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Aussie City Braces For Worst Flood In 118 Years

CmdrTaco posted more than 3 years ago | from the good-luck-down-there dept.

Australia 214

aesoteric writes "As parts of the Australian state of Queensland either experience or prepare for the worst floods to ravage the state in over 100 years, Australia's techies have taken it upon themselves to keep communications services on as the crisis unfolds. One man is mirroring flood information from a faltering Brisbane City Council website, and others have opened WiFi channels in their neighbourhood whilst mobile signal gets choked. But there is major damage to telco networks — at least one major fibre link has been severed by flood waters, telephone exchanges have been knocked offline and cell towers put on battery or generator back-up (or offline altogether). On a sombre note, the floods have claimed 10 lives, including children, and 78 people are still missing after facing a torrent of water up to 8 metres (26 feet) high."

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214 comments

Please Donate (5, Informative)

H0D_G (894033) | more than 3 years ago | (#34835056)

The Queensland Government has set up a disaster relief fund for donations

http://www.qld.gov.au/floods/donate.html [qld.gov.au]

Please Give.

Re:Please Donate (3, Informative)

Pojut (1027544) | more than 3 years ago | (#34835084)

I'm doing my part!

But no, seriously...I donated $15. Do it, people...what's going on down there is affecting everyone. I know that seems like an obvious thing to say, but it's true: no one is being spared from this disaster. "If we all do a little, we all do a lot."

Re:Please Donate (5, Insightful)

Moryath (553296) | more than 3 years ago | (#34835214)

It's awesome to see techies and everyone else working to do their part.

What I find actually uplifting is this part: On a sombre note, the floods have claimed 10 lives, including children, and 78 people are still missing after facing a torrent of water up to 8 metres (26 feet) high."

Think about that number and compare it with the number of dead and missing from many "classical" disasters - for floods, the usual death count is in the multiple thousands. Roughly 3000 in the monsoon floods for the past few incidents in Asia, for instance.

It's a tragedy when people die in a natural disaster, but if the death count is below 100, they did a great job preparing and minimizing casualties!

Re:Please Donate (5, Interesting)

antifoidulus (807088) | more than 3 years ago | (#34835288)

Thats not really a very good comparison, Australia has one of the lowest population densities on the planet, even the cities aren't anywhere near as dense as those in places like Indonesia and Bangladesh. Comparing just the sheer # of casualties isn't a very good way to judge disaster preparedness per se.

Re:Please Donate (2)

srealm (157581) | more than 3 years ago | (#34835506)

That said, it is somewhat true. The first world status of Australia means the communications in general (including TV news and such) and disaster warning systems are much more advanced. And more of the population is able to get up-to-date information very quickly and thus warnings can actually have an impact. Population density does play a part, especially since so far the flooding has not hit a major city, and the overwhelming majority of the population IS in the top 5 cities - but not as much as the infrastructure in place.

Plus, Australians are now less likely to stubbornly stay in their house when they've been told a natural disaster is bearing down upon them. A hard lesson learned in a country where natural disasters are frequent (most often in the form of bush fires). The most recent lesson being the 2009 fires in Victoria [wikipedia.org] . Course, that doesn't stop people being stupid and trying to drive through flood waters, but at least they knew not to stay in their home and drown in there.

Re:Please Donate (4, Interesting)

Kell Bengal (711123) | more than 3 years ago | (#34835878)

Thing is, Australia also has the highest urbanisation rate, with 90% of our population in cities. Floods rarely kill people in the country, but would be a colossal disaster in the city. Fortunately, almost all of our cities are on the coast and flood waters simply run off into the sea.

Now, when the sea levels rise, that's another story altogether...

Re:Please Donate (4, Interesting)

Cimexus (1355033) | more than 3 years ago | (#34835306)

Very true. Australia is a first world country with good warning systems etc. so you would expect death tolls to be lower than in developing nations. (Having said that, most of the '78 missing' are unfortunately likely to be dead too - the flooding in Toowoomba was so quick that people were washed away before they knew what was happening and may have ended up many, many miles downstream, so it will not be until the water subsides that the true toll will be known).

