As floods inundate the north coast of New South Wales, residents struggle to take stock of the damage and prepare for the rising tide.
Horses and cattle were seen floating along rivers and bathing on beaches Sunday as the region faced a once-in-a-lifetime deluge.
Greg Cox, who lives on Raymond Terrace north of Newcastle, was watching the water slowly rise around his property on Sunday morning.
“Once the water passes … we just have to smile and bear it,” he said.
“The only thing we can do is lift everything off the ground, especially the most valuable things. We have put things on my ute and on the beds, but that’s all we can do. “
“At this stage, I would say that we will have water coming in from the bottom of the house this afternoon when the tide rises.”
Rain has battered the region for days, with the Bureau of Meteorology warning that another 100mm of rain could fall on Sunday.
The Bom has already issued 14 flood warnings across the state, including a major flood warning on the Hawkesbury River in North Richmond, and the State Emergency Services has responded to thousands of calls as flooding continues to increase.
Cox said he had to walk on water to get to his car so he could drive into town and buy some supplies.
“I think it could get a lot worse before it gets better,” he said. “It is raining heavily here now, and it is expected to continue that way for the next 48 hours.
“It is devastating. Our entire backyard is underwater, I’ve never seen anything like this, and today I was talking to my landlord and he also said that he had never seen anything like it before. “
Alistair Flower, a Port Macquarie businessman and hotelier, told Guardian Australia that he and his staff had been working hard to protect one of their locations.
“We have seen the water rising and unfortunately the flood has seeped into our basement and bottle store at our facility,” he said.
“We’ve had a great job from SES and my staff, who have been able to extract some water, but at times it felt like a losing battle.”
Flower owns the Hastings hotel in Wauchope, which is close to downtown, and said he never thought he’d see water rise above the intersection.
“Talking to a lot of regular customers, they tell us this has gotten over the last big flood in the 60’s. I think this has gotten over it all.”
Flower, whose home is on the Hastings River, said she saw a floating cow pass by, saved only by her neighbor’s infinity pool.
“I went out to our jetty, looked at our neighbor and it looked like a cow had floated down the river.
“Fortunately, they had an infinity pool, which doesn’t have a fence in front, which allows the cow to enter.
“I think that cow was one of the lucky ones, unfortunately there has been a lot of loss of cattle recently.”
The loss of livestock has been so great that a Facebook group has been established to help people find their lost animals.
the North Shore Horse / Cattle Flood Recovery! The current group has more than 2,000 members, with people posting images of floating cattle and rescue stories amid the flood.
The site’s administrators hope it will be “a place to post any live or dead livestock to help owners locate or have peace of mind.”
Flower said she thought she knew who the cow belonged to, but because they were isolated and struggling with flooding, some rangers were working to get it home.
Flower said the community had been surprised by the intensity and speed of the rain and flooding, and were not as prepared as they could have been.
“We were very surprised. Like everyone else, we didn’t expect to see a single storm in 100 years and the biggest flood of our time. And I think the whole community was surprised by this: the rains really came very fast.
“One thing about the Port Macquarie community is that their support and commitment is second to none. And they are all coming together, as we will see in the next few weeks. “
For Sarah Soars and Joshua Edge, the flood and rain came on a day they hoped to always remember, but it was a day they will never forget for more tragic reasons.
They had to watch over their home, with their pets inside, being washed away by the floodwaters on the day they planned to get married.
The couple, who are currently separated into Taree and Tinonee respectively, told Channel Nine’s Today Show that they were devastated by their loss.
“Watching our floating house go by was devastating, we lost everything. Our puppy was in the house, “Edge said.” We love all of our animals, the pain they had to go through, I don’t want to think about that. She [the dog] I would have been so scared. “
“The force of that river was incredible, to lift our house, it is simply incredible.
“We have nothing, my brother has given me clothes.
“All I wanted to do was marry Sarah.”
Soars said his house was lost in just “a matter of minutes” and that he could hardly believe it had happened.
“Not even ten minutes and he was out of our sight,” he said on the Today show.
“I have no words, I don’t even know what to say, everything we own, everything we’ve worked hard for: disappeared.”
Edge’s brother Lyle has organized an online fundraiser for the couple, which surpassed their goal of $ 30,000 in just a few hours.
The floods on the north coast of New South Wales come just one year after the region was devastated by wildfires, with the loss of hundreds of homes and the death of millions of animals.
January 2020 was the hottest month on record in Australia, with average national temperatures nearly one degree higher than the previous benchmark and 2.9 degrees warmer than the long-term average. In New South Wales, the average temperature was almost 6 degrees higher than what has been considered normal for the past century.
But 2021, by contrast, has been cooler and with the impact of the La Niña climate cycle, much of the east coast has been drenched with heavy rains.
La Niña years are associated with lower ocean temperatures in the tropical Pacific and can bring higher rainfall for the northern, eastern, and central parts of the country, as well as cooler temperatures during the day.
However, scientists say global warming is increasing the likelihood of heavy rain and flooding in La Niña years, while also making heat waves, wildfires and droughts worse in El Niño years.
George is Digismak’s reported cum editor with 13 years of experience in Journalism