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Author Topic: Australia by Tibrogargan January 2007 - present and 155216+ views later!  (Read 567162 times)
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Monkey All Star Jr.
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« Reply #1000 on: January 14, 2011, 07:15:10 PM »

Energex begins restoring power to Brisbane homes, businesses

    * Anthony Templeton, James O'Loan
    * From: The Courier-Mail
    * January 15, 2011 9:42AM

THOUSANDS of houses and businesses have been reconnected to the power grid but about 28,750 homes are still without electricity.

About 18,000 homes and businesses have had their power restored since late on Friday by Energex crews, bringing the total number switched back on since Monday to 230,000.

The energy provider said in a statement on Saturday that 28,750 properties are still without power; 18,967 in Brisbane; 6,641 in Ipswich; 1,228 in the Lockyer Valley; and 1,823 in the Brisbane Valley.

The company has urged people to be patient because some properties not directly affected by water may still be without power because the part of the grid they are connected to may still be impacted by flooding.

Energex is planning to restore power to several more homes and businesses on Saturday as floodwaters recede and allowed more access to electricity infrastructure.

But property owners have been warned that in some areas power may not be restored for weeks because of the severity of the damage either to power infrastructure or individual properties.

Energex has also warned that buildings suffering floodwater inundation may have significant damage to the electrical circuitry and appliances and could present potential safety risks.

Building owners and operators must call Mick Purcel from Energex on 0418 429 751.

Premier Anna Bligh says qualified electricians will need to examine all flood-affected homes before power could be turned back on. She said some homes will not have power restored.

"These are houses that have been inundated right up to their rooftops ... it could be weeks," she told reporters in Brisbane on Friday.

"Some of these houses will have to be demolished, so they won't be getting supply back on until there's a new house there."

Ergon Energy said many towns in Queensland's regional centres were without power last night.

In Rockhampton 454 properties remain cut off, with 359 in the Western Downs, 97 in Emerald and 63 in Toowoomba, Oakey and Warwick.

Twenty-eight customers have been affected in Maryborough and 19 in Bundaberg.

 Power outage information can be found at


....And at night the wond’rous glory of the everlasting stars..  A.B (Banjo) Paterson
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« Reply #1001 on: January 15, 2011, 05:06:50 AM »

Major-General Mick Slater says he is very optimistic about the challenges ahead of the state after the floods

    * Kay Dibben
    * From: The Sunday Mail (Qld)
    * January 15, 2011 5:43PM

THE man in charge of rebuilding Queensland says the state will end up in better shape and more resilient than it was two months ago.

While admitting he was not normally an optimistic person, Major-General Mick Slater said: ``I'm very optimistic about this.

``I'm buoyed by the support people are offering.''

Maj-Gen Slater said he expected the clean-up to happen more quickly than people expected, and he was heartened by the Queensland and Australian communities' willingness and capacity to rebuild the state.

``We want to see, at the end of this, a Queensland that is more resilient and better than it was two months ago, before the rain started,'' Maj-GenSlater said.

``We want to see a better Queensland.''

Maj-Gen Slater today visited Dalby, on the Darling Downs, which has survived five floods.

He said one of two evacuation centres, which has been housing all the residents of a local caravan park, was expected to be down to less than a dozen people by Sunday.

``People are tough and they are resilient and I have met very few people who are not determined to rebuild their lives, back to where they were and better than where they were,'' Maj-Gen Slater said.

He said his job was to manage and co-ordinate all the resources to rebuild the flood-stricken areas and set the State Government up with a plan it could execute.

``People and the human and welfare needs we've got  right across the State are our first priority,'' he said.

The biggest challenge was assembling the resources needed to address the rail and road infrastructure that the economy needed to be fixed as quickly  as possible  in the right order.

The Bruce Highway from Brisbane to Cairns had to be made as safe as possible and capable of handling high volumes of heavy traffic, and the next priority would be the roads west of Rockhampton, Bundaberg and Mackay.

``The farmers, cattlemen and mines need those roads,'' Maj-Gen Slater said.

``It's an enormous challenge, no doubt about it, but I haven't met anyone starting to shy away from that challenge.''

....And at night the wond’rous glory of the everlasting stars..  A.B (Banjo) Paterson
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« Reply #1002 on: January 15, 2011, 05:12:11 AM »

There is also major flooding in four of our other six states, but the worst is in Victoria.  Although this heading says "north" Victoria itself is south of Queensland and New South Wales :

Thousands evacuated in Victoria as rising flood waters go north

    * Staff writers
    * From: Herald Sun
    * January 15, 2011 5:48PM

TWO-THIRDS of Rochester has been evacuated including 65 acute and aged care patients from the hospital.

The town is cut off from the north and south by road.

The northern Victorian town has been split in two and cut off by the rising water and the State Emergency Service (SES) has issued an evacuation warning for residents.

Glenorchy is now at a major flood level with water at 5.04m and rising. Levels are expected to peak this afternoon and will take another one to two days to reach the peak at Horsham.

At Dadswell’s Bridge the Duetscher turkey farm, Giant Koala Motel, Oasis Roadhouse and Caravan Park have all been flooded out.

Rochester traders madly scrambled to salvage stock and move white goods onto shelves this morning.

The bulging Campaspe River has engulfed most of the town trading centre with many residents and traders around the river banks evacuated, with a centre set up at the local Catholic church.

Rochester Caravan and Camping Park, set on the banks of the raging river, evacuated its 70 residents early Friday morning.

Manager Linda Moor is still living in her home on stilts attached to the park office.

"We haven’t only got flooding from the rain, but Lake Eppalock near Bendigo is full, so we’re also getting the releases from that which is making it worse," Ms Moor said.