There's one other thing about the low death toll that has nothing to do with preparation though. Australia is simply not as densely populated as the places you hear about with the multi-thousand death tolls. It's a huge, US-sized continent, with a tiny population. So just due to pure probability, most natural disasters affect rural areas and small towns. Casulaties are therefore usually low.

That's about to change though - the water is now heading out towards the coast, directly through Brisbane. Unlike the other places affected, this is a large, multi-million-person city. Now the flooding there will be a gradual 'river flood' over the next few days (not a flash flood like in Toowoomba), so people do have adequate time to get themselves to safety. But the ~impact~ of it will be immense just due to the fact it is hitting one of Australia's rare densely populated areas. I hope we get away with minimal casualties, but the economic cost will be staggering: so many roads, cars, bridges, telephone poles, signs, bits of telecomms infrastructure and all the other trappings that go with a large city will be washed away. It will be enough to put at least a $15 billion dent in the economy. And that's before we consider the private cost to individuals: it is expected ~9000 homes will be submerged in Brisbane by Thursday. Many of these people won't have flood insurance.

Re:Please Donate (1)

chomsky68 (1719996) | more than 3 years ago | (#34835282)

$50 from me.

Re:Please Donate (2, Insightful)

xaxa (988988) | more than 3 years ago | (#34835270)

The Queensland Government has set up a disaster relief fund for donations

http://www.qld.gov.au/floods/donate.html [qld.gov.au]

Please Give.

Do they really need the money? Australia is a rich country, no one is going to go hungry as a result of this flood, and those who've lost their homes will be housed -- in the worst case -- by the government.

I think a donation to rebuilding flooded areas in Pakistan would achieve more.

Re:Please Donate (3, Informative)

timholman (71886) | more than 3 years ago | (#34835380)

I think a donation to rebuilding flooded areas in Pakistan would achieve more.

A donation to rebuild flooded areas in Pakistan will almost certainly wind up in the pockets of a corrupt government official or anti-Western mullah.

Australia may be a wealthy country in the grand scheme of things, but that doesn't mean that individuals affected by the flooding can't use some additional help. And unlike Pakistan, your donation to Australian flood relief has an infinitely greater chance of actually making to the people affected by the disaster.

Re:Please Donate (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34835582)

Not only that, but a donation to Australia would go towards human beings, while a donation to Pakistan would go to muslims.

Re:Please Donate (-1, Flamebait)

Gadget_Guy (627405) | more than 3 years ago | (#34836842)

A donation to rebuild flooded areas in Pakistan will almost certainly wind up in the pockets of a corrupt government official or anti-Western mullah.

How about you put your racism on hold for a while. I am sure that the big name charities are quite used to dealing with all sorts of officials - corrupt or otherwise.

And do you think the people of Pakistan would be happy to know that you would have made a donation, but didn't on the (possibly imagined) off-chance that some official might get a cut of it. I think that they would rather be able to use some of the money to rebuild their lives than none of the money.

Re:Please Donate (1)

Hognoxious (631665) | more than 3 years ago | (#34837464)

I am sure that the big name charities are quite used to dealing with all sorts of officials - corrupt or otherwise.

Staff at hospices are quite used to dealing with fatal diseases. It doesn't mean they can do anything about them.

Re:Please Donate (1)

dilberito (842572) | more than 3 years ago | (#34837004)

Anyone with some sensibility would understand that there are people of all persuasions in any population. Unfortunately in Queensland, the mining industry is king. It truly is despicable, I do agree. That is not the case in, say, Tasmania, where the environmental movement has enough power to veto most anything which has the potential to damage the environment. In any case, we live in a global society. Australia is but one of many, many countries who need to clean up their act. Meanwhile, hundreds of thousands of innocent victims of events such as these will continue to be, from both poor and rich countries alike. Stop pointing the finger and start doing something to make a difference. Like voting in decent politicians in your country of citizenship and like donating to victims of natural disasters, using your brain to decide whether you feel a particular donation is likely to make a positive impact. By the way, I really do agree with FriendlyLurker, below. But there are real people (and animals) involved. And also, as FriendlyLurker points out, Queensland is a massive coal exporter, which implies that export sites are every bit as willing to burn that coal. This is not a problem that lies solely with Queensland - it's a problem that lies with most countries on the planet. Producers and consumers are all responsible for continued use of coal.

