After the storm …

DSCN3933 (1024x768)There was a time last night when I thought that the predictions of my doomsday neighbour were about to come true … the storm turned out to be even worse than expected with winds well in excess of 100Kph, multiple power blackouts and torrential rain. Over 300 mm has fallen in the last 48 hours and it’s raining again now.

Update: I’ve uploaded a short video of the height of the storm taken from my veranda …

Today the town is in a bit of a mess. Bellingen is cut off in every direction … even Crown Street at the end of my road has turned into a small weir. The river level rose to 9 metres overnight – which was last experienced in the historic 1974 floods.  The Old Butter Factory, where I work one day a week, is flooded and inaccessible.  The four lovely Tulipwood trees in my driveway were blown horizontal and may not survive.  The town is littered with fallen trees, branches and leaves.  Every now and then, a helicopter buzzes overhead, and chainsaws can be heard in the distance as some residents start the clean up.

Going under again ….

It’s going to be a BIG ONE, and this time the Bureau of Meteorology got it right …

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Town was busy this morning as everyone stocked up on essentials.  At the post office a worried man came rushing in to see if his two Queen Bees had arrived.  Luckily they had, although I doubt that there will be much hive-building going on this weekend.  Now the bridge is closed and under water and town is all but deserted.

The big wet tropical low which had been lurking off the coast moved on-shore at around 9:00 am today and it’s been pelting down non-stop ever since.  The ground is already saturated, the water has nowhere to go and the forecast is for 300 mm plus ….  this looks like being a repeat of the major flood event of 2009.  So far, the new drains under my house are doing their job and I should avoid any more structural damage, although I expect to see fallen trees if the big gusts of wind continue.

It looks like being a long, wet and slightly stressful weekend …

 

A frog expedition …

Last night Bellinger Landcare  ran a field evening for frogaholics … and I discovered that I am definitely not the only lunatic in the valley !!

After a facts, photos and frog calls briefing by local ecologist and frog enthusiast Brian Hawkins, we disinfected our boots (to avoid spreading the deadly Chytridiomycosis virus) and ventured up to Tamarind Drive in North Bellingen to track down some local frogs.  If you didn’t know what we were doing, you’d swear we were discovering gold nuggets the way we carried on when we spotted a frog.  I’m amazed that they didn’t all panic and hop away.  But they didn’t, and we recorded eight different frog calls, including the endangered Giant Barred Frog.

Not bad for a small stream and lagoon system right in the middle of town.  It seems that the Bellinger Valley is the second most frog diverse spot in Australia, with over 30 species and a relatively stable population. This all bodes well for the future of my frog pond…

Bellingen under water …

It started raining early last week, which was nice because we’d had a few hot days and the garden needed a light watering.  Then it rained on and off for five days, which was also nice because it meant we had a bit of reserve for the next hot spell.  Then it started to rain seriously on Sunday and it has hardly stopped since …. so today the bridge went under for the first time this year.  If it keeps raining up on the Dorrigo Plateau as predicted, we may yet be completely cut off, but for now we can still get out.

The garden is like a rice paddy but otherwise everything is OK so far.
You can follow this link to see the report in our local newspaper …
Bellingen river floods