"The river has come to us. It would be up to my armpits if I stepped in, and it’s flowing really fast.

"We’re hoping it’s reached its peak, but we’re not sure because it’s only two steps off coming into our home."

Rochester fish and chip shop owner Kelly Roudis was on holidays in Geelong when she got a call telling her to return home to her Mackay St shop and house, which is a block back from the river.

"It wasn’t that bad when we got here at 2am, but it’s risen by about 1m this morning and it’s now up to my waist," she said.

"The house is at the back, so it’s gone through that, too.

"We’re just trying to get all the freezers up off the ground, and the army trucks are coming to get everyone out.

"It’s gone through all the shops here."

Emergency services arrived to evacuate them at 11am.

An evacuation warning has now been issued for Donald with about 20 properties affected.

The Avon and Richardson rivers are currently at September level and rising.

Residents are advised to monitor the situation closely and prepare to evacuate their property.

A relief centre is open at Donald Showgrounds and Recreation Reserve.

The whole town of Carisbrook has been evacuated with 190 houses, two churches and a club under water.

Residents may not be able to return to their homes fro several days.

Power has been cut to the town and all roads have been cut off by flooding.

The town of Charlton, on the Avoca River, has been completely isolated by flooding with up to 200 properties affected.

Food was flown into the town this morning and will require ongoing replacement in coming days.

"We’re staying put even if the water is running up the walls," Mr Taylor said.

"Our priority is broadcasting the situation."

The Wimmera River in Horsham is slowly rising to about 3.6m but won’t peak until Monday or Wednesday which is likely to mean flooding of homes above floor level in Horsham. The levy in Horsham will likely be breached with water spilling into the CBD of Horsham and downstream of Wale.

It is considered a once in 50 year event.

In Horsham, ACE Radio station manager Mark Taylor said he was determined to keep broadcasting information, despite being situated on the banks of the slowly rising Wimmera River.

Emergency warnings were this morning issued for both Rochester and Serpentine, urging residents to evacuate.

SES spokesman Lachlan Quick said the situation was deteriorating quickly with townships in almost a third of the state affected by floods or under threat.

He said up to 1200 properties could be affected by floods by the end of the day, compared to 300 in last year's September Victorian floods.

"Many people are at risk of inundation and in light of what has happened in Queensland we've got some big concerns," he said.

All roads in and out of Serpentine have been cut off by rising waters.

Up to 200 properties are at risk at Rochester where the Campaspe River has risen higher than it did in the September floods.

Another 200 homes are under threat at Charlton where the power supply has been affected and a relief centre had to be relocated to Donald after being flooded.

Along the Loddon River, 30 properties are under threat at Bridgewater.

Get the latest warnings on 1300 VIC SES, 1300 842 737 or at

The SES has fielded more than 4600 calls for help from flood affected Victorians in the last three days - more than 110 since midnight last night.

Emergency crews have rescued 50 people from flood waters during the same period including 30 people trapped in cars after trying to drive through flood waters.

The SES has urged people not to drive, ride or walk through flood waters.

Rising flood waters are also expected to impact Rupanyup, Broadwater, Skipton, Durham, Kerang and Rochester with residents told they may be forced to move to higher ground.

The Great Ocean Road has been closed between Apollo Bay and Skenes Creek and will remain closed overnight.

Homes and businesses in the west were inundated with floodwater yesterday as areas were hit with up to 130mm of rain.

Major flood alerts remain in place for the Avoca, Campaspe, Loddon and Wimmera rivers.

While the worst of the wet weather appears over, SES volunteers are braced for more action downstream in areas such as Kerang and Swan Hill, where sandbagging operations have begun.

Bureau of Meteorology severe weather meteorologist Claire Yeo said some areas in the west had received their summer rainfall averages in just five days.

"Forty-four rainfall stations have actually recorded their highest ever January rainfall," she said.

Charlton residents faced a tense wait to see if their homes were still intact after rising waters forced the evacuation of the town last night.

In the town of Carisbrook in central Victoria, almost the entire population of around 1000 people left as two creeks passing through the town broke their banks and the nearby reservoir spilled over.

"We have a town that is totally, totally covered in water," local Country Fire Authority (CFA) volunteer Philip Leech said yesterday.

"Every house in the centre of town is under about four or five feet of water. Everybody is out of town, apart from a few in double storey places who have stayed."

He said the normally tranquil, 10-metre wide Deep Creek was 500 metres wide and running "very swiftly".

In Beaufort, 60 houses were isolated by the water, 20 of them inundated.

Beaufort resident Brian Carlson and his wife returned from helping neighbours - who had 25cm of water in their house - to find water in their own home.

"It was just, 'Get out, get out'. I am very lucky. We just didn't know what would happen," Mr Carlson said.

Flash floods in Great Western, south of Stawell, forced some residents to flee their homes as the Concongella Creek rose dramatically.

Halls Gap, Bridgewater, Newbridge, Dadswells Bridge, Glenorchy and Carisbrook residents were among those hardest hit.

Fears that flooding would reach the suburbs of Melbourne eased late yesterday with the SES revising its warning for the Maribyrnong River.

It is now expected the river will peak at Maribyrnong, 10km from the city centre, between 2am and 3am today.

Several major roads in the state's west and north were shut including parts of the Calder Highway and Pyrenees Highway in the north and the Sunraysia Highway and Western Highway in the west.

VicRoads has urged people to check its website regularly for the latest road information.

SES director of operations Trevor White said the rivers will be monitored to determine how communities will be affected over coming days.