Re:Please Donate (1)

dkleinsc (563838) | more than 3 years ago | (#34835394)

Do they really need the money? Australia is a rich country, no one is going to go hungry as a result of this flood, and those who've lost their homes will be housed -- in the worst case -- by the government.

Yes, I'm sure the head of the Australian emergency management agency will do a heckuva job.

Re:Please Donate (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34835406)

Do they really need the money? Australia is a rich country, no one is going to go hungry as a result of this flood, and those who've lost their homes will be housed -- in the worst case -- by the government.

I think a donation to rebuilding flooded areas in Pakistan would achieve more.

Yeah, right. I'd rather give money to Australians rather than Pakistan, where most of the money would end up in some turban-charged asshole's pocket. Besides, I'm not planning on going to Pakistan for the holidays.

Re:Please Donate (4, Interesting)

FriendlyLurker (50431) | more than 3 years ago | (#34835548)

Apart from being a rich state within a rich country: Do they deserve donation money - or is this a classic case of reap what you sow - privatizing profits and socializing losses? Australia and especially conservative Queenslanders are amongst the staunchest climate change denialists [uq.edu.au] out there (from link: "There's been a big swing back towards climate change denialists..."). Further, Queensland is a massive coal exporter - and more than happy to fuel dirty-coal burning [nytimes.com] both in Australia or at export sites the world over, all to make a quick buck. The costs of this flood will be minuscule compared to the Queensland coal industries profits [sixdegrees.org.au] :

In 2009, the [Queensland] state’s 52 coal mines produced a record 195 million tonnes of coal, generating $33.2 billion in export revenue. Queensland is a major player in the international coal market, exporting 168 Mt of coal in 2009 that accounted for 20% of the global trade. The industry generated $3.22 billion in coal royalties, accounting for 9% of the total income of the Queensland Government for the 2008-09 financial year.

Australian media is divided up amongst a few powerful players (Murdoch included) that don't want any meaningful public debate of climate change. For example most Australians are completely unaware of Australia complacency in the farce that is the "Copenhagen accord" on climate change as exposed [guardian.co.uk] by Wikileaks

Queensland Coal and climate change (2, Interesting)

FriendlyLurker (50431) | more than 3 years ago | (#34835650)

Queensland Coal and climate change [sixdegrees.org.au]

"The coal industry is Queensland’s leading contributor to climate change, amounting to around 394 million tonnes (Mt) of greenhouse gas emissions per year. These emissions are 2.5 times the combined domestic emissions for the entire state, which stood at 160 Mt in 2008, including stationary energy, transport, fugitive emissions, industrial processes, agriculture, waste, and land use, land use change and forestry. Additionally, the mining, processing and transportation of coal contributes enormously to greenhouse gas production.

The Queensland Government’s commitment to coal expansion has the direct consequence of reducing our ability to prevent climate change. The 2010-11 budget, along with the current $700 million expansion of the coal industry, commits an extra $18 million for an "...exploration program to develop major new resource provinces". In comparison, it only provides $47 million for investment in renewable energy initiatives."

Perhaps Queensland voters need to vote in politicians with a more balanced view on climate change at the next elections, rather than siding with the coal industries take?

Re:Please Donate (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34835718)

Yes! Yes! Burn, er... drown the heretics!

Completely wrong impression (4, Interesting)

dbIII (701233) | more than 3 years ago | (#34835920)

Australia and especially conservative Queenslanders are amongst the staunchest climate change denialists out there

Not if you compare to about anywhere in the USA outside of Al Gore's office. We get that reputation from a few loonies in an protectionist Agrarian Socialist party that was so low on members it has ended up attempting to merge with a city based conservative party with a heavy emphasis on uncontrolled free market capitalism. I don't think they'll be doing much more than infighting for a very long time.
Coal, sugar, beef, bananas and pineapples is about all we produce and coal is where the majority of the money is. The coal industry really pays most of the taxes. Thus the government while not denying climate change is stuck in the position where they are addicted to taxes on coal and don't want to do anything to lose that money. Most of the coal actually burnt in the state goes into the state government owned power stations so a tax on consumed carbon becomes the silly situation of a government putting a new tax on itself. It's a tiger by the tail. The only alternatives for government at the moment are flat out batshit insane climate deniers within the group I mentioned about that is too busy with it's own infighting over opposed ideologies to do anything constructive.

