The things that will stay with me about the weather event and subsequent flooding that engulfed Brisbane and south-east Queensland over the weekend was how rapidly it unfolded, its capricious unpredictability and extreme violence.
This was not a repeat of the 2011 disaster, which I also lived through, and the captains of hindsight suggesting this – in a simplistic and premature attempt to assign blame – are making a false equivalence.
I live on the second floor of a low-lying, poorly drained apartment block in the university suburb of St Lucia, 150 metres as the crow flies from the Brisbane River. In 2011, there was time for the city to prepare. The floods then felt like a train wreck in slow motion.
This event began slowly, and for a couple of days in Brisbane early last week the predicted heavy falls did not eventuate. Instead, a trough sat just south of Fraser Island, dumping huge amounts of rain on Gympie and the Sunshine Coast hinterland.
But as the week progressed, the developing low-pressure system (to coin a phrase from Clive James’ Unreliable Memoirs) gathered momentum like a piano falling out of a window. There was no comprehending the sound and fury that was about to pulverise us.… Read more..