SES volunteers had to rescue some people by boat last year.
SES volunteers had to rescue some people by boat last year.

Get organised for chance of future flooding disasters

ALMOST a year on from the floods that devastated most parts of Central Queensland, Gladstone reflects on the lessons learned from the disaster and what the community has done to better prepare for future events.

On Australia Day 2013, heavy rainfall from ex-tropical cyclone Oswald and high tides caused flash flooding through the Gladstone Region with Tannum Sands and Boyne Island the worst affected.

It was a nervous 24-hour wait to see if the Awoonga Dam would hold, as water levels rose to 48.3m on January 27, the highest level ever recorded.

In the year following the disaster, Gladstone Regional Council has reviewed several of its disaster management plans and procedures to better equip the community.

In partnership with Early Warning Network, residents can now subscribe to severe weather alerts free of charge. At the end of 2013, more than 1000 people had subscribed to receive updates.

Warnings systems are also now in place for Baffle Creek and Boyne River downstream of Awoonga Dam, with a study into the Baffle Creek Catchment also due for completion later this year.

Aerial of Awoonga Dam during the January, 2013 flood.
Aerial of Awoonga Dam during the January, 2013 flood.

SES local controller Doug Savage recalls the recovery effort from 12 months ago, and offered advice to people preparing for this year's flood season.

He said there were two main areas where people needed to improve; heeding warnings early and staying away from flood waters.

Mr Savage said being on high ground also doesn't give people an excuse to take warnings for granted, with loss of power affecting everyone.

"Even if you are high and dry, if the power goes off, your fridge goes off and you've got no food," he said.

"People should think about their food supply - simple foods like rice and tinned food that you can live off for the week."

"Please don't rely on Emergency Services to get you food and supplies when you run out."

He said having a plan and stocking up early to avoid panic buying were key points to remember.

BE PREPARED

  • Have an emergency plan in place early
  • Think about where you can go and when
  • Stock the cupboard with dry, tinned foods that can be stored for weeks and prepared without power
  • Gather important documents and seal in waterproof bag
  • Trim trees and overhanging branches
  • Secure loose items around your property
  • Listen to all weather and disaster warnings and follow their directions
  • For more information on how to prepare visit http://www.disaster.qld.gov.au

TIMELINE

  • Jan 21 Category 1 Tropical cyclone Oswald forms
  • Jan 22 Oswald crossed the coast and is downgraded to a tropical low
  • Jan 23 Torrential rain hits the coast as it travels south
  • Jan 24 Gladstone records 667.4mm of rain in two days
  • Jan 26 Ex-tropical cyclone Oswald moves over Central Highlands 220km west of Gladstone
  • Jan 26 Gladstone Police door knock 400 residents
  • Jan 26 BOM reports some areas in the southern Capricornia region have recorded more than 1000mm of rain in 48 hours
  • Jan 26 Boyne Island goes into lockdown as 3m high tides expected. Flash flooding around 9pm
  • Jan 27 Boyne Tannum residents told to evacuate as another high tide approaches at 9am
  • Jan 27 Floodwaters begin to recede
  • Jan 28 South Trees Creek Bridge reopened to traffic


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