Anyway, the street is starting to fill up with water and high tide is still an hour away so it's time to move the car unless I want to risk it bumping against the floorboards.

Re:Please Donate (0)

calebpburns (1925438) | more than 3 years ago | (#34835922)

Apart from being a rich state within a rich country: Do they deserve donation money - or is this a classic case of reap what you sow - privatizing profits and socializing losses? Australia and especially conservative Queenslanders are amongst the staunchest climate change denialists [uq.edu.au] out there (from link: "There's been a big swing back towards climate change denialists..."). Further, Queensland is a massive coal exporter - and more than happy to fuel dirty-coal burning [nytimes.com] both in Australia or at export sites the world over, all to make a quick buck. The costs of this flood will be minuscule compared to the Queensland coal industries profits [sixdegrees.org.au] :

In 2009, the [Queensland] state’s 52 coal mines produced a record 195 million tonnes of coal, generating $33.2 billion in export revenue. Queensland is a major player in the international coal market, exporting 168 Mt of coal in 2009 that accounted for 20% of the global trade. The industry generated $3.22 billion in coal royalties, accounting for 9% of the total income of the Queensland Government for the 2008-09 financial year.

Australian media is divided up amongst a few powerful players (Murdoch included) that don't want any meaningful public debate of climate change. For example most Australians are completely unaware of Australia complacency in the farce that is the "Copenhagen accord" on climate change as exposed [guardian.co.uk] by Wikileaks

So you care nothing about these people who have died (thankfully only a few)? And those who've gone missing due to this catastrophic flooding simply because a majority of them do not hold the same view as you do towards climate change? Put aside your political agenda/views and show some sympathy for those amidst tragedy. You sir and the climate change alarmists like you are the very reason I'm very skeptical of man-made climate change.

Re:Please Donate (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34836554)

You sir and the climate change alarmists like you are the very reason I'm very skeptical of man-made climate change.

That's incredibly dumb.

Re:Please Donate (1)

HaZardman27 (1521119) | more than 3 years ago | (#34837022)

You sir and the climate change alarmists like you are the very reason I'm very skeptical of man-made climate change.

I'm not saying you're right or wrong about your skepticism, however your reasons for such skepticism seem a bit crazy.

Re:Please Donate (2)

ancienthart (924862) | more than 3 years ago | (#34836028)

While climate change is definitely happening, this current flood is not exactly unique in the history of Australia, just the worst that a whole generation has seen. http://www.bom.gov.au/hydro/flood/qld/fld_history/index.shtml [bom.gov.au] Australia just simply has a history of flooding and droughts. It's up to you to personally decide if these people who have lost their homes, cars, possessions, and I might point out ALL their Christmas presents, 'deserve' donation money.

Re:Please Donate (1)

asifyoucare (302582) | more than 3 years ago | (#34836226)

What the hell has climate change got to do with this? Do you blame every flood, drought, heat wave and cold snap on climate change? I bet if the weather was completely average you'd say that was uncanny and blame it on climate change too.

I believe in climate change (and indeed AGW, but skeptical of current models) but please can we have some rigour? This is weather, not climate.

Re:Please Donate (2)

tlhIngan (30335) | more than 3 years ago | (#34836694)

What the hell has climate change got to do with this? Do you blame every flood, drought, heat wave and cold snap on climate change? I bet if the weather was completely average you'd say that was uncanny and blame it on climate change too.

I believe in climate change (and indeed AGW, but skeptical of current models) but please can we have some rigour? This is weather, not climate.

While true, the big issue with climate change is it will make the weather more extreme - colder winters and hotter summers, and events like floods, hurricanes, etc. will become more frequent and higher in intensity. The problem is trying to attribute this as either a 100 year flood, or possibly a side effect of climate change (i.e., the flooding would've happened, but maybe it'll be less intense).

The big problem is, there's no way to tell.

