Monday, 1 February 2016

Fire and flood at the same time in Tasmania, Australia

Not only do we have disastrous fires destroying ancient rainforests but we have flood. Notice how the fires (and their consequences) are underplayed

Tasmania battling fire and flood emergencies at the same time


29 January, 2016

A REFUGE has been set up at the Triabunna council chambers for those stranded in the area.
The Tasman Highway between Buckland and Orford has been closed due to flooding and landslides, as has the highway a kilometre north of Triabunna.
One holiday-maker, who asked not to be named, said he and his young family were stuck on the other side of the Orford Rivulet, which was now a torrent.
He had been forced to walk into town for supplies, crossing the river via the beach.
I spoke to the police and they said just to sit tight — the road south is closed and they don’t know how long that will be the case for, “ he said.
They told me there was no point trying to get out at his stage.”

3.50PM UPDATE: TASMANIA Police are urging motorists to drive to the conditions as flood waters continue to cause more road closures.
Inspector Doug Rossiter, of the South-East Division, said that there were a number of road closures currently in place, including the Tasman Highway between Orford and Runnymede and the Tasman Highway at Bicheno just north of Apsley River. The Tasman Highway north of Swansea at Meredith River is expected to open soon for four-wheel drive vehicles only.
Please check road closures before you set out and avoid any roads that are flooded or affected by water,” he said.
2PM UPDATE: RESIDENTS on the East Coast have battened down as they prepare for more storms, which have closed the highway between Hobart and Orford.
Glamorgan Spring Bay Mayor Michael Kent, who has taken refuge at the Gateway Cafe with other Orford locals and tourists, said Tasmania Police had just closed the Tasman Highway at Orford because of a rockfall.
Businesses such as the Orford pub and golf club and the Triabunna IGA have closed due to flooding damage and the road to Spring Beach is also closed.
The East Coast will continue to be hammered with torrential rain, winds and thunder and lightning over the next two days.
Two weeks ago we were screaming for water and now we’ve got that much we don’t know what to do with it,” Cr Kent said.
Gray resident Michelle Kaal said she and daughter Brittany were woken up at 3.30am this morning when their house was shaking.
The thunder and lightning was really right on top of the house – it was literally shaking with it and there were a couple of lots of lightning that lit up the whole house,” she said.
Gray, located just south of St Marys, had around 362mm of rain in just over 48 hours to 9am today and is one of many East Coast towns suffering through record rainfalls.
We might have to blow up the dinghy in the shed and get some oars to go into town today,” Mrs Kaal said.
Once the rain actually stops, usually the bulk of it disappears within 24 hours.”
TasNetworks said lightning strikes and fallen power lines had caused widespread power outages across the state, with around 1500 people currently without power.
For all current outages and estimated restoration times visit:
Bureau of Meteorology spokesman Malcolm Riley said about 30 daily records were broken yesterday for rainfall in January, mostly in the north and along the east coast.
He said the event was far from over.
Every year or two we get a decent east coast rain event and this is a premier league sort of situation and it’s got a long way to run so it may be one very much of note,” he said.
The Prosser River has covered the road 1km from Orford on the Tasman Highway. Picture: LUKE BOWDEN

This is just the way things tend to happen on the East Coast — every now and then they get an
absolute dumping of rain.
Our forecasts have backed off a bit for tomorrow but have increased for Sunday.
Flooding at Orford on the East Coast.The Orford Bowls Club under water.

The sea temperatures off our east and north coast are about two degrees above normal so that’s actually providing a bit of extra energy to this system.”
Mr Riley said Launceston, Westbury Meander, Strath Bridge, Friendly Beaches and Cressy all recorded their highest daily rainfall total for all time yesterday.
The town of Gray, just south of St Marys, had around 362mm of rain in just over 48 hours to 9am today.
St Marys Hotel barman Rodney Spilsbury said flooding in the town this morning reached about three meters deep.
The main street above the hotel going out towards St Mary’s pass was in full flood,” he said.
All the street and the vicinity which they call ‘the flat’ was one sheet of water, but it’s all dropped now. It happened quickly, but they reckon there’s more on the way so we’re just waiting.”

Only road access to Temma cut off by bushfire damage to bridge Picture: NIKKI DAVIS-JONES

Meanwhile bushfire ravaged Temma in the northwest was isolated after the fire damaged the only bridge into the area.
Without the bridge, residents of Temma and Couta Rocks remain cut off from the rest of the state.
Currently, the only way out of the area is by boat.
Bureau of Meteorology spokesman Malcolm Riley said the heaviest areas of rainfalls were in the northwest away from the northeast fire front.
Unfortunately not a lot got into the fire area — only about 1mm or so,” he said late yesterday.
Despite the downpours, Mole Creek is the latest town to be placed on water restrictions today.
TasWater regional services department manager Mark McConnon said the impact of prolonged dry conditions continued to have an impact on the North West town despite rain in the past 24 hours.
Recent bushfires in the area saw an increase in consumption over the last week and the inflow into the weir has not been able to keep up with demand,” Mr McConnon said.
Mole Creek joins Campbell Town/Ross, Triabunna, Orford and Launceston on stage one restrictions.
Bridport, Swansea, Colebrook, Currie and Whitemark remain on stage two water restrictions.
Thunderstorms and heavy rain, which may lead to flash flooding, are forecast for the same areas today and over the weekend.
Rainfall totals of 50-100mm were expected in the North East today, with rain also increasing on the East Coast this morning and a flood watch continuing for all North and Eastern river basins. Higher rain totals are possible around elevated areas.
Meanwhile, firefighters and drought-stricken farmers could take heart from the latest Bureau of Meteorology outlook for the February to April period issued yesterday.
The Climate Outlook Overview indicates that rainfall is likely to be above average in central and southern Australia and drier than average in the far north.
Road closure information is available at
FloodSafe advice is available at
For emergency assistance call the SES on telephone number 132 500.

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