Friday 30th September
Yesterday was an odd day in that I was able to post things and get most of the mail through. Today it is a different story. Today there is no mail, no internet and no telephone. I think the clean-up has started today in some areas. We still have 22 major electricity pylons down so that being so I suppose that we should be considered fortunate that we have power for lighting and heating. The Broadband network and the mobile (Cell) phone network are both down. At the moment I am using MS Word and will transfer this to WordPress when the system becomes available again.
The storm may have eased in this area but it still continues in Adelaide and the South East . We have TV and I just saw on the news that a man believed that warnings didn’t apply to him and he tried to drive through flood waters – and yes, he had to be rescued . I think the amazing thing about all of this is the fact there has been no serious injuries or loss of life.
Port Pirie was saved in that the wind eased and the town was saved from flooding although just down the road in Port Broughton, they were not so fortunate and there was a lot of flooding in that little township. I also hear that the Barossa and the Clare areas are flooded. There is serious flooding in many parts of Adelaide – houses and properties inundated.
Optus went down on Wednesday and has still not come back on again. Telstra is on and off and on again, then off. I just wish they would make up their minds. At the moment, it’s off again so no internet and no telephone calls, either mobile (cell) or landline.
All afternoon the clouds have been dark and it has gotten progressively colder as the afternoon wore on. It’s just coming up to 5pm and it has now been raining for the best part of half an hour. It just refuses to give up. Even as little 20-25 mm will be enough, given all that has gone before, to send many small rivers and creeks into flood. There is concern about the flooding of the Port Wakefield river. Normally this is a creek that has very little water in it, but given this volume of rain it can quickly become fairly aggressive as it gathers water from the surrounding catchment areas. If this happens it can flood quite quickly and cut off the main highway at one end of the town. (It’s happened!!)
In Port Augusta there was a fair amount of structural and environmental damage and the Joy Baluch Bridge – the main bridge across the Gulf was closed because of its height and the danger of the high winds. There is another crossing further up the gulf but it is a serious detour to Yorkeys Crossing and round the top of the gulf and back to the main highway.
At the bottom of the Eyre Peninsula, the city of Port Lincoln is still without electricity – or any power. Most of the food has gone and there are now concerns about potable water and there is also concern regarding the sewage systems. A modern Australian city and food relief packages are being flown in – like a third world country in crisis – bread, some package food, baby formula, milk, water etc.
The Smelter at Port Pirie took a hit and will be out of action for repairs for about two weeks. Arrium also took a hit and was forced to close down, at a cost of about six million a day. Andrew, my son, was called out to the mines at Middleback and he and a team were working frantically to avert a mining “catastrophe” (his words) – although what that was I have no idea – he did not
The clean-up and restoration will take weeks, if not months and there will be the usual “Blame Game” My own view is I don’t care about the politicians and their point scoring off each other, but I believe there should be an investigation into why these pylons came down as they did. Trees in the area were unaffected yet these steel pylons, 22 of them, were bent in half as if they were child’s toys and not major carriers of high voltage electrical power lines. I would also like to know, whether it’s good or bad, who supplied the steel for these things. But I think that might be something that we never get to know, but a state-wide failure that put 1.7 million people in darkness is something we should get to know.
Latest: As of 7am this morning the main highway north at Port Wakefield has been closed due to the flooding of the Wakefield River. There are major diversions in place through Two Wells and Virginia for cars, buses and light trucks. Heavy trucks are stuck.