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Live From The Brisbane 'HOLY SHIT IT'S COMING RIGHT FOR US' Flood Zone

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Alright, just to keep you all up to date with things here.

As some of you will know, I recently returned from a family trip to Europe for three weeks. The whole time, back in Australia, it rained. It rained and rained and rained some more. And the concerns began over the rivers. There's been drought here in recent years, but now the real concern was what would happen with all the water.

Then, on Monday, shit went down. A small town upriver called Toowoomba got annihialated by what's been described as an 'inland tsunami'. 8 people were killed, and a 30 foot high surge swept through the town. The whole thing is underwater now, and other towns have been cut off for as long as a month. That surge then entered the main river system, and is now moving towards the city (Toowoomba is/was on a river that lead to the Bremer River, which feeds directly into the Brisbane River).

The trick is going to be the next 24/48 hours. The big thing is that at the moment, due to the position of the moon, we're getting king tides through here, meaning that the water goes even higher. Ipswich, which is just upriver, is expected to reach a max river level of 20 metres. Here, further downriver where it's wider, the expectation is that it'll go up another 5. That's enough to take in the townhouses by the river, and the apartments near the water. The carpark goes below the river level, so that's going to flood.

To make it even better, we're now getting reports that snakes are entering the complex. That's understandable; I'm not bad with snakes, and can sympathise with them. However, for all who read Cracked.com, you'll know that the snakes (and most of the wildlife here) are designed purely to give us a really bad day. So I've got a towel under the door in the hope that they'll go eat that damn terrier next door.

So I'll keep y'all up-to-date, and post pictures as I can. I'll aim for every two hours or so, but I may lose power at some point.

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Tuomey

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Oh gods.

I hope your power stays on, mate.
Lack of power sucks.

Snakes! Baseball bats? Riot gear?

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O man mess that is terrible!

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Onlything that could get worse is when the power goes out all you will have for entertainment will my your annoying next door neighbor with his Justin Beiber mix CD

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The entertainment will soon be the shoving of that CD into the orifices that the neighbor would rather have no CDs shoved into.

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At which point, I'll feed him to the snakes.

Right, update time.

The water continues to rise, with the walkway heading out onto the river now submerged. The local jetty that the river ferry comes to is buried in both water and debris; I hold no hope in it surviving another few hours.

Went for a walk with my mother in hope of finding an LPG cylinder, but the hardware store was closed. When we got to the supermarket, the door was closed essentially in our faces. We soon found the reason why. The road just over was beginning to flood. It leads directly to the river, so the water is certainly climbing. Fortunately, the 7/11 was open, so we got two more bottles of milk. We're now essentially sorted; the only real thing we lack is LPG, but the place my parents live at is essentially a community. We'll be fine.

The only thing that bothers me now is that we're getting rubberneckers tramping through the complex. The main gates have been left open to allow people to evacuate if the power goes out, and people are leaving the gates leading to part of the walkway that's above water (that's been blocked off by the council) open. This normally wouldn't be a concern for me, but the parking garage is wide open too. I'm just being suspicious, most likely, but I can't help but remember that white Australia was first populated by convicts...

No call-up yet from the head of the complex, although on my walk, I was stopped by a guy who's brother has a broken back, and they needed assistance getting some tables to high ground. In the whole spirit of 'help a brother out', I helped him with the tables. He was very grateful, and I now feel like I've achieved something today. Which is nice. I did also send of a job application, just in case the power goes out.

There's minimal panic here. In fact, there's almost a spectative feeling going on. There's a huge crowd by the water, watching the debris drift past. I've been down there with my camera, and will upload photos soon.

High tide is in three hours, but I think we're ready for that. The moving trucks loaded with belongings will bug out soon, and then we'll be here. I've got my chips and whisky ready, so I'm all set up to watch.

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Sweet, just thrilling enough to be exciting rather than horrifying. Just hope that megashark and/or giant octopus don't show up.

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Or worse...

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JT_the_Ninja

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Messernacht wrote:Or worse...


Luckily, we have this:

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Tuomey

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If there are flying sharks there can be a flying Jaws.
Ergo, we need bigger tanks.

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Tuomey

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EDIT: Link, in case you want to read the rest. Context: Captain of a Foundation armed Mobile Task Force wrote a document about joining it.
If you don't know what the Foundation is, well, then you haven't been clicking my links and I'll [DATA EXPUNGED]mmer and ██████ in your [REDACTED].

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JT_the_Ninja

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[]

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Right. Power's back on, so I'll get this done fast in case it goes again.

We lost power yesterday afternoon at 1330. Immediately, we all went into Damage Control-mode, sorting out everything for the high-tide that was to come. At 1400, the carparks started to fill with water as the water began backing up the drains. All the cars and belongings had been moved by then, so it was literally a matter of waiting. The water levelled off at high-tide, and we all breathed a bit easier.

Dinner was a BBQ at the apartment across the way. While there, we engaged in a drinking game called 'Pontoon'. Whenever a barge or a pontoon drifted past, the person who spotted it would call "PONTOON!" All the players would then proclaim the same, and drink. I've put away a third of my bottle of Johnnie Walker Black, which was hillarious.

