Blue Skies

None of us slept well last night. Yesterday, the BOM/SES was predicting ANOTHER flood for Lismore. Though not at the catastrophic levels of the floods in February/March, there was still the prediction of a “moderate to major flood”.

The forecast said the flood might reach 9.7 metres (possibly more) on the Wilsons River at Lismore. Though that’s not enough to over-top the levee bank, it’s getting awfully close. It would have seen water in low-lying areas of South & North Lismore.

As we tried to sleep last night, the sound of rain was constant.

It didn’t sound like “flood rain” was the consensus in our house last night. Even though I don’t know if I could precisely articulate what “flood rain” means, I know it when I hear it. And so does the rest of the family. It’s a “sense” that comes from having grown up in a flood-prone part of the city. You just know it’s going to be bad.

And though it didn’t sound like “flood rain”, the family was extremely nervous.

“I’ve lived through many floods, but I’ve never been scared of one until now”, Pat said to me a few days ago. Pat, Jack, and their grandson, Sam were rescued by Marcus, one of the “Tinny Army”, the nickname given to people who helped rescue people from the flood, as all other agencies were overwhelmed by the scale of the emergency.

Today, Marcus knocked on the door. “I’ve got a Channel 7 camera crew outside, and they want to know if they can talk to Pat and Jack”, he said to me. “Come in, and ask them yourself”, I said in reply.

They were very quick to say yes. Throughout the last eight months, they’ve appeared in a number of radio, newspaper and television reports. They understand the power of keeping the story alive, long after many people have concluded life had returned to normal here.

Pat, Jack and Marcus with the Channel 7 News crew
Pat, Jack and Marcus on Channel 7 News

Their individual reactions to last night’s prediction of a major flood could not have been more different. While Jack was fairly sanguine about it all, Pat was terrified. The rest of my family are all showing signs of trauma, responding in quite extreme ways to each new flood threat.

Because I wasn’t here for the actual flood, I’m probably more in the middle. I’m also a bit more fact-based in my approach to the news, and wanting to check the facts, the figures and the sources, whereas another family member is inclined to believe every crazy Facebook post she sees.

By the time we had woken the rain had pretty much stopped. A few hours later, there were blue skies.

Nonetheless, the river kept rising throughout the day and is forecast to peak at about 7 metres (minor flood level) at around 10 o’clock.

Down by the river, not far from home in Lismore at about 4pm today.

Instead of the rain, it’s the sound of frogs tonight.

We’ll sleep well tonight.

6 Replies to “Blue Skies”

  1. I can understand the concern and terror but isn’t it more about what falls in the catchments and flows downstream rather than what falls on the town?

    1. Yes, absolutely, but we’re talking about a fairly small geographic area for the catchment. As a child, mum and dad used to always reference a place called Nashua as the key decider for what happened in Lismore, and Nashua is only 25km away. Vastly different to my experience living in Bourke and Renmark, for example, where we often had a few week’s notice of a flood coming through. I was joking today with a friend that four of the towns where I’ve lived – Lismore, Bourke, Renmark and Wagga – are all currently experiencing some degree of flooding.

  2. Really good point about people showing different signs of trauma. I can’t imagine how horrfiying it would be to know of possible flooding occuring, as you try to go to sleep, while heaing the rain coming down and be in fear of facing another possible flood. My thoughts are with you all.

  3. You see. So glad that Jane from the BOM (can we still say that!?) was wrong afterall. Happy to hear that the situation is not as severe as predicted and you’re all not scrambling to evacuate once more. I can’t imagine the anxiety levels every time it rains. Keep safe.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: