Cut Off; No Way Out

Flooded in – four directions. No way out! Unless you have a canoe, paddle and waiting relatives lined up.

As seasoned North Queenslanders we’ve been watching the weather forecasts very carefully. We take flooding at this time of year for granted.

This morning we drove our which-roads-are-blocked-pilgrimage and were lucky to meet up with some locals. Lucky, because most of our neighbours are now being cut off and soon we’ll only be touch via phone and facebook.

The locals we met were waiting with their vehicles, blocked at a river crossing on the road to Jumbun. We watched a canoe on the other side of the road paddle towards us – it was one of those classic moments you just have to photograph.

We had a yarn about the bridges being planned for Cassowary Coast and agreed this regularly flooded spot in Murray Upper would surely be a contender.

At this time of year rainfall is on our minds, and our facebook status statements are full of comments from locals keeping a watchful eye on how heavy the rain will be, and sharing up-to-date information and links.

We have reason to be concerned because even though a cyclone is not heading directly for us we know the outcome is torrential rain everywhere. We know rain is on the way and we like to know how much, when and where.

We know by tracking it on our favourite sites; ABC Local Radio,Oz Cyclone Chasers, NQ Flooding update and of course BOM (Bureau of Meteorology).

Before it begins to flood we do the following:

Stock up on food and supplies (that was a couple of days ago and any local down at the supermarket lines knew it, non locals were bemused, obviously not realising what was on the way)

Realise the best laid plans are about to go up the river

Make sure our cameras are poised to share our version of the flood with our friends similarly marooned on line

Dissect the weather with our mates

Keep checking the weather sites

A major aftermath of flooding can be the shortages of essential items in the supermarket and until the trucks can make it through; it can take a couple of weeks before the shelves are restocked.

The rain is hammering down and I wonder: what are my friends and neighbours up to right now?

I’ve heard through the facebook vine: they have been beanbag floating in their flooded duck ponds, getting their boats ready (but to go where?) and taking and then uploading their images and thoughts on the flood.

Once you are in the midst of flooding the general idea is to have fun, keep safe, and via the internet work out and observe when those water levels will go down to safely let you out!

Today we’ve been amazed. This is the biggest flooding at Murray Upper since we’ve lived here. The creeks and river are overflowing everywhere in a way we’ve not witnessed before. The Murray Falls would be brilliant if you could safely make it there.

A few of the children, including my own, are really disappointed that a planned cartooning workshop at the library has had to be cancelled, because the weather has made sure no one can make it.

Perhaps it’s time to cartoon rain, boats, happy people arriving home and a runaway parking sign like the one I saw going up river just a couple of hours ago.

 

First Published 23 Jan 2013, ABC Open

Please note: links to ABC Open will be broken after June 30th 2019.

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