Re:Please Donate (4, Insightful)

Gadget_Guy (627405) | more than 3 years ago | (#34836654)

Do they deserve donation money - or is this a classic case of reap what you sow - privatizing profits and socializing losses? Australia and especially conservative Queenslanders are amongst the staunchest climate change denialists [uq.edu.au] out there (from link: "There's been a big swing back towards climate change denialists...").

Wow. This reminds me of seeing the TV footage of people dancing in the streets when the twin towers came down. Do you really believe that the people affected by these floods deserved it? Is this God smiting the wicked people of the world?

I certainly believe that man causes climate change, but I put my feelings on this matter aside and feel sympathy for the thousands of people who have had their lives turned upside down. It is called being human.

Re:Please Donate (1, Insightful)

FriendlyLurker (50431) | more than 3 years ago | (#34837534)

Wow. This reminds me of seeing the TV footage of people dancing in the streets when the twin towers came down. Do you really believe that the people affected by these floods deserved it? Is this God smiting the wicked people of the world?

I certainly believe that man causes climate change, but I put my feelings on this matter aside and feel sympathy for the thousands of people who have had their lives turned upside down. It is called being human.

Sympathy for the victims, yes. These people deserve all our sympathy + every cent of their own governments annual $3.22 billion in coal royalties (and then some) in financial aid to help them recover. The families of those who have lost their lives deserve our deepest condolences. However - What the the world does not deserve is climate denialist states like theirs blithely selling dirty coal (20% of world production) at massive profits - outspoken members of their parliament publicly ridiculing the worlds climate scientists so they can continue to avoid and suppress real climate change debate. Donation money is not required for a rich state like Queensland with $33.2 billion in yearly profits (and growing) - our money is much better donated to more needy third world countries that are not sitting on top of highly profitable, highly polluting cash cows.

Re:Please Donate (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34837148)

For example most Australians are completely unaware of Australia complacency in the farce that is the "Copenhagen accord" on climate change as exposed [guardian.co.uk] by Wikileaks

Quite off-topic - but I don't see how that link matches up with anything in the paragraph you've written. The article at that link is about the bullying and spying tactics that the US were engaged in to try and push through the Copenhagen accord. There isn't actually a single mention of the Aussies anywhere in it?!

Re:Please Donate (1)

walshy007 (906710) | more than 3 years ago | (#34837304)

Nobody will argue the climate is changing.. it always has, what you will get is people arguing about how much of that is caused by humans, which I think is fair debate.

A lot of greens seem to be very irrational to me, they are the sort of people who (rightly) dislike the burning of coal and yet also hate the idea of approving the construction of modern fast breeder nuclear reactors that recycle their own fuel until what is left is barely above background radiation (and ironically, releases less radiation into the environment in total, since burning coal tends to release some into the air.. I'd prefer a small amount in barrels then more in the air).

Take this flood for instance, one of almost the same level happened in 1974, and in 1893. By all accounts this is tends to be an every 50-100 year thing. Yet on the news there are so many people claiming straight up that this was mans doing without any evidence whatsoever.

The greens may have the right idea, but outright lying does not help their cause and makes people like me cynical towards them.

Re:Please Donate (1, Informative)

1u3hr (530656) | more than 3 years ago | (#34837468)

Australia and especially conservative Queenslanders are amongst the staunchest climate change denialists

You can find plenty of idiots in Australia, as you can everywhere, but to blandly declare that Australians as a whole believe that is bullshit. And no, the couple of quotes you gave are just anecdotal and opinions. Of course, the coal industry exerts immense pressure. And governments give way to that. As they do everywhere.

The Wikileak story you link to is about how the USA blackmailed other countries into watering down Copenhagen. Yet this is somehow proof of "Australian complacency"?.

Re:Please Donate (1)

BJ_Covert_Action (1499847) | more than 3 years ago | (#34837474)

So, let me get this straight, there is a group of people that is actively unfriendly towards the environment. A natural disaster has occurred in the area where that group of people live. Some people in that area, possibly members of the group, possibly not, have died. Other people have outright disappeared. Still other people have had their homes and livelihoods wrecked by a geological event outside the control of the human species. And yet, just because there is a group of people that live in that same area, who have poor environmental practices, the rest of humanity should just turn their backs on everyone affected.

