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article imageSydney as usual — So now it’s floods Special

By Paul Wallis     Feb 8, 2020 in World
Sydney - The general reaction of Sydneysiders to sudden very heavy rain has been "Now what?" Short answer, flooding. I spent a couple of hours trying to dig my neighbour out of getting washed away.
Sydney flooding has all the sirens going again, and this rain is expected to last for another week or two. Regular updates are all over the place, but the next message is that it is unbelievably wet.
Our emergency services are as usual working around the clock. For them, it's one job after another. Any number of situations can arise, people could be at serious risk, flooding can affect electrical wiring, and so on.
Sydney is very prone to flooding. Low-lying areas tend to get the run-off from the entire city. Drains can’t handle the flow, et cetera. The problem is that everything then banks up into major cleanups and massive emergency operations.
Short summary:
Sydney rail networks are seriously disrupted.
Major road flooding is normal and not doing much for Sydney's overloaded traffic.
Property damage, power outages, and hazardous conditions are expected for the next week at least.
New South Wales is expecting the biggest downpour since the 1990s.
That actually does mean something. I remember the 1990s downpour, and it was solid rain for weeks.
A personal experience
My neighbour got flooded out in an hour and a half. The property is at the bottom of the hill, and the water had pooled almost immediately, coming inside.
Fortunately, one of my other neighbours noticed the problem and came to help and I followed. Another neighbour and I tried to dig trenches to divert the water and scoop out the water to get away from the door. We did actually succeed, but the sheer amount of rain is the obvious problem.
Digging wet clay hasn't got any easier. Under the client was bone dry powdered clay, which didn't want to be dug, it took a while. Both of us were pretty much exhausted after a couple of hours with a shovel and a mattock (pickaxe) successfully creating small levees. Both of us were absolutely soaked, including my quilted shirt which was absolutely sodden.
My flooded neighbour meanwhile tried to clean up the water which had got in. It was a very tough task. She had to turn off the power, obviously, and try and dry things out as much as possible. Fortunately other neighbours also came to the rescue to help with the cleanup and to move her terrified new puppy to a safer place.
Eventually, either the local strata plumber or emergency services will have to pump out the area. The area need proper drainage and gathering, with a dedicated outlet, and there is absolutely nothing of the sort. The nearest outlet is uphill 20 m away.
To put all this in perspective – The entire east coast is currently under serious threat of flooding. Byron Bay alone received 300 mm of rain. Other areas are at risk of flash flooding all along the coast.
The interesting thing is that nobody is really complaining. After five months of smoke and fires, we can live with this.
More about Sydney, Sydney flooding 2020, State emergency services, flash flooding
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