Drama began at 2000, when Police and military representatives began inspecting the walkway that moved out over the river. The segment is 300 metres long and weighs the better part of 150 tonnes of concrete and steel. Word was given to us that the military was going to scuttle the walkway to prevent it breaking free in the King Tide at 0400 Thursday morning. By which, they were going to solve the problem using the immortal words of Jamie Hynneman. "When in doubt, C4". However, the decision was made to leave it, as the belief was that the walkway would be fine. All of us were in bed by 2100.

I slept badly, waking up at 0000 and 0200. Finally, at 0400, I decided to get up and go onto the balcony overlooking the river. It was from here that I watched the decision-makers be proven wrong in spectacular fashion, as the whole 300 metre, 150 ton walkway finally rose above its pylons and set off downriver in one intact piece. It was like watching a cargo ship sailing past. The whole thing cleaned up the pier 200 metres downstream and set off towards the ocean. A major bridge is in the way, but it appears that the actions of a quick-thinking tugboat captain pulled a 'Litttle Tugboat That Could' and managed to guide it past.

As dawn broke, I went for a walk. The area in which I'm staying was alright, except for one street which has completely submerged. I watched as a Police 4WD tried to get down it, but stopped 5 metres in. There's no signal from the TV, and we've got no idea how long the power will stick around for. Theoretically, the maximum high point of water was half an hour ago, which makes sense with them turning the power back on. Nevertheless, I've got my phone and MP3 player (radio) on the charger, making the best that I can of this window.

The death-toll of the floods has reached 14, and there're helicopters everywhere in the sky. I watched as a plush one flew up and down the river, and reckon it was carrying either the Lord Mayor, the State Premier, or the Prime Minister herself (although then I would have been blinded by her flaming red hair).

Anyway, picture time:



So here's a pontoon making a daring escape. The Coastguard is tracking these things, and shipping warning have been issued.



Here's part of the walkway, before it set off in search of fame and fortune



The local CityCat ferry pier. It, and all the other piers along the river, are now gone.



Remember that walkway? This is all that's left...

So we're now on the downhill stretch. The water has supposedly maxed out, and will now subside over the coming days. There's going to be a bit of a clean-up, of course, but we'll deal with that as it comes. Until then, I'll keep the updates coming.

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Tuomey

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I hope you're okay Mess, this looks like a real ordeal :C

it is all reminiscent of hurricane Ike

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JT_the_Ninja

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Alright, update time again.

It's dawn on what's probably Day Four of what's rapidly becoming one of the biggest disasters in Queensland history. It still continues to amaze me how this country throws at your from the opposite ends of the spectrum. Two years ago, we had the worst bushfires in recorded history, with 173 killed. Now we have water still pouring through a major city.

When I last left you all, the power had just come back on, and we were heading to the next-door apartment for drinks. Some of the guys from the complex and I were drinking beers and whisky, when we heard a call from downstairs. The complex manager asked if we could lend a hand sweeping out the top garage, which had drained of water by this point, but was still covered under a thick layer of silt. Took us the better part of an hour and a half, with hoses and eight men sweeping in a line. And it was great; all hauling together to get the job done.

My father and I drew the short straw, and ended up with the 0200 and 0500 shifts refuelling the pumps that were drawing the water out of the second garage, which is significantly lower than the first, and still under at least a metre of water. I'm reasonably tall for my family, so I have no trouble, but my dad was nearly up to his chest at some points. I've been awake most of the night, keeping an eye on the pumps, and we're starting to gain on it. We should have it cleared by midday/late afternoon, and then it'll be sweeping time again. This one should be easier; it's a downhill slope without the pain-in-the-ass alcoves. The kicker is that there's a switchboard down there somewhere that we've got to bring back online.

I'm able to read the papers online now, and the destruction further upriver and down is something on a scale I've never seen. I feel unqualified to draw comparisons, but Brisbane is a city underwater at the moment. But there's a vast difference between seeing things in the paper and seeing them in real-life.

The kicker is, it's still going. The surge is still rolling down the river, swamping towns as it goes. Bundaberg (yes, like the rum. Actually, it's where they make the rum) is critically low on bread and milk due to panic buying, to the point that they had to send four C-130 Hercules up there with supplies.

The real sad thing is that there are people taking advantage of the situation and being just plain greedy. The bakers on the corner announced that they were about to close, and had 14 loaves of bread in the oven. The very next person in line asked for eight. At the 7/11 on the corner, a lady loaded crates, whole crates of milk into the back of her hatchback. The great irony is that this was before the power went off, so all that milk probably went off. The death-toll is expected to rise, and rise dramatically, from the 14 that it's currently on.

In any case, my family and friends are still high and dry, and swinging into clean-up mode. I'll check in later on with anything else that's going on.

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Good to hear you and your family are OK
success with cleaning all that slick

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Quick one.