"We are going to be blessed with no rainfall or no significant rainfall after today for the next week, (but) we need to remember there will be downstream impacts on those river systems," he said yesterday.

Weather Bureau climate meteorologist Harvey Stern said while the La Nina climate pattern had caused havoc with Victoria's summer, the worst was over.

Victorians affected by widespread flooding may be eligible for emergency grants from the State Government.

....And at night the wond’rous glory of the everlasting stars..  A.B (Banjo) Paterson
4 Donks
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« Reply #1003 on: January 15, 2011, 09:48:23 AM »

This is just mind boggling. The extent of the flooding is unimaginable. Praying for all involved.

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« Reply #1004 on: January 15, 2011, 09:28:26 PM »

This is just mind boggling. The extent of the flooding is unimaginable. Praying for all involved.

4 Donks I do not think any one of us, including the people most affected, have grasped the enormity of the disaster.  The media focus is on Brisbane because it is the capital city and is the hub of business and commerce in the state.  But many of the smaller country towns are still isolated by floods and in some cases facing or have faced a second flood in a few days.

There are also secondary concerns now arising such as infection from the toxic waters and in a lot of the houses being stripped bare they have found asbestos.  It was widely used in buildings many years ago before it's dangerous effects were realised.

The Victorian floods are still in crisis and it may be a week or more before the second wave of water travels through their extensive river network.

BTW I do enjoy reading about the Donks and I had a wonderful visual of the aftermath of your saga of the hay bales.  Go get that lazy little bludger!

Bludger : lazy person, layabout, somebody who always relies on other people to do things or lend him things


....And at night the wond’rous glory of the everlasting stars..  A.B (Banjo) Paterson
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« Reply #1005 on: January 15, 2011, 09:37:49 PM »

Echuca bracing for floods, thousands without power

    * John Bagge, AAP
    * From: Sunday Herald Sun
    * January 16, 2011 12:00AM

ECHUCA residents are keeping a close watch on local flood defences as the swollen Campaspe River threatens the town.

Echuca Mayor Neil Pankhurst said Echuca's levee bank had been designed to withstand a one-in-100 year flood, which is dangerously close to what is expected late tonight.

"The levee is designed to contain a flood of the level we're expecting and we believe it will hold," Mr Pankhurst said.

"Some properties will have water on them, but we're not expecting any homes to be inundated or have water above floor level."

Nine army personnel from Bendigo are doorknocking low-lying suburbs warning residents to leave.

"We are making sure people are aware the river might rise to a flood level,’’ Sgt Tony Murphy said.

"The river is rising every hour so everyone is watching it carefully.’’

Winston Park Stables manager Wayne Koch was rushing to remove 16 racehorses from stables near the Frank Ryan Raceway which were flood by 10am.

“We had to rush down from Melbourne early this morning,’’ Mr Koch said.

“We rang at 8am and everything was fine but it’s come up a lot quicker than we expected.

“We will get everything out but it would have been nice to get here a bit earlier.’’

Fish in a Flash owner Paul Rowe said the Echuca community was preparing for the worst but hoping for the best.

“I’m preparing for the worst but am mildly optimistic we won’t get flooded,'' he said.

“Until the Campaspe peaks we won’t know.”

Communities flooded

The SES says a total of 34 towns have been affected in Victoria, mostly in the north and northwest as record rainfalls have swollen rivers and flooded communities.

More than 1300 properties have been flooded and 3000 people have fled their homes.

Like many other Victorian towns, Echuca, which is situated at the junction of the Campaspe, Goulburn and Murray Rivers, has already endured two other floods in the past five months.

In September waters from eastern Victoria threatened the town and again in December the rivers rose to dangerous heights.

Mr Pankhurst said the Campaspe had risen this morning at a rate of 100mm every hour.

He said no Echuca residents had been evacuated and the town was housing 150 who had been forced from their homes at Rochester, 30km to the south, where the Campaspe had broken its banks.

The high point of the Campaspe in Echuca is expected at the Ogilvie Ave bridge, the main east-west route through the town.

After fears the river would peak at midday on Sunday, the SES has revised the expected peak back to late this evening.

Rochester hit hard

The Campaspe peaked at Rochester last night as the dairy town experienced its worst flood in history.

Water was receding in town this morning after 80 per cent of homes and businesses were affected.

"The peak has gone through but the township is still badly flooded," said local councillor Frank Oliver.
"It's receding but there's water still right through the town."

The Western Highway between Horsham and Stawell was reopened on Sunday morning, freeing up the route between Melbourne and Adelaide which had been closed off since Friday evening.

Horsham is also bracing for the worst as the Wimmera River peaks on Monday or Tuesday.

"The town is preparing for tomorrow afternoon, tomorrow night, Tuesday and that flood peak is expected to be in the order of what we call a one in a 100 year flood," said Horsham municipal emergency resources officer David Eltringham.

"Everything is in place, operational arrangements are in place.

"We would imagine 100 to 150 properties will possibly be impacted.

"This flood will be a good half a metre or more higher than the flood we had through in September."
Locals have been sandbagging properties and key assets in the district are being protected, but there has been no call for evacuations.

Residents of nearby Dadswells Bridge are being allowed back to their homes on Sunday after evacuating on Friday, Mr Eltringham said.

Evacuation warnings were also issued to residents in the towns of Boort, Donald and Culgoa, while Charlton, Glenorchy, Kerang, Casterton and Skipton are also still affected.

6500 properties remain without power

About 6500 Victorian properties remain without any electricity due to flooding.

Powercor spokesman Drew Douglas said the company hoped to restore power to residents at St Arnaud, Donald and Boort today.

It has already been restored at Wedderburn.

