Australian Climate – Talk About the Weather!

That’s Wiped the Smug “Hot and Sunny With Clear Blue Skies” Off My Face

As I understood it, when I originally moved here, Australia was a hot and sunny country with predominantly clear blue skies. And it’s true, I have witnessed it many times. But when it rains, my word. Does it rain!

When we arrived here in November 2007, the locals joked that we bought the British rain with us. At the time the dam levels were at about 32% here in the Brisbane region. That’s low enough to be a concern and to impose water restrictions.

Last week I was moaning about the demise of my video camera which I dropped spectacularly when filming the flooding to the side of our house. Others fared much worse.

All of the places mentioned in that news item are in the North West of Brisbane about 20 km (plus or minus) from here. They appear to have copped the worst of it again, as they did during the storms in November. Elsewhere, up and down the coast, the story has been the same.

300 people were evacuated from Murwillumbah in New South Wales, about two hours south of Brisbane. 21,000 homes were without power. 100 km winds hit the Gold Coast. Over at Kenmore, just 10 minutes drive from here, in Kenmore State High School and Kenmore State School, some students and teachers were stranded and unable to leave.

It was one of the wettest days ever recorded in south east Queensland’s history.

Five Disasters in the Last Year

South east Queensland has now been declared a natural disaster zone, and that’s the fifth disaster in Queensland in one year. The others have been, and I am taking the information from my own blog, so it may just be wrong: the storm in November 07, flooding in northern Queensland February of this year, then there was the (briefly mentioned here) oil spill and Cyclone Hamish.

The Queensland Treasury had budgeted $130 million for disaster assistance but has spent $300 million already this year and that does not include the costs that will be incurred by these latest floods.

They say that the English love to talk about the weather. The locals joked that we bought the English weather with us. But I can tell you, we don’t get weather like this in England and if we did, we’d probably never stop talking about it. They were still talking about Michael Fish and the “don’t worry, there won’t be a hurricane” thing when I was last there. When was that? October 1987, that’s when! But it just seems like a part of life here.

Is it beginning to put me off? Not a chance! We probably had 36 hours of rain in the last set of floods and when it stopped we got sunshine again. In the UK, the rain gets dragged out over a much longer periods. Endless days of drizzle.

Here, flash, flood, done.

As painful as that is in some houses it doesn’t wear you down,  psychologically, as much as the constant drizzle. And look on the bright side. The dam levels are now at 73% and the strict water restrictions are off. We can now water the lawns – just when we don’t need to.

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