Wow, you're a grade-A, zealous, enviro-nut asshole, FriendlyLurker. I can only hope that you picked your screen name to be ironic, because there is absolutely nothing friendly about the action you are espousing. I think this is one of the most anti-social, sociopathic, and utterly tragic posts I've ever read on this site. You're terrible.

OR (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34835636)

Or you could hold onto your US dollars for about another week, at which point they will translate into alot more Australian dollars of aid than they will today.

The Australian dollar has been peaking out at one-to-one with the US dollar for a while now, which is really overvalued, even given the rat-shit state of the US dollar (cheers/jeers to the speculators). Looks like the fallout [theaustralian.com.au] from the flooding might be about to trigger the correction...

Re:Please Donate (1)

realityimpaired (1668397) | more than 3 years ago | (#34835660)

Ask the people in New Orleans. Parts of that city still haven't been rebuilt, and it's been 6 years since Katrina.

Admittedly, Australia appears to be a much better-managed country, but just because it's a rich country doesn't mean that money won't be needed to help rebuild. Though I'm also thinking that there's likely to be more impetus to rebuild in Aus, too.

Re:Please Donate (3, Insightful)

Cimexus (1355033) | more than 3 years ago | (#34835868)

No offence but that scenario would never happen in AU. Good efforts will be made to rebuild, just as they have been in every previous disaster (Australia is pretty accustomed to major floods, cyclones and fires). Australian cities are generally in a much better state of upkeep than in the US even before a disaster hits. (I'm not saying this in an inflammatory manner, but there is a LOT of urban decay in some places in the US, particularly the downtowns of rust belt/midwestern cities like Detroit.)

As an aside I am appalled that New Orleans is still in the state it's in. I'm an Australian but married an American and spend a good portion of my time in the US now. I cannot understand why the US seems to be such a nation of contrasts: how can a country which is wealthy and mostly filled with good infrastructure seemingly ignore such disrepair and decay in a major city? I'm pretty sure if a similar event happened to Boston or LA or Manhattan that it would have been rebuilt years ago. It's almost like different places in the US act are treated according to completely different rules or something ...

Re:Please Donate (1)

chomsky68 (1719996) | more than 3 years ago | (#34836056)

No offence but that scenario would never happen in AU. Good efforts will be made to rebuild, just as they have been in every previous disaster (Australia is pretty accustomed to major floods, cyclones and fires).

Long live the aussie mateship!

Re:Please Donate (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34837392)

Australians are pretty obnoxious (especially their sports fans) but Paki's are just assholes. In any case, anything you send there will get stolen by corrupt officials.

Getacanoe (1)

Dexter Herbivore (1322345) | more than 3 years ago | (#34835490)

To the person who tagged this story with the above tag in the title, please show some sensitivity... people have died here.

Re:Getacanoe (1)

Cimexus (1355033) | more than 3 years ago | (#34835562)

On top of that, getting a canoe is definitely not good advice. The SES already had to rescue some moron who thought it'd be fun to canoe down the raging torrent that is now the Brisbane River earlier this afternoon. You are best staying away from flood waters in general as they don't behave in the way standard water in the river does...

Re:Getacanoe (1)

timholman (71886) | more than 3 years ago | (#34835776)

The SES already had to rescue some moron who thought it'd be fun to canoe down the raging torrent that is now the Brisbane River earlier this afternoon.

When Nashville flooded last year, an 18-year-old man decided to go tubing down a creek near his apartment when the flood waters began to rise. He was last seen as his tube slammed into a bridge overpass. They found his body about two weeks later.

You really have to wonder about the long-term prospects of those who see raging floodwaters and think: "Hey, that looks like fun!" It's tempting to let Darwin sort things out instead.

Re:Getacanoe (3, Funny)

Kell Bengal (711123) | more than 3 years ago | (#34835946)

Darwin is much further north of where the flooding is, but transporting them to the Northern Territory sounds like an eminently serviceable idea!

Re:Getacanoe (1)

anyGould (1295481) | more than 3 years ago | (#34837128)

Reminds me of a set of photos I saw from an old hurricane.