"Access was a big issue because there was half a metre of water in the substation, our crews were getting in and out of Charlton on boats, now they can use four-wheel drives,'' Mr Douglas told AAP.

"We are very hopeful that we can start getting folks back on throughout the day and we will try and restore power in those three towns (St Arnaud, Donald and Boort).

A substation at Charlton was flooded on Friday night, leaving  8000 properties without power in the northwestern Victorian towns of Wedderburn, St Arnaud, Donald, Birchip, Wycheproof and Boort.

"How quickly we restore power to the rest of the area depends on how we go today,'' he said.

Powercor and Master Electricians Australia have urged anyone who lost power not to risk their lives by turning on mains switches or plugging in water-damaged appliances.

They needed to be tested by a licensed electrical contractor before they were used, Master Electricians Australia chief executive Malcolm Richards stressed.

....And at night the wond’rous glory of the everlasting stars..  A.B (Banjo) Paterson
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« Reply #1006 on: January 16, 2011, 10:19:04 AM »

Even after the floods have abated and the massive clean up begins The damage to the infrastructure will enormous. It's like starting at all over again and will take years. Heart breaking.

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« Reply #1007 on: January 17, 2011, 08:38:10 PM »

Life in Brisbane is ever so slowly returning to normal for those who are not directly affected by the floods.  It would be the best way of community healing to get back to normal every day living.  Of course those who have lost loved ones, their homes and/or livelihoods, life will never be the same.

Floods in Victoria continue to disrupt about 40 towns as well as a great area of rich farm land.  Australia has had many natural disasters before such as out extreme bushfires (wildfires) and the greatest to date was Cyclone Tracy which decimated Darwin in 1974.  Out of that widespread destruction came a great many improvements to life in the capital of the Northern Territory as well as new building codes and restrictions.  I hope the same will arise from Brisbane's floods, and instead of developers being allowed to build in some flood prone areas, the authorities will restrict their urban sprawl.  Also I hope people will come to realise that the much sought after riverfront mansions and homes with river water views are not all that much more valuable in times of extreme flooding.

....And at night the wond’rous glory of the everlasting stars..  A.B (Banjo) Paterson
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« Reply #1008 on: January 17, 2011, 08:41:57 PM »

Premier Anna Bligh launches Queensland flood inquiry

    * Anna Caldwell and Sarah Vogler
    * From: The Courier-Mail
    * January 18, 2011 12:00AM

PREMIER Anna Bligh has vowed no question will be left unexamined by a year-long commission of inquiry into Queensland's devastating floods.

As Ms Bligh broke the news that the death toll from the past week had risen to 20, she said her government wanted the same thing from the inquiry as all Queenslanders: "answers to reasonable and legitimate questions".

"We are not going to sweep anything under the carpet," she said.

One line of inquiry is likely to examine the adequacy of flash flood warnings ahead of the disaster in the Lockyer Valley last Monday.

The inquiry will also examine how the release of water from Wivenhoe Dam into Brisbane River was handled and whether the city could have been spared some flooding.

Launching the $15 million statewide inquiry into the flooding, Ms Bligh said the issues were matters of life and death and Queenslanders had "every right" to ask questions about the operation of Wivenhoe Dam and the adequacy of warnings issued.

The announcement came as the death toll since the previous Monday lifted to 20.

Authorities also yesterday warned that a homelessness crisis and massive infrastructure cuts loomed for Brisbane.

Transport Minister Rachel Nolan conceded major infrastructure projects, like the Cross River Rail underground rail network, would need to be reconsidered in light of the Government's budgetary position post flood.

Meanwhile, a special taskforce is examining temporary housing options for the thousands of people displaced by the catastrophe. It is expected the commission of inquiry will pose a means of reducing the state's vulnerability to such a crisis in the future.

The commission, which will have the full powers of a royal commission, will provide an interim report in August and a final report in 12 months.

Justice Cate Holmes will head the inquiry, supported by two deputy commissioners former police commissioner Jim O'Sullivan and international dam expert Phil Cummins.

The commission will examine issues including operation of dams, adequacy of warning systems, performance of private insurers; and supply of basic and essential services such as water and power.

The commission will take submissions from the public and will hold public hearings. It is expected to travel through all flood-affected towns in the state, gathering evidence.

"We are not going to sweep anything under the carpet," Ms Bligh said, adding that she would be prepared to give evidence if required.

"If I was called to I would not hesitate. The government wants exactly the same thing as Queenslanders do out of this: Answers to reasonable and legitimate questions," the premier said.

Lord Mayor Campbell Newman yesterday welcomed the inquiry.

"I have some very firm views and I would be very happy to front up in a public forum and put those views on the table," he said.

....And at night the wond’rous glory of the everlasting stars..  A.B (Banjo) Paterson
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« Reply #1009 on: January 17, 2011, 08:43:57 PM »

Brisbane city gets back to work to assess flood losses

    * by Jodie Munro OBrien
    * From: The Courier-Mail
    * January 18, 2011 12:00AM

BRISBANE'S central business district returned to some semblance of normality yesterday as thousands of people returned to work for the first time since the city's streets were flooded.

Many caught up before work over a coffee, while shop owners madly tried to catch up on work and calculate the revenue lost, whether it was due to flooding or simply from having to unexpectedly close for almost a week.

Adrian Ploughman, manager of two Hype D.C. shoe stores in Queen Street Mall and on Albert St said the stores had lost about $20,000 worth of stock when the basement under the mall shop flooded. Another $80,000 in sales was lost since both stores closed on Tuesday afternoon and were not able to reopen because there was no power until Saturday.

