During my time in Australia I’ve had one big downer. I had the “pleasure” of ending up in the middle of a flood. Now, could’ve been a lot worse. I didn’t lose anything besides a few days time. Many peoples houses were destroyed by mud floods, some houses were just gone.
Here’s one news source: http://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-03-31/floods-hit-northern-nsw-with-heavy-rain,-winds,-floods/8402788 More can easily be found, if necessary.
Basically, Cyclone Debbie made landfall at Airlie in Queensland, made a ruckus there and eventually slowed down, was downgraded. Debbie was no longer a cyclone. I was 1000km more to the south, so not really worried about her.
Then.. as far as I understand, whatever remained of Debbie hit a different pressure area where I was and rained like hell, causing everything to flood.
Still, wasn’t what you hope for during a holiday, probably.
Why was I even there?
Well, as mentioned before, I was 1000km south of where Debbie entered Australia (illegally, I might say), far away.
I happened to be in the area hoping to climb Mount Warning in the early morning, reaching the top by sunrise and getting a few snaps. All this because a bloke in Brisbane told me it would be awesome.
Instead, I arrived the evening before the big storm which ended up flooding the area. I checked out the area where I’d be starting the hike up, didn’t even make photos because the weather was too wild.
Given the conditions I decided against going up in the morning, found a roofed area in Uki to cook, left again and scanned the road side for a place to sleep. I didn’t pitch my tent, instead I just slept in the driver’s seat. I chose this spot:
Down the road on the left is a bridge. Further down the road, more bridges. I didn’t realise this late in the evening, I just wanted a place to sleep this storm out.
Soo… I woke up several times due to the intensity of the rain. I can sleep through a lot, be it storms, daylight, noise… Still, the rain woke me several times. One of these times was I believe about 4AM. A car passed. I didn’t pay much attention. Another car passed soon after.
Slowly the wheels began to turn inside of my head, I started the car, drove off. First bridge was flooded, but looked like it was still good to traverse, and I did.
The next one.. nope, too late. It wouldn’t have helped either, because later I learned the big bridge ahead was gone. gone. Oh, that and landslides.
So, here’s a couple of photos of those days. I didn’t make too many at the time in hopes of keeping my batteries going for a while. I didn’t know whether I was sticking around for two days or two weeks.
After crossing the first bridge that night and realising I wasn’t getting any further.. I just waited it out in the car. Occasionally moving because the water was creeping up. Phone reception was very spotty in the area.
A local passed by and offered to pass by if I wanted to. Several hours later, I went over there to get more information, if they had any. Everyone in the house was very chill. This happens sometimes and they seemed confident the house would stay dry (it did).
Their water supply broke though. They’ve got a hose coming into the house, connected to a spring a bit higher up. During heavy rains the hose tends to be pushed out.. hence no more water. Supplies were available though, washing happened by the river.
I don’t believe we had a lot of contact with others that first day. One of the cars passing me that night belonged to a local who also tried to get out before the bridges were flooded. They were late, returned to this house and stayed there. One of the bridges further up the road was fucked anyway, they could only return to their house on foot.
Later, more neighbours passed by and/or stayed over.
Days were filled with waiting, reading, scouting the area, meeting up with others. The water levels dropped slowly. The dog in this picture was not my best friend. He seemed a tad aggressive towards me and .. once he followed me when I was out by myself looking for a cell signal. Borderline playful, this guy was growling and showing some teeth, biting too close to my legs. I made sure that he couldn’t follow me after that incident.
The water had pushed through with an incredible force. I think the pictures tell the story quite well.
On the third day, some people had successfully reached another town to get fresh supplies. They suggested I’d likely be able to make it out with my Camry (I think).
Given the fact light levels would fall soon, I thanked everyone for their generosity, packed up and left. Aside from some mud, a few sketchy bits and hitting something hidden in the mud.. I made it just fine.
I stopped at the village, was lucky they had something available to eat and was grateful to be back on the way out. Can’t remember where I slept that night.
Many more roads were blocked and/or in a bad condition, but eventually I got back out of the area .. while people were still digging their items out of the mud and figuring out how to recover. I know, I’m a bloody tourist.