Picture one was of a fairly normal three-floor apartment complex. Apparently the residents decided to throw a "hurricane party". Stocked up on food and water (and booze and munchies), moved everything up to the third floor, and hunkered down to wait out the storm.

Picture two was of the concrete pad that the apartment complex used to be on - if not for the building footprint, you'd never have known there was a building there in the first place.

Re:Getacanoe (1)

TheLink (130905) | more than 3 years ago | (#34836082)

Plus the water levels are high enough that get your head smashed on bridges and stuff while getting washed down the river...

Maybe we could call doing that a Brisbane award instead of a Darwin award ;).

LOL (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34835112)

and a big LOL goes out to them

Re:LOL (1)

Shikaku (1129753) | more than 3 years ago | (#34835388)

Lots of Love? Aw how sweet...

Oh who the fuck am I kidding everyone knows what it really means =(

What Is This, The Weather Channel??!! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34835116)

Hey Taco, are you going to post a story about the big blizzard coming to NYC next?

C'mon now, let's stick to real news for nerds. This doesn't not matter except to those poor Aussie bastards down there.

Re:What Is This, The Weather Channel??!! (3, Insightful)

DrMaurer (64120) | more than 3 years ago | (#34835334)

Srsly?

Besides the human interest story, there is a specific news item in the post about tech people making communications easier in the midst of disaster. Isn't that really interesting for your inner nerd?

Re:What Is This, The Weather Channel??!! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34835470)

That's a side comment only to justify posting the article. This should not be on /.

Re:What Is This, The Weather Channel??!! (0)

Cwix (1671282) | more than 3 years ago | (#34835790)

"News for nerds, stuff that matters."

No where does it say only tech news or only science news. It says news.

Slashdot is focused on tech/science news, but that does not exclude other types of news. If you don't like the story don't read it.

inb4 (-1, Troll)

gandhi_2 (1108023) | more than 3 years ago | (#34835124)

inb4 global warming and sarah palin blaming

Re:inb4 (1, Interesting)

Cwix (1671282) | more than 3 years ago | (#34835916)

Do you think that Gandhi, your namesake, would approve of you purposefully trying to cause a fight?

Anger and intolerance are the enemies of correct understanding. ~Gandhi

Re:inb4 (1)

Culture20 (968837) | more than 3 years ago | (#34836074)

Do you think that Gandhi, your namesake, would approve of you purposefully trying to cause a fight?

Anger and intolerance are the enemies of correct understanding. ~Gandhi

Dude, GP is Gandhi II! He's a one man recking crew. But he also knows how to party.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QfvLcozLwtE [youtube.com]

Re:inb4 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34837174)

He's a jackass. Ignore him.

Re:inb4 (1)

Gadget_Guy (627405) | more than 3 years ago | (#34836492)

sarah palin blaming

Well she could have at least warned the Australian public that the floods were on the way. I'm sure that she can see Queensland from Alaska!

It's Fast (5, Informative)

Mike Mentalist (544984) | more than 3 years ago | (#34835166)

This BBC video link shows how fast the flooding is - http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-pacific-12161502 [bbc.co.uk]

In the city now. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34835224)

In my extremely overpriced million dollar bubble house in the city. We haven't been flooded yet so far.

Would do anything to move to a Cali mcmansion...and take whatever's left over and spin up a startup.
Unfortunately.you need a million just to buy a U.S. greencard right now...

Wish I could come over and drive up your real estate prices my friends.
I've been looking longingly at U.S. real estate all day...

Sigh... (3, Insightful)

AlexiaDeath (1616055) | more than 3 years ago | (#34835254)

Loss of life and damage is sad of course but... It's really depressing how short peoples memories are even in this day and age. Building on flood areas of rivers and marsh lands ever so happily. Of course its going to flood there. If not in this year then sometime in the next 50-100 years for sure. If people choose to live in such places they should be prepared to rebuild their houses now and then and have a plan of action in case of a flood.

Re:Sigh... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34835290)

Tell that to all of the folks in Bangladesh.