Mr Ploughman said Saturday was so quiet the stores closed early but, by yesterday, sales had returned to normal Monday trading figures.

"On Saturday, there was no one in the city, just people worried about helping to clean up," he said. "Sunday wasn't too bad, there were a lot of tourists . . . but this morning feels like a normal Monday."

Then there are lost wages, particularly for casual staff, many uni students.

Buildings on the corner of Albert and Margaret streets, across from the Botanic Gardens, remained closed as water continues to be pumped out of storage basements and power remains disconnected.

Mark Balanay, owner of the Coffee Club in the AM60 building on Albert St, said he had not yet calculated his losses from the disruption.

He estimated he'd lost about $7000 in frozen and dry goods alone, plus freezers and compressors. He said he didn't expect to reopen for at least another week and a half, so estimated his total lost sales could end up close to $40,000.

The cafe had lost sales of up to $20,000 since last week.

"But I consider us lucky . . . in terms of what other people have lost," Mr Balanay said.

"The carpets are gone, the compressors for the built-in freezers and other freezers and fridges are still all under water on level two of the basement. But they expected the water to come up to 2.7m inside the store and we ended up with only 20cm, so I haven't lost the store.

"If I had, it would have been more like having to build another entire store."

....And at night the wond’rous glory of the everlasting stars..  A.B (Banjo) Paterson
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« Reply #1010 on: January 17, 2011, 08:52:55 PM »

Loddon, Wimmera rivers threaten power as flood-hit towns evacuate

    * Jay Savage, Jessica Craven
    * From: Herald Sun
    * January 18, 2011 2:52AM

UPDATE 11.52am: ABOUT 20,000 Victorians could be without power for up to a week if floods force the closure of a power station near Kerang, the SES says.

The town, in the state's north, is expected to be cut off in the next 24 hours as the Loddon River continues to swell.

Power authorities are frantically sandbagging and constructing levee walls at a key power substation ahead of the predicted flood peak early this afternoon.

SP AusNet, which operates the station, said there was a chance the power could be cut off if the waters breached the main control room.

"It's hard to say at this stage. It's something that we're monitoring very closely," said spokesman Joe Adamo.

He said the company was doing everything it could to prevent the waters threatening the substation, which supplies about 20,000 customers across an area stretching from Kerang to Swan Hill.

Mr Adamo would not comment on SES predictions any possible outage could last up to seven days, saying the floods were too difficult to predict.

Meanwhile, the SES warned the Wimmera River was expected to peak around midday today with several towns already evacuated.

Homes have been inundated in Horsham and hundreds more are surrounded by water as the Wimmera River takes hold of the western Victorian town.

The SES said 10 to 15 homes had been totally inundated by 10am and up to 500 were isolated by the rising river.

Evacuation alerts have been issued for several areas of Horsham as a one-in-200-year flood begins to deluge the town.

At 10.45am, a spokesman for power supplier Powercor said 480 homes in the town had lost power.

More homes may lose electricity as the waters spread, he said.

Water up to a metre deep has begun inundating homes and residents in Horsham, Horsham North and Horsham South early this morning were urged to evacuate.

Affected areas include streets surrounding Natoli Drive, Mardon Drive, Reed Street, Gillespie Street, Pepper Tree Lane and Pryors Lane.

The north and south of the town are likely to be cut off today.

Heavy vehicles are still being allowed over the Western Highway bridge but it may be closed down completely this afternoon.

Horsham SES incident controller Stephen Warren said it was impossible to know how many homes had water over the floorboards because vehicles could not enter the streets.

Flood modelling showed 111 properties were expected to be inundated if the river hit its forecast peak.

''I don't expect it to get too much higher over the next few hours,'' Mr Warren said.

''But a small level rise on the actual river can mean a significant rise in a part of town.''

Several intersections in the town's CBD are underwater, with the waters in Hamilton St so deep the road is inaccessible.

Water has inundated several businesses, including a petrol station and an electrical store.

The SES will hold a press conference at 9am.

Residents have been warned it's likely floodwaters will impact on their property before sunrise and they may be placing their lives at risk by remaining in their home.

Floodwaters are expected to peak later in the day, an SES spokeswoman said.

"We are expecting to see the peak maximum flood levels today and inundation will come with that," she said.

"Significant inundation of properties is currently being experienced with water up to a metre deep in some areas.

"Flooding of parts of the CBD is being monitored closely."

The spokeswoman said Burnt Creek had breached its banks and flowed onto Williams Road.

A weir at Wotonga Drive had broken its banks, but waters from it had not yet reached the road, she said.

Residents at Pyramid Hill in Victoria's central-north and Quambatook in the north of the state were also warned to evacuate overnight and to relocate to an emergency relief centre.

Horsham is increasingly resembling a lake that is separating it in two as floodwaters continue to rise during its "one in 200-year event".

Areas close to the centre of town are under up to a metre of water, including Firebrace, Hamilton and McPherson streets, SES spokeswoman Jane Fontana said.

Rows of houses south of the CBD are expected to be without power for days while roads are expected to be closed until tomorrow night or Thursday.

Earlier reports that a water gauge in the Wimmera River at Walmer Station, close to Horsham, had measured water levels at a record high of four metres - above the town's previous worst flood in 1909 - were wrong and due to a flooded creek knocking the gauge out of position, Ms Fontana said.

The major thoroughfare, the Western Highway, is under a metre of water near Horsham and is closed.

Burnt Creek in Horsham has risen high enough to cover one bridge and is threatening to cover two others.

Kerang is expected to be cut off as floodwaters reach the town in the next few days, while more than 80 homes in nearby Warracknabeal are expected to be flooded today.

