Australia: Bushfires, Floods, Cyclones, When Will It End?

I had hoped that today would be a good time to change the mood of this blog and post about something light and entertaining, maybe even be a bit witty. And I thought it would make a change to write a post that didn’t mention the words rain, floods or cyclone. (Dang! Too late.)

But yesterday, when we were out and about shopping for light fittings, (how exciting is that?) my wife received a text from someone she knows in Perth. Part of which said…..

“Today, the surrounding areas have been evacuated due to fire. The winds have blown in the other direction and some people have lost their homes.”

By the time we watched the evening news, about 30 people had lost their homes and as I write this article now, the total stands at 59.

These are houses to the east of Perth just about 40 minutes drive from the city. And these aren’t the only bushfires to affect Western Australia this year either. About four weeks ago, 110 km south of Perth, fires were destroying homes too.

I checked out some of the YouTube videos about this latest disaster in Australia and it was interesting to see the comment on one of them, which said something like, and I’ve cleaned up the language…

“Bushfires? Australia? But last week it was flooding! What the……”

Obviously the commenter was not a reader of this blog because we all know how big Australia is, don’t we? And we have been here before, in fact just two years ago.

In my post back in February 2009 called North and South. More Than Miles Apart, tragic bushfires were out of control in Victoria whilst Queensland was flooded with parts of the state receiving 300 mm of rain a day.

Sound familiar?

I am often asked “when will it all end?” The answer is simple. It won’t. This is the Australian climate, it is extreme, it has been throughout Australia’s history and it’s not likely to change any time soon.

Here’s the news from Network Ten….

 

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{ 6 comments… add one }
  • Jesse Aru January 29, 2013, 10:25 pm | Link

    Those floods and storms in Queensland currently must be really hard. I’ve lost all contact with family up there, I hope that they are alright. Hope that you don’t have too much damage Bob 🙂

    • BobinOz January 31, 2013, 12:46 am | Link

      No, no damage where I am, Brisbane got off very lightly. See my report here. Telephone lines went down for many people though, including mobile, but hopefully you have been able to get in touch with your family by now.

      Cheers

      Bob

  • BobinOz February 11, 2011, 8:27 pm | Link

    Thanks Gordon, that’s an excellent roundup of our current situation. Thanks for taking the time to do it. Happy for you to mention that resort chain too.

    And you are right to pull me up a bit on what I said about Australia’s climate. It is what it is and it’s not going to change, but I can see now how what I said could be misunderstood.

    We are having an extreme time right now, and will probably have another extreme time in 30 or 40 years. But generally speaking, the weather in Australia is glorious and one of this country’s best features.

    In fact it is probably true to say, and I have mentioned it somewhere on this blog, that the hot, sunny and clear blue skies I have enjoyed so often in the three and a bit years I’ve been here have made it almost impossible for me to be miserable.

    Back in England, where the vast majority of days are dull and grey and drizzly, it was so easy for me to be miserable. Being miserable here is so much harder to do.

    So, instead, here, I find I just have to be happy. Which is tough, being as I have reached “grumpy old man” age.

  • Gordon February 10, 2011, 8:12 pm | Link

    So do I Bob , so do many !

    I think at times like this it pays to take a slightly longer term view. Certainly there will be businesses , not to mention individuals that will suffer , already have done. You’ve made mention of the community spirit that kicks in during these times , it brings out the best in most of us and helps us endure .

    For industry , it’s a double edged sword , by that I mean there will be gains and losses .

    For Agribusiness , short term losses for sure BUT the moisture in the ground throughout Queensland will grow crops and livestock for some time . After 10 years of drought , the land needed this drink. ( That is way too simple but i have no wish to write a book here 😉 )

    For mining , in particular coal mining , Queensland supplies about 50- 60% of the worlds coking coal , used for steel production. Some of those mines are flooded and / or rail links are down for now , that means the price of coking coal will go up , therefore losses now are likely to be mitigated by higher prices for a while.

    Tourism . Hmmm. This is a wild card , we had Oprah here recently extolling the virtues of Oz to an America which is still getting over the GFC as is the rest of the world to various degrees. Strong Aussie $ does not help attract foreign visitors. ——– HOWEVER ( I do try to look on the bright side ) there is great incentive for working backpackers to come here on a working visa , that is an easy visa to get as farmers especially are often in need of pickers and packers . Great way to see the country for the young and fit .

    A good friend of mine works for a well known resort chain ( not sure if it would be seen to be promotion if I mentioned the name Bob ? ) Anyway , bookings are solid there for not so cheap apartments , so those with money are still coming here too.

    Bob said –
    “I am often asked “when will it all end?” The answer is simple. It won’t. This is the Australian climate, it is extreme, it has been throughout Australia’s history and it’s not likely to change any time soon.”

    That is true , however it’s not not every year. In fact , these extremes are the exception rather than the rule , on average.

    The area of Australia that endured exceptional weather recently , while notable , is a small fraction of the continent as a whole.

    Australia is open for business , the drought is largely over , and it’s a wonderful place to live or visit !

  • BobinOz February 10, 2011, 1:38 pm | Link

    Well, that’s more encouraging news than listening to the people who are saying we are stuck with a la Nina event for the next 10 years! I very much liked the last paragraph you quoted, so much so I’ll quote it aswell….

    “Most of the models are predicting that by winter this year we’ll back to neutral conditions, and certainly the extreme rainfall events are less likely once you’re back in neutral conditions.”

    I hope he’s right!

  • Gordon February 8, 2011, 7:27 pm | Link

    Hopefully things will start getting back to more normal patterns soon .

    http://www.news.com.au/national/

    In part –
    “It’s been pretty full-on for six months,” Dr Braganza told news.com.au.

    “Usually the monsoon kicks in during the second half of December, but the rain started in August and by the time the monsoon proper arrived, the ground was saturated.

    “But autumn is the transitional period. It’s the reboot button for La Nina and El Nino.
    Most of the models are predicting that by winter this year we’ll back to neutral conditions, and certainly the extreme rainfall events are less likely once you’re back in neutral conditions.”

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