting to give the all-clear for businesses to start the big clean-up. The mud on the roads and in the buildings is full of toxic c**p (some literally), so care must be taken. Photos on Facebook show water up to a metre from the awnings in shops along the main streets – pubs, the bookshop, cafes, op shops, all of them.
Lismore is a ‘flood town’. It was historically sited at the bottom of a bowl that several rivers drain into before they head to the coast. River was the only way to travel and to trade back then before the great forests were cut down and roads built, so Lismore grew and grew on that same spot. The residents have had to cope with floods from the city’s birth and they know how to prepare and what to do. But this came up so fast and was one of the bigger ones on record (not so big as the one in 1954 or the 1974 one which Andrew remembers as he was 10 and living at Ballina at the time). The levee (built in 2005) has done a great job of protecting the CBD, and it would have been so much worse if it hadn’t been there (although it would have flooded gradually rather than in a rush as it did this time). But even it was overtopped by the massive amount of water flowing down the river. People will pull together and help each other. It’ll all take time.
We had 80 mL in the first 24 hours and then 247.5 mL in the second 24 hours – the biggest one-day reading we’ve had in the 15 years we’ve been here (previous record was 173 in February 2004). Our neighbours at the top of the range behind us had 305 mL to our 247. In the downpour, water started coming under the walls and over the floor of the studio, so we spent the next 90 minutes slooshing water out and removing sodden rugs. At least it wasn’t in the middle of the night. (The studio is badly sited and in really bad downpours water comes out of the neighbouring slope and onto the concrete gutters on the ground, but the drain outlet isn’t big enough to take it away quickly enough.)
Our house lights are out of action because of water getting in the bathroom roof and contacting the light circuit there, and there’s water damage to one outer wall of the bathroom, but we still have power, unlike some people. Good job the builder who is currently renovating our place will be here Tuesday (if he’s not patching up his own place).
Murwillumbah (an hour north by road) is in worse shape – the equipment failed after measuring 6.2 metres river height, bigger than the formerly biggest recorded one in 1954, which was only 6.05. Their sewerage system has stopped working and all the roads in and out of Mur’bah are cut off. Lismore’s top was 11.57 metres.
On the plus side, fungi fanatics are anticipating great finds. The previous weekend we went to the Queensland Herbarium at Mt Coot-Tha Botanic Gardens for a fungi exhibition and associated art display. I managed to meet some folks from the Facebook group, SEQ Fungi, and they are as keen as mustard. I can certainly see the attraction. I’ll post about that next time.
In the meantime, here’s a few shots of a Scleroderma puffball over a few days last week in the backyard before it all went to rain.
We had a few refugees after the rain – no idea where Ms Sqwarky came from. She’s moved on now …