From fires to floods in the space of a week? Only in Australia.

Posted: January 29, 2013 in Sunshine
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

I know I promised a review of Anberlin’s latest album ‘Vital’ at the end of last week, but then the weather turned nasty and I didn’t have a solid internet connection for the entire weekend. The review will definitely be up this week, but in the meantime I feel like this is the perfect time to write about crazy weather patterns of the (mostly) beautiful country and (usually) lovely city in which I live.

A week or so ago, Australia was on fire. Families lost their homes, areas had to be evacuated, a few towns were almost entirely destroyed and both the city and rural firefighters were struggling to get everything under control. We experienced a heatwave, with temperatures that were practically unheard of in some areas. Sydney faced a few 40 degree+ days, including a 46 degree scorcher on the day of Sydney’s leg of the Big Day Out music festival. Thankfully it didn’t get quite so hot here in Brisbane, but temperatures definitely exceeded those of our usual hot and sticky sub-tropical summer days. The back yard of my house in northern suburbia was getting drier by the minute and I actually contemplated breaking water restrictions to give it a good soaking in the hope of preventing it from spontaneously catching on fire. It didn’t light up – luckily – but the possibility was there. Everybody was on high alert.

Fast-forward to today and Queensland and northern New South Wales are in the process of recovering from an entirely different natural disaster. There has been record rainfall, extreme winds of over 125 km/h, several mini-tornadoes and as a result, widespread flooding and devastation. Roads have been cut by flood-waters leaving towns inescapable and unreachable except by boat or air. Rivers, creeks and streams have burst their banks, with tidal flooding expected to peak today – two days after we experienced the majority of the rainfall. More families have lost their homes, while others will be attempting to repair water-damage for weeks to come. More areas have been evacuated and other regions have been almost completely destroyed. Tree branches and debris litter every yard and street, including my own. I am very lucky to not have woken up with broken windows or a tree  in my bedroom and I know many others who feel the same relief. Recovery is beginning, but it will be months before any of the affected areas are truly back to normal.

If you live in Australia, or have seen any international news from Australia over the last couple of years, or know how to Google, you will know that this is certainly not the first time this part of Australia has experienced this kind of flooding and devastation, nor were the fires we experienced prior to the floods a one-time event. It seems impossible that a country can go from extreme drought to flooding in the space of a week, or for me to say that right now I can look out my window and see blue sky and sunshine – but that is Australia. And Australia is home.

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