Thousands of people in Horsham, Kerang and Swan Hill - three of the major towns in the Wimmera-Mallee region, are at risk of losing electricity supplies as floods threaten key substations at Kerang and Horsham.

If sandbagging and levies around the substations fail, they must be shut down to prevent long-term damage from the rising waters, Victorian Energy and Resources Minister Michael O'Brien said.

Late last night, the SES sent out an evacuation warning for Quambatook, south of Swan Hill, urging residents to flee to the Lake Boga Relief Centre.

At Allansford, near Warrnambool in the state's south-west, the Hopkins River is expected to peak between 5am and 10am today.

Water is expected to flow into properties at Allansford and cut the Princes Highway, which links Warrnambool with Melbourne.

Residents have been warned to evacuate to a relief centre in Warrnambool.

SES operations are expected to concentrate on a range of centres, including Echuca, Quambatook, Horsham, Pyramid Hill, Wycheproof, Durham Ox, Culgoa, Boort and Calivil.

- with AAP

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« Reply #1011 on: January 17, 2011, 09:48:05 PM »

Police will close access to Grantham for non-residents today after plea from locals

    * Suzanne Dorfield
    * From: The Courier-Mail
    * January 18, 2011 11:57AM

THE devastated town of Grantham will be closed to the public and media for a week, after a plea to police from local residents for time to grieve in peace.

Those residents evacuated from Grantham will slowly start returning today, but the town will be closed to outsiders for the next week to allow the community to come to terms with the devastation caused by floodwaters.

At least 10 people were killed in the area and its surrounds.

The community asked police to facilitate the closure so they can clean up and grieve in peace.

``We're just respecting their wishes to have privacy in this time,'' said a police spokeswoman.

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« Reply #1012 on: January 18, 2011, 03:56:11 PM »

Tibro I was just hoping that Zahra's mom and sisters are not located in any of the flood areas.

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« Reply #1013 on: January 18, 2011, 08:31:23 PM »

Tibro I was just hoping that Zahra's mom and sisters are not located in any of the flood areas.

4 Donks the town that Emily lives in is Wagga Wagga in New South Wales and they experienced floods in December.  I do remember reading at another site - forgotten which one (sorry Muffy  Cool ) where a friend of Emily assured everyone that Emily and family were not in the affected areas.


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« Reply #1014 on: January 18, 2011, 08:35:20 PM »

Tis the season of monsoon rains and tropical storms in our northern areas :

Residents warned that southeast Queensland faces even more wild weather in coming days

    * by Staff Writers
    * From: The Courier-Mail
    * January 19, 2011 10:02AM

EMERGENCY crews switched from recovery to rescue mode yesterday afternoon as the summer of storms showed it was far from over.

Heavy rain, damaging hail and strong winds battered the southeast after the hottest day of the year brought temperatures up to 34.6C.

The weather bureau has warned of more dangerous weather today and tomorrow.

In a setback for the recovery, Energex and emergency personnel yesterday had to be redeployed across Brisbane.

The suburbs in the firing line were Jimboomba, Forest Lake, Mitchelton and surrounding suburbs.

Falling trees crushed two cars in Everton Park and smashed properties in Brisbane's south, while houses also were severely damaged at Darra in the city's southwest.

An elderly woman was taken to hospital with a broken arm, after a tree cleaved through her roof into her home.

Wind gusts of 95km/h were recorded at Amberley while hail up to 4cm was reported around Bridgeman Downs.

In Jimboomba, a woman and three children had to be evacuated from their home after a tree crashed through their roof.

Peter Turner, manager of Jimboomba Home and Hardware, said the wild winds and rain shook the area.

"To me, it was like a cyclone," he said. "There was water full of debris flowing past horizontally."

Julie Wallerstein, 44, was at the Jimboomba Shopping Centre on the Mount Lindesay Highway when the storm hit.

"I saw a woman get out of her car and a tree branch fell and just missed her by an inch," she said.

Energex were aiming to have flood-affected homes reconnected by tomorrow, but this is now in doubt with more storms forecast today.

"We will continue to re-prioritise and judge as we go. More storms will present additional challenges," a spokesman said.

Traffic lights went down at Forest Lake and Stafford while 20,000 homes lost power due to downed powerlines across Brisbane.

Queensland Fire & Rescue has also warned of several small fires caused by electrical goods affected by floods. Six were reported on Monday night.

As the hampered recovery continues, Prime Minister Julia Gillard yesterday announced a taskforce of 10 leading Australian businessmen and women to help the Queensland flood rebuilding process.

Chaired by Treasurer Wayne Swan, the group includes trucker Lindsay Fox and former Queensland premier Wayne Goss, who will work on solutions and raise corporate funds to help rebuilding.

Ms Gillard was yesterday forced to leave open the prospect of additional taxes to pay for the cost of cleaning up the devastation caused by floods.

Senior Cabinet Ministers are also on notice to find billions of dollars in additional savings for the May Budget.

These could cause a price rise in key consumer items covering health, education and other commonwealth responsibilities to cover the flood costs.

Options to be considered also include spending on key roads, rail and other infrastructure which is likely to be given higher priority to ensure flood-hit regions can recover as quickly as possible.

 Rikki-Lee Arnold, Kate Higgins and Anthony Gough

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« Reply #1015 on: January 18, 2011, 08:38:16 PM »

20,000 Coast homes at flood risk

Sue Lappeman   |  January 19th, 2011

A LEADING disaster research centre has warned more than 20,000 Gold Coast homes built on floodplains and waterways could be at risk in a major flood.

