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Australia: Floods Bring Sudden Loss Of Life …

  • January 10th, 2011
  • Posted by EUEditor

floods-seqwater.jpgThe flood crisis in Australia moved to a new stage this week with heavy rainfall moving to the populous South-east corner of Queensland … and several deaths in flash-flooding.

In the still-unfolding story of the 2010-11 floods, the centre of the city of Toowoomba, inland from Brisbane, and the adjacent farming area of the Lockyer Valley, experienced unexpected flash flooding on Monday.

Seven people including two children were  confirmed killed, with 70 others missing in the floodwaters; several buildings have been flooded, some collapsing or being carried away in the flow.

The next area under threat is a conurbation, population four million, linking the Queensland capital city of Brisbane, and cities of Ipswich, Gold Coast and Sunshine Coast – watered, and sometimes threatened by the Brisbane River and several coastal streams.

Problems are arising with local flash flooding, overland flow generating small “tsunamis” in the waterlogged terrain, and flooding of the Brisbane River, especially at peak tide times with water pushed back up from coast; below two main dams that provide water supply and additional flood storage.

wivenhoe_spillway1.jpgThe Wivenhoe Dam, 80 kilometres upstream from Brisbane, now bulging at full capacity of 2.6-million megalitres, was completed in 1984, ten years after heavy floods that devastated city.

Further upstream, the Somerset Dam, also is now at full capacity, of 587.000 megalitres.

Engineers have been controlling “limited spillage” from the system, large volumes feeding into the high-running river.

The Brisbane Lord Mayor, Campbell Newman, said homes and business premises in some areas of the city could expect to be inundated later in the week, but a major catastrophe was being averted.

“The Wivenhoe Dam is actually protecting Brisbane right now from a flood right up there with 1974”, he said on Monday (10.1.11).

Flood warnings are posted throughout the region, though an easing in the near-constant rainfall has been forecast for the region on Wednesday.

Floodwaters will be moving into  neighbouring parts of the state of New South Wales by then.

Flooding has extended across the Northern half of the Australian continent this year, with inundation around the town of Carnarvon in the State of Western Australia – the one-third of the country where very dry weather continued prevalent in 2010.

See also, EUAustralia Online: “Helping hand”, 5.1.11; “Floods: Is this really true?”, 5.1.11; “Home news: …”, 2.1.11.

Reference

Seqwater corporation, Brisbane, Wivenhoe Dam / Somerset Dam.
http://www.seqwater.com.au/public/catch-store-treat/dams/wivenhoe-dam, (10.1.11).

Pictures

Flood scenes, Wivenhoe Dam – Seqwater

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