Monday, January 10, 2011

"An Instant Inland Tsunami"

Queenslanders Told To Prepare For Ongoing Flood Emergencies That Could Last "Weeks, Months"

This is the usually calm, sun baked Queensland city of Toowoomba :

This is Toowoomba in the middle of what a police spokesman called "an instant inland tsunami" :

Yesterday afternoon, the central business district of Toowoomba as was as busy as it usually gets on a Monday. Rain began to fall, some took shelter under shopfronts to wait it out, others climbed into their cars with their kids and shopping and expected a delayed trip home.

Then the rain hammered down. Minutes later, a waist-high wall of water swept through the city centre. Nobody knew it was coming. Nobody could prepare for it. Those caught in it hung on to whatever they could, walls, trees, each other.

Within an hour of the rain beginning, the flood was gone, and shocked survivors climbed out of their battered cars, and exited shops and offices rivering water to stare in disbelief at the devastation.

At least ten people (confirmed so far) are dead from the Toowoomba flash flood.

It ripped children from their parents arms and crashed through the front doors of homes and dragged people out into the churning streets.

Watch the white van at 00:32. A man clings desperately to the tree the van is slammed into. He was later rescued.

ABC News :
Resident Joanne Kruger says it was like being in a disaster movie.

"It was like the tide had come in dramatically, like rolling waves across the road," she said.


People were stranded on roofs in Grantham, near Gatton, where residents say the water rose about a metre every few seconds.

"As far as the eye can see north, south, east and west is just water," one local resident said.

Water, and even water tanks.

The aftermath :

Cars are Mother Nature's play toys. She will toss them around as she pleases.

The Toowoomba Chronicle :
(QLD premier Anna Bligh) said the waters had hit the communities at "lightning speed".

"Mother Nature has unleashed something shocking..."

As an example, the premier said the river at Gatton, east of Toowoomba, had risen 9 metres in the course of the afternoon.

The Courier Mail :

Through Toowoomba city and down to the Lockyer Valley, the torrent washed houses off their stumps and snapped 4m-high trees at the base of their trunks.

Video footage showed families scrambling desperately to get out of their cars as they were washed away in a sea of water.

Landslides and the wild water picked up cars and tossed them into trees, turning the vehicles some with people still inside into missiles.

People cowered on their roofs and pleaded to be rescued as the water engulfed homes.

The Brisbane Times :

"It only takes 15 centimetres of fast flowing water to sweep a person off their feet and into a flooded waterway..."

"It only takes 60 centimetres of floodwater to push a four-wheel drive off the road. "People underestimate the danger of these waters...
As of late Monday night, up to 50 people are still reported as missing.

Queensland's capital Brisbane will be hit by floodwaters starting Tuesday.

At least four more days of heavy rain are expected over the city, and local suburbs.

Dozens of south east Queensland towns and villages are being evacuated, an unknown number of people are spending the night on the roofs of their houses, hundreds of kilometres of road have been washed away, the premier of Queensland, Anna Bligh, has announced the food crops & coal production losses due the weeks of flooding across the state will impact world markets.

Bligh said after weeks of flooding, Queensland was "desperate".

A photo gallery of surreally beautiful evening images of the empty, flooded Queensland city of Rockhampton.

, shortly after 1pm Monday :

UPDATE : The Brisbane Times :
Queenslanders are being warned to prepare for emergencies as unprecedented floods threaten much of the state.

Residents have been told they may need to fall back on their emergency kits in "coming days, weeks and months"...

"This is a very uncertain time for Queensland residents, and even if you don't experience flooding today, it pays to be prepared for the coming days, weeks and months."

"Emergency kits should contain essential supplies of non-perishable foods and water, clothing, medications, torches and batteries, a battery-operated radio and pet supplies."

Headlines from ABC News :

The rain keeps falling.