News from flooded Queensland
Well you may be interested to hear from the flooded area of Queensland. I live in Toowoomba where this week we have had terrible scenes of raging floods and loss of life, as well as destruction and immense devastation. One of the two major creeks that overflowed and became a raging torrent is just 50 meters from my back gate. In my lifetime I have never seen this amount of rainfall over so wide-spread an area. I'm not sure that anyone has ever seen it in this country. Toowoomba is atop the Great Dividing Range. We have been in drought for the most part of the last ten years, however during the last couple of months we have been under the influence of the La Nina, a weather pattern which is a reversal of what we have been experiencing. It is also a very strong La Nina and so we are having tremendous amounts of rain.
On Monday at about 1pm an incredible cell storm broke over Toowoomba and delivered up to 150mm of rain in the space of a couple of hours. On already rain soaked land the water ran straight off and into the creeks which are normally sedate and picturesque. They suddenly became raging and deadly torrents, picking up everything it their paths and causing destruction and flooding without warning. People were trapped in their cars, trapped in our main shopping centre, trapped at work. Cars were picked up like toys and whisked down the stream and smashed into bridges, piling up on top of each other. Within minutes, swift water rescue teams had their hands full as unsuspecting shoppers and workers were caught amidst the wild and deadly waters.
The waters quickly raged through our city streets and into businesses which were inundated with up to two meters of water. Everything was destroyed. Many bridges, shops, roads, cars, lives.
Then the water began it's hurried and dangerous decent down the range on unsuspecting small townships 600 meters below. I heard one warning on the TV for the community of Grantham (the hardest hit with lives lost and many more still missing) to evacuate as a 7 meter wall of water was heading their way. The estimated time they had to escape was in minutes. Another small hamlet called Murphy's Creek was also hard hit with major destruction and loss of life. In both these communities houses were shifted from their stumps and smashed by walls of water as no-one has ever seen. People were washed from their homes, the water moved with such power and speed. I heard that night that twenty-three helicopter rescues took place that afternoon, rescuing people from rooftops before bad weather prevented any more such rescues. It was heartbreaking to hear of all this unfolding in the valley below us after such devastation in our own town only hours before.
It's only Wednesday today. So much has happened. Our major roads have been cut. Our supermarkets were soon out of fresh fruit and vegetables, milk and bread. We take all this for granted. And yet the wall of water moved on, slowing, widening, but not stopping. It has caused major flooding and havoc, inundating whole cities and causing mass evacuations, including our capital city of Brisbane. They are at present waiting for a flood peak which will hit at 4 AM in the morning. My son lives and works in the area which is presently flooding, helping his workplace shift valuables and perishables to higher ground. His friend lives in a six story apartment, where, because the power has been cut the lifts were out of action. They were coming down the stairwell when they heard faint cries for help. It was an old lady who had fallen, broken her arm and split her head while trying to negotiate the stairs on her own. These two young men called for assistance and didn't leave her till an ambulance arrived. I am sure there are many more stories like this to be told.
I have only left my house once since this disaster as the authorities are asking people not to go out unless absolutely necessary. I suppose I need to talk about what is happening here even though I haven't been hurt in any way or suffered any loss. My whole community has been hurt, that's what I'm feeling and that's why I need to talk. Please pray for all those who have been hurt and have suffered loss. Thanks