This is Australia: The elements turn against us

Last year it was bushfires, this year it’s floods. NSW can’t seem to take a trick. At the moment, heavy, prolonged and unrelenting sheets of rain have produced swollen rivers, road closures, evacuations and insurance claims expected to be in the tens of millions.

A couple of days ago, we traded a saturated camper trailer in Hat Head for a warm and comfortable motel in Kempsey, fully expecting the worst would soon be over and we could continue travelling south. How little we knew about the pattern of slow moving rain troughs that join up with other slow moving rain troughs.

Today, Kempsey is on high alert: the levee bank that runs alongside the Macleay River is tipped to break and evacuations are taking place. A local told us, ‘If heavy rain falls in Armidale and works its way to Kempsey, this town will be wiped off the map.’ A sobering prediction, especially when you consider that Kempsey is the catchment area for a big river system. Maybe there’s truth in such dire pessimism.

Other people we spoke with weren’t backward in coming forward about this once in fifty years flood, firing up about the Macleay River that should have been dredged (the river while wide is very shallow), drains that should have been cleared, dam walls that should have been raised, construction of new highways that should have allowed for the natural flow of water. Long term and immediate causes aside, the upshot of this rip, tear, bust flood that’s produced 620mms (25 inches) of rain in 4 days, is that people, animals and wildlife are going to suffer longtime.

Drinking in the views of a river close to breaking point

Our hopes of driving south were dashed when the A1 Highway south of Kempsey closed, possibly for several days. We considered heading north to Grafton and then west to Armidale, but a heavy rain trough heading that way from the west, combined with a widespread mice plague that has caravanners reporting chewed cables and wires, saw us head home.

On the drive, inland seas stretched far and wide – a bleak watery reminder of hard times ahead.

Fingers crossed for sunny days ahead.

Some recommendations:

Fairway Lodge Kempsey– where we were welcomed bedraggled and all- even had undercover parking to air out the camper trailer

Slim Dusty Centre Kempsey- it wasn’t open during our stay, but saving it for our return journey

Chaddies Kempsey – great cafe for a coffee and a chat. When other eateries were closed, this one held us in good stead with their fresh Tandoori chicken microwave dinners

Bookshop Cafe Nambucca Heads – we needed breakfast on the drive home and this cafe didn’t disappoint with its substantial bacon/eggs/coffee and the company of an entire collection of Charles Dickens’ works.

8 thoughts on “This is Australia: The elements turn against us

  1. Wow Wendy! I have been watching the weather reports and news about NSW. You draw such evocative images of the water inundation. Now the rain is setting in up here. Tuesday nights Pat drives to Brisbane and has dinner at his daughter’s house and I drive to Morning side to sit with my meditation group. But not tonight. It will be chaos. The Premier has asked that people not be out on the roads unless they have to. ☔️☔️🥂☕️🤭❣️

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s