Authorities are concerned holidaymakers from Perth and elsewhere may find themselves stranded. The Fire and Emergency Services Authority had urged tourists to leave the Gascoyne region because flooding, linked to the approaching Cyclone Iggy, could cut off the highway to Perth.
But now bushfires have forced the closure of the highway, south of Carnarvon. Department of Environment and Conservation spokesman Anthony Desmond says there was a window of opportunity earlier yesterday when families, returning to Perth for the new school year, could have made it through. "Either way there were two issues people needed to deal with, a cyclone and now a fire, so I don't think there was anything wrong with making that call for people," he said. "But we'll be talking to the Department for Child Protection about accommodating people in Carnarvon if they need accommodation."
Frank Gagliadi is the manager of Potshots Hotel in Exmouth and says people are deciding whether to stay put, or head back to Perth. "To be honest there were a couple of people who had no idea that a cyclone is coming, so they are that far removed from any news, so we're telling them," he said. "And they they are going and doing their own little bit of research and then deciding whether to leave or not." The Bureau of Meteorology was expected to upgrade Cyclone Iggy to a category three system overnight. - ABC Australia.
As Brisbane steamed in the wake of this week's torrential downpours, with more rain due soon, victims of last year's flood disaster teetered between logic and emotion.
Logic (and weather reports) tell them that despite flooding around the fringes of the metropolitan area earlier in the week, conditions are quite different from those that conspired to sink their sprawling sub-tropical city last January. Emotion tells them the whole muddy nightmare might be about to happen again. ''It depends on the person,'' says Monique Broadbent, the state co-ordinator of Lifeline's Flood Inquiry Support Service. ''A lot of people are watching all the weather reports and keeping a very close eye on things, particularly in low lying areas. ''But on a logical level they can see it's different from last time. Others, especially those badly affected last year, are very uneasy … for them, it's ripping the scab right off.''WATCH: Weather Chaos.
Still others are taking strength from having got through the ordeals of last year, and telling themselves that, ''no matter how bad this one gets'', they can cope. Between Monday and Thursday a monsoonal trough dumped 400 millimetres of rain across south-east Queensland. Houses were inundated and people evacuated to the south and north of the city, hundreds of roads were flooded, and 38 schools and childcare centres had to close. More than 1000 people called the SES for help. On Wednesday, the floodgates of the now much-scrutinised Wivenhoe Dam were opened to reduce water levels to 75 per cent of capacity before more heavy rain due next week. The deadline for a report from the commission of inquiry into the 2011 floods, and the dam's role in the disaster, has been extended to take in new evidence and allow for public consideration of inquiry findings before the state election on March 24.
Echoes of last wet season's disasters were heard everywhere this week, especially on Wednesday, when the Premier, Anna Bligh, only hours after announcing the election date, switched to a series of deft live-to-air interviews about the latest weather threat. As she showed last year, when her dire political stocks were briefly revived by such appearances, emergencies seem to bring out the best in her. Her would-be replacement, Liberal National Party leader Campbell Newman, was quick to remind Queenslanders that as lord mayor, he had predicted last year's Brisbane floods several months in advance. At soggy Kippa-Ring, in the city's burgeoning north-east, a long-time resident, Allan Kirby, said whoever ended up in power should do something about the area's notoriously clogged creeks. ''On Wednesday there was more water on the ground than I've ever seen before, even more than we had in 2011. I went and got some sandbags for my house but the moment I put them down the rain stopped.'' But not for long. By yesterday it was back, with forecasts predicting showers until Friday then more heavy rain. ''Which is all a bit of a pain in the arse,'' Mr Kirby said. ''But what can you do?'' - SMH.