Research by Macquarie University's Risk Frontiers has found that in the event of a one-in-100-year flood the Gold Coast would have the highest number of flood-prone residential properties in Australia  more than Brisbane and Ipswich combined.

The warning comes as weather forecasters predict up to four cyclones could form off the Queensland coast over the next two months, sending more heavy rain to the soaked southeast.

The independent research centre's director, Professor John McAneney yesterday said the Coast had been very lucky to escape the flooding. He said the Gold Coast was vulnerable to decaying tropical cyclones, which create the sort of rain patterns that caused the 1954 and 1974 floods.

''If you had one of those scenarios we would expect a similar outcome to what we saw in Brisbane,'' he said.

''You have the same sort of vulnerability as Brisbane, even more so because you have got a lot of homes built on rivers.

''The Gold Coast, like a lot of places along the east coast of Australia, is built on floodplains and sooner or later you are going to cop it. The losses when they do happen will be big.''

The research does not take into account flooding caused by storm water from overflowing drainage systems and coastal inundation from storm surges and rising sea levels.

Gold Coast councillor and planning committee boss Ted Shepherd agreed the Gold Coast was more vulnerable to cyclonic rain systems and river inundation with homes near the Nerang and Coomera River systems such as Hope Island, Labrador and Jacobs Well most at risk.

But he rejected concerns about canal estates at Mermaid and Broadbeach Waters and new estates built on the Carrara and Merrimac floodplain.

''Council has taken steps to make sure that development on the floodplains is secure," he said.

''I think our floodplain is pretty well protected by everything the council has done.

''Broadbeach Waters and Mermaid Waters will survive exceptionally well now in any flood simply because of added measures like the raising of the Hinze Dam.''

He said the council's planning was based on the worst case scenario with developers forced to build another 300mm above Q100 heights.

Any developer who does build on a floodplain must also compensate by providing some other flood storage such as a park or golf course.

He said he had the utmost faith the council's flood maps were just as good, if not better than Brisbane's.

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« Reply #1016 on: January 18, 2011, 08:41:55 PM »

Premier's Flood Relief Appeal reaches the $100 million mark

    * by Staff Writers
    * From: The Courier-Mail
    * January 19, 2011 8:56AM

THE appeal for Queensland's flood victims has surpassed $100 million with about a third coming from "mum and dad" donors.

The Premier's Flood Relief Appeal has reached $103,325,414 million, helped by a $5 million donation from Wesfarmers, $2 million from Flight Centre and $750,000 from Virgin Blue yesterday.

And Premier Anna Bligh paid tribute to everyday Australians who have chipped in $31 million so far.

"I think it's a tremendous way that Australia has said to Queensland 'we care about you' ..." Ms Bligh said.

News Limited has made a  $500,000 donation to the Flood Relief Appeal.  On Sunday, January 2, Brisbane's The Sunday Mail donated 50c from every paper sold to the appeal, raising $250,000 and News Limited donated an additional $250,000.

Ms Bligh said her government was involved in "very fruitful" discussions with the federal government about funding the state's recovery.

"We're currently in discussions with the federal government about how, between us, we can fund what is the largest reconstruction effort Australia's ever had to be put together," she said.

"We'll certainly be looking to ensure that they pay their share of the funds, and they understand that's going to be necessary."

To put the above into perspective Australia's current population is estimated at approximately 23 million.

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« Reply #1017 on: January 18, 2011, 10:25:07 PM »

Tibro I was just hoping that Zahra's mom and sisters are not located in any of the flood areas.

4 Donks the town that Emily lives in is Wagga Wagga in New South Wales and they experienced floods in December.  I do remember reading at another site - forgotten which one (sorry Muffy  Cool ) where a friend of Emily assured everyone that Emily and family were not in the affected areas.

Thank you. I was concerned that that might push her over the edge. Prayers are answered.

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« Reply #1018 on: January 19, 2011, 07:35:37 PM »

New Victorian flood front ruins farm sector

    * Cameron Stewart and Milanda Rout
    * From: The Australian
    * January 20, 2011 12:00AM

VICTORIA'S flood disaster will cost the state hundreds of millions of dollars, delivering a second crippling blow to the country's economy in weeks, after rampant floodwaters devastated the state's farming sector and rural infrastructure.

As estimates of the damage bill and the cost in lost production of the Queensland floods hit more than $30 billion, about one-third of Victoria was last night directly affected by the spreading floods.

The new head of the Victorian Floods Appeal, Ron Walker, told The Australian the floods were a tragedy, especially for farmers who had just endured years of drought.

"It will be hundreds of millions of dollars when you take into account the loss of crops and the damage to the infrastructure of Victoria," he said yesterday. "The exact figure is unquantifiable at the moment and I think will probably be for the months ahead."

The spiralling costs of the unfolding disaster coincided with a new emergency yesterday when fears emerged that the weir in the northwestern town of Dimboola could fail today, sending floodwaters surging through the town's streets and homes.

Last night many of the town's 2000 residents were evacuating their homes and taking shelter at the Dimboola Secondary College following an SES emergency warning that the overflowing weir was in danger of failure and that this could send fast-flowing water through the town.

In the state's north, the fate of the besieged township of Kerang will remain uncertain for the next three days as the surging waters of the Loddon river continue to pose a risk to the protective levees holding back massive amounts of floodwater.

Engineers fixed leaks in the levee yesterday, but SES state operations manager Tim Wiebusch said the levee would remain a risk for the next three days because of the huge wall of water bearing down on Kerang.

"This flood emergency is still far from over," he said, with waters around several towns, including Dimboola, Jeparit, Brim and Beulah, yet to peak.

Emergency Services Minister Peter Ryan said the floods, which have hit more than 1730 properties, were far from over, with waters expected to keep travelling north in the next 10 days.

