Feeling the Full Force of Nature


By Staff Writer Sheree Hoddinett


Rain, rain go away!


I think we were all pretty much yelling it and almost karate chopping anyone who looked even close to doing a rain dance. Watching the rage of Mother Nature impact our region, and beyond, at the end of February was confronting to say the least. She needed no extra encouragement!


No one anticipated that this weather event would unexpectedly hang around for days, hovering right above us and relentlessly unleashing torrential rain, leaving us all waiting to see what was going to happen next.


Rainfall totals reached record levels, roads cut, leaving some areas stranded, businesses inundated by water, homes flooded and sadly in some areas, lives were lost. More than 220 roads were closed across our region at the peak of the event due to flooding. Many more were impacted by the flow and rise of water.


At White Patch, on the Island, residents found themselves cut off from civilisation when a section of road was washed away on White Patch Esplanade. Roger Small is one of 75 White Patch residents unlucky enough to find themselves hit hard by the crazy weather system and watched incredulously the progress of the road as it disappeared across the weekend.


“We could see it starting to go on the Saturday and on the Sunday we had that massive downpour and that’s when it disappeared,” Roger said. “The water was really powerful and quite incredible.”


Having lived at White Patch now for seven years, Roger said they knew the area could get wet, but what unfolded was definitely unexpected.


“That weather was unbelievable because the water came right up to our terraces around our houses,” he said. “My neighbours - there’s five of us here - it was just like a dam at the back joining all of our properties and it was just getting higher and higher. Thankfully it all just stopped and drained away within the next two hours and then we had more rain and it would come up again so it was pretty crazy. If it wasn’t for my neighbours we would have had a waterway straight into the front of our house. Everybody was digging trenches and getting the water away from the house, it was wild. We don’t really need any more rain. It was pretty stressful! You never think it’s going to happen to you but when it does…it’s crazy watching something coming up to your door, your house and possessions…that you can’t stop, it’s pretty scary.”


Despite recent events, Roger said it doesn’t make him want to move, while having a cheeky laugh, about temporarily not being part of the ‘rest of the world’.


“All of us here in White Patch are pretty much the same type of people,” he said. “We love nature and we love the quiet. It’s just been amazing, everyone helping each other out.”


An emergency track was able to be constructed inland on February 28 to allow for the delivery of vital supplies, food and potable water. Unitywater also worked on a temporary water supply fix until a more permanent solution could be sorted.


Division 1 Councillor Brooke Savige said she was proud to see locals coming together during these tough times.

“The Bribie community is a close-knit one, and always have each other’s backs,” she said. “In fact, locals created a dedicated ‘White Patch - Emergency Group’ on Facebook to keep everyone connected. I encourage everyone to subscribe to the free MoretonAlert text service to stay abreast of developments through this emergency.”

Rainfall totals over the week 21/02 – 28/02 recorded at the following weather stations (courtesy of the Bureau of Meteorology):

Bribie Island Alert – 786mm

Morayfield (Petersen Road) Alert – 856mm

Deception Bay Alert – 890mm

Wamuran – 810.8 mm

Redcliffe – 967.4mm

Clontarf – 1092.2mm

Godwin Beach – 689mm

In Burpengary, we recorded 922.5mm from our backyard rain gauge.


But there’s one thing that does happen in these situations that always leaves a lasting and beneficial impact – the community comes together. Sandbagging stations became hives of activity, neighbours banded together to move household items and dig trenches to channel water away from homes and everyone looked out for each other. Here’s hoping we’ve seen the last of the crazy rain for the time being!



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