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Our wet spell in Sydney seems to have receded…

19 Feb

Caught its departure yesterday afternoon.

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But what a massive inundation Queensland has been having! North Queensland flood damage bill tops $210m.

Floodwaters have steadied in the isolated Gulf of Carpentaria, as authorities estimate flood damage across Queensland will exceed $210 million.

Floods have affected more than 62 per cent of the state, with 36 councils currently assessing damage to highways, roads and buildings.

The latest damage estimate is $210 million and rising, a spokesman for Emergency Services Minister Neil Roberts says.

The Barkly Highway in northwest Queensland has been significantly damaged…

Carpentaria Shire Council chief executive Mark Kelleher says floodwaters have steadied in the shire. But he expects road access to Normanton and Karumba to remain cut for at least another month….

All that water has to go somewhere, and much of it, south of a certain point roughly around Mount Isa I believe, will find its way down the inland river system – usually dry – into, eventually, Lake Eyre. One expert I heard on ABC Radio National’s “Bush Telegraph” the other day said that there were three cubic kilometres of water in the pipeline, so to speak. Now that is a lot of water!

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There has been flooding also in NSW. See Torrential rain a ‘mixed blessing’ for Australia.

As torrential rain continues to fall across parts of Australia, the rivers, lakes and estuaries from the far north to the back of Bourke are about to spring to life.

Some of the rain that has caused floods in parts of New South Wales will flow out to sea.

But the water that has inundated Queensland will slowly make its way south to the normally dry salt plain of Lake Eyre.

The parched Murray-Darling Basin, though, is unlikely to benefit at all.

The rain that has been pounding northern Australia over the past month and the east coast of New South Wales this week tells a story of this country’s very particular topography.

Richard Kingsford, is a professor of Environmental Science at the University of New South Wales.

"If we look at north Queensland to begin with, basically there are those rivers that run north into the Gulf of Carpentaria and that’s where we’ve got a lot of flooding around Karumba and Normanton," he said.

"If then you move south into the catchment where the rivers basically run inland, the rivers of the Georgina, Diamantina and then Coopers Creek, all of those rivers eventually will make it into Lake Eyre if there’s a really big flood."

Professor Kingsford says the flooding of the delta system in the Gulf of Carpentaria is a mixed blessing.

"Obviously these floods can cause incredible damage in terms of stock losses and so on, which is what we’re seeing up there, but you do also rejuvenate some of these river systems," he said.

"So we’d expect a flush of productivity in terms of the vegetation and that will help with fish and water birds and all of those things that are part and parcel of the cycle of river system."

Further west, the bone dry salt plain of Lake Eyre is set to bloom…

We can expect to see quite a few food items rising in price, of course.

ABC has a special on the Queensland floods.

Some of the people on my blog roll have been reporting the NSW situation, particularly in and around Bellingen: see Pip Wilson and Lynne Sanders-Braithwaite.

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Posted by on February 19, 2009 in Australia, Australia and Australian, environment, events

 

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