"This is without doubt the most significant flood in Victoria in the north and the northwest regions since the records began, something in the order of 130 years ago," Mr Ryan said.

As the floodwaters continue to wreak havoc, the true cost of the damage bill is starting to be realised. The Victorian Employers Chamber of Commerce and Industry estimates the cost to the state's economy will run into the hundreds of millions of dollars.

Although Victorian Premier Ted Baillieu has announced the establishment of a flood taskforce, responsible for providing initial assistance to affected communities, the chamber said that because of the scope of the damage it needed to include representatives from outside government, as had occurred in Queensland.

The Victorian Farmers Federation backed the damage estimates, saying there had been devastating loss of grain and horticultural crops and significant livestock losses.

"Some of the greatest impact has been on grains, with some crops wiped out completely," said VFF deputy president Peter Tuohey. This would cost affected farmers "tens of millions of dollars" as the grains would be downgraded in quality and price.

"This year was supposed to be the best year ever after so many years of drought and now it's turned out to be a real gut-wrenching year," he said. "It will devastate a lot of farmers."

Mr Tuohey said Victoria provided a third of the country's grains and about a third of the nation's stonefruit. There would be additional pressure on Victoria to provide more fruit and vegetables, given the damage sustained to crops in Queensland- and the state's floods did not help.

"There will certainly be a lack of supply," he said.

Mr Tuohey said the floods would cause relatively small price rises in grains, because some grain crops had already been largely harvested. "There will be a small flow on which will affect the price of bread," he said. "But the impact on the fresh fruits will be worse. There will be a shortage of stone-fruits from the area."

Premier Ted Baillieu said Mr Walker, a former chairman of Fairfax Media and currently head of the Australian Grand Prix Corporation, was the right man to lead the Red Cross Victorian Floods Appeal because he had an accomplished fundraising record.

"These are the worst floods ever to hit the northern and northwestern Victoria. They have caused widespread devastation to local communities and massive long-term assistance will be required to help these communities recover and rebound,' Mr Baillieu said.

The Premier, who has already warned that the floods will deliver a "significant whack" to the state's economy, said last night the floods had caused enormous damage to roads, bridges, hospitals, utilities and mobile phone towers.

Yesterday floodwaters from four swollen rivers - the Wimmera, Avoca, Loddon and Campaspe - continued to surge north towards the Murray, threatening new towns and leaving a string of devastated communities.

Waters around the town of Warracknabeal peaked last night, flooding some streets, but homes were largely spared due to sandbag fortifications.

The VFF is working with the Department of Primary Industries on fodder drops to save the lives of livestock stranded by the floodwaters, which have affected 1730 properties.

Additional reporting: Stephen Lunn, AAP

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« Reply #1019 on: January 19, 2011, 07:41:06 PM »

Flood danger zones may not be redeveloped, Premier Bligh says

    * Anna Caldwell
    * From: The Courier-Mail
    * January 20, 2011 12:00AM

A REBUILDING squad with statutory powers will decide if entire suburbs decimated by flood will ever be redeveloped.

The announcement came as authorities warned tomorrow's king tide could cause flooding in areas that avoided last week's devastation.

  At least 20 lives have been lost in the flood catastrophe, and police still hold grave fears for 12 missing.

Lord Mayor Campbell Newman last night warned tomorrow's tide, set to peak at 2.65m about 10.30am, could cause localised flooding that would be worse if it combined with rainfalls.

Areas at risk include Windsor, Albion, Hemmant, Stones Corner, Manly, Lota, Sandgate, Brighton, Deagon, Boondall and Wynnum.

Cr Newman said a king tide was different to a river flood.

"My message to Brisbane residents is that while some of you may have stayed high and dry last week, you could get wet on Friday and over the weekend," he said.

"If you live in a foreshore or low lying area, by the river, or near a creek, you must be prepared for some localised flooding on Friday."

As the dramatic clean-up from last week's floods continued, Premier Anna Bligh said "very tough decisions" about rebuilding lay ahead, flagging that some suburbs might never be rebuilt in the same way.

"The reconstruction authority will be charged with working with local governments to determine, in some cases, whether we should be rebuilding exactly the same thing in exactly the same place, whether it's a bridge, or whether it's a suburb," she said.

"We owe it to future generations to bite the bullet and make the right (decisions).

"The last thing we want to do is rebuild in the same place and see that home flooded again in two or three years' time."

The rebuilding authority will have powers similar to those of a co-ordinator general and will replace the initial recovery taskforce headed by Major-General Mick Slater.

The statutory authority will have greater power than the taskforce and will co-ordinate the rebuilding program in 60 flood- affected communities, with Maj- Gen Slater chairing a board of five.

Co-ordinator-General Graham Newton has been seconded to the authority as chief executive.

A federal government representative will also serve on the board, which will be able to avoid the normal planning approval process so projects don't "stagnate", Ms Bligh said.

She said the authority would enter into discussions with affected communities about where and if they rebuild.

"I know they're going to be difficult decisions but we're not going to march in and tell people, we're going to sit down with communities and have discussions," Ms Bligh said.

"For some people it may be that instead of rebuilding a home as before, it may need to be on stilts."

The authority will be established by an Act of Parliament in February.

Maj-Gen Slater said his recovery task had expanded exponentially. "The new authority will have the capacity and the legal authority to do what needs to be done . . . I'm actually looking forward to getting the expertise of the board around me," he said.

There would always be hard decisions, he added, "but it's not hard to make the right decisions".

....And at night the wond’rous glory of the everlasting stars..  A.B (Banjo) Paterson
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