So I went for a bit of a wander at 0600, and my wanderings took me down to visit my beloved pumps. The sun is up, so I could see a bit more than I could before. However, as the pumps emerged from the gloom, my ears picked up the happy song of one, but not the other. Another chap appeared to inspect the water level, and expressed dismay at the lack of progress. So I stood there, watching the pump that was working struggle vainly with its task.

The way I see it, the Australian Defence Force requires a certain sense in its officers. And if I want to go into the Navy, I figure why not start now. So I handed my keys and torch to the other chap, turned to him, and said, "Right. I'm going in."

So back in I sloshed, jerry can of fuel in hand. Way I've always been brought up is to follow a learning curve that climbs as something approaching 30'000 feet per minute. The first time you do something, you watch. The second, you do it under supervision. The third, you're on your own. So I fuelled both the pumps and cranked then, all while knee-deep in the oil, fuel residue and god-knows-what of this underground carpark. I'll go back down and refuel them in about half an hour, but essentially these pumps are now mine to take care of.

The streets are deserted. None of the rubberneckers that have been on the corner since Tuesday are here, or maybe it's just too early for them. I've picked up two copies of the papers (The Australian and the Courier Mail), and both talk of the defiance of the people against nature; that we will resist and rebuild. Calls have already begun for a judicial enquiry at the federal level (called a Royal Commission. One was launched into the Black Saturday fires of 2009, and led to a complete overhaul of the rules regarding evac from oncoming fires. Used to be 'We advise you to leave, but if you think you can make it, you can stay', now its 'If You Stay, You're Gonna Die'). We'll see how that turns out.

Right, I might go have a coffee, then go see to the pumps. I could almost name these things, the time I've spent with them in the last few hours. Will check back in later.

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Right. It's nearly 1500 local time, so it's time for an update.

Glories upon glories, contacts came through, and at 10am, a brand-spanking-new water pump arrived. We quickly got this newest asset connected up and sorted, and soon it was biffing water out through the hose and into the river with renewed vigour. We took the opportunity to reposition the pumps to a new configuration, which means that we don't need to move them at all now. It's simply a matter of putting fuel into the generators every two hours.

On the plus side, I've been down and spoken to the supervisor of the complex. We've determined that my generators have earned a bit of a rest, so we'll shut them off for the night at 2200. This will allow them to get the night off, me to get some sleep, and tomorrow morning I'll give them the once-over and start 'em up again to clear whatever's left. I reckon there's a real chance they'll get it done in the next 9 hours; in the past 19, they're reduced a mass of water 30 by 40 by 1.3 metres down to 30 x 40 x 0.2. According to my Maths Guru, that's about 1.2 million litres pumped. It's a good effort. It'll also give me a chance to probably get my first decent night's sleep since this whole things started; in the last 35 hours, I've slept for about 4. I'm currently running on coffee and pure crazy. It's like my the last two weeks of my Honours year, all over again. Which makes this fully achievable.

Everyone's essentially kept their heads down today. The only real movement has been people checking out the water and heading out to places. The main irritation of the day has been that the supervisor has been getting phonecalls from residents complaining that they're not getting any TV reception. The satellite dishes came through just fine, but the splitter boxes are in the electrical switchboard room, which still has water sloshing through it, which my pumps are working to clear. Gotta feel bad for the guy, and irritated at the people who are tying up phonelines and time complaining because they can't watch 'The Young And The Restless'. Meanwhile some of us are outside sweeping, hosing and refuelling. To his credit, the super responded to these requests with the statement "I'm going to be polite now," and hung up. Awesome.

I've also had a small incident during my last refuel at 1400. Full barrels of petrol are a little hard to maneuver when fatigued, and I ended up with about a decent cupful sloshed down me. I'm avoiding any open flames for a while, which is making life interesting. Might have a cup of coffee before my next refuelling checkpoint at 1600.

Nevertheless, we're in the final stages of our clean-up here. I'll probably report in later tonight, around the time when I switch off the generators. Catch you all then.

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It's 2200, and I'm glad none of you can see me. Most of you will take one look, pick up the nearest blunt object, and proceed to remove my head or destroy my brain; the two preferred methods to destroying a zombie. Because that's what I feel like right now; a zombie.

Well, it damn near drove me to the edge, but I got the damn garage cleared. At least, to the point that the power can go back on. I've primed and pampered those pumps, and they've pulled through, which is fantastic. Apparently the superindendent of the complex is very pleased, and I'm now considered the 'foreman' of getting stuff done. The hope is that the power will be turned back on tomorrow morning, as the sparkies green-lighted the switchbox room this afternoon, as long as the water was reduced. Which it now is.

I can still hear the generators churning over in the distance, so that should hopefully take care of the water remaining. The problem is it's now getting low enough that they're starting to suck in air, which ain't so good. Will have to readdress the situation tomorrow.

For now though, it's time for sleep. I've caught a grand total of four hours sleep since the river peaked nearly fourty-eight hours ago. I'm tired, greasy, and dreaming of a hot shower. Hopefully, that's on the cards for tomorrow.

Catch you all later.

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JT_the_Ninja

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Wow...do you have a Castaway beard now?

This is totally movie stuff...mega-ninja-props for the initiative and hard work, dude. []

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