Re:Sigh... (3, Insightful)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 3 years ago | (#34835344)

What I don't understand is people who got wiped out in Katrina, got paid, and then used their money to move back in. If someone hands you a check, take it and run like a motherfucker!

Re:Sigh... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34835396)

If they ran, they wouldn't get paid when it happens again. It's rewarding bad behavior.

Re:Sigh... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34835348)

They have. And the people that live there also know it. But its also fertile land, and if it would be dammed in it would lose the fertility.

Re:Sigh... (1)

GreenMeerkat (1974620) | more than 3 years ago | (#34835398)

You do realise that these areas have been settled for over a century right? And maybe you could leave your "I told you so" until after the death rates finish climing. But yea.. thanks for the empathy.

Re:Sigh... (5, Informative)

Cimexus (1355033) | more than 3 years ago | (#34835518)

The people in Brisbane know full well that certain areas are flood prone, especially those that lived through the 1974 floods. Seems that the current flooding is probably a 1-in-100-year kinda event so they got a bit unlucky. But everyone in these areas in Brisbane knows and accepts the risk.

As for the flash flooding in Toowoomba, well that's a different story. I find it hard to fault their choice of where to live. Far from being a flood plain, Toowoomba is on the top of a freaking plateau 700 metres above sea level, and nothing even remotely like this has happened in its recorded history. A freak event, and very sad.

Re:Sigh... (1)

AlexiaDeath (1616055) | more than 3 years ago | (#34835626)

Couldn't agree more.

Re:Sigh... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34835918)

You do realise they built a huge dam to make the city flood-proof? Now even with the dam it looks as the river will peak above 1974 levels. They took appropriate action to stop it but this is just unprecedented.

Re:Sigh... (1)

Cimexus (1355033) | more than 3 years ago | (#34835950)

Wivenhoe has done its job magnificently - I think you must have misinterpreted my post. I'm saying that thankfully this will only look like a 1-in-100 ARI flood. Without the dam, it would have been more like a 1-in-500 year or something. So you are absolutely right, it's unprecedented (at least as far the dam system is concerned).

Re:Sigh... (3, Insightful)

daid303 (843777) | more than 3 years ago | (#34835832)

As a dutch person I'm offended by this. It's perfectly possible to live in areas that flood easily or are even below sea level. You just need to prepare for it, and respect the water.

Also, flood areas of rivers are very fertile, you want to build food on those lands, or keep cattle on it.

Re:Sigh... (2)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 3 years ago | (#34836188)

build food

This is probably caused by a literal translation from the Dutch, but it still made me chortle.

Re:Sigh... (1)

Apuleius (6901) | more than 3 years ago | (#34837338)

True enough. But if you can move uphill without having to learn German, it's wise to do so.

Re:Sigh... (1)

Gadget_Guy (627405) | more than 3 years ago | (#34836960)

Building on flood areas of rivers and marsh lands ever so happily. Of course its going to flood there.

You know, 75% of the state of Queensland (that is nearly double the size of Texas) has been declared to be in a state of emergency. Are you suggesting that everyone should pack up and move interstate?

Remember when you're reading this... (3, Informative)

definate (876684) | more than 3 years ago | (#34835260)

Remember when you're reading this that it's currently summer down here.

In the region (Brisband) the average temperature for this month is around 27 degrees celsius (80 degrees fahrenheit) [bom.gov.au] and average rainfall is around 100 milliliters for the month (6.1 cubic inches) [bom.gov.au] .

In fact, the entire country has had an extremely wet summer, and an extremely dry winter for the last year or two.

If you want to feel the effects of climate instability, you just gotta come down here, where it's sunny and 36 degrees celsius (96 degrees fahrenheit) one day and raining and 22 degrees celsius (71 degrees fahrenheit) the next.

It's been fucking insane.

Brisband = Brisbane (1)

definate (876684) | more than 3 years ago | (#34835278)

Wow, worst typo (it's late here).

Brisband = Brisbane

Re:Brisband = Brisbane (5, Funny)

ilsaloving (1534307) | more than 3 years ago | (#34835528)

Actually, the worst (best) typo I've ever seen was someone giving a link to the Symbian website (www.symbian.com), but they forgot the m (www.sybian.com).

Re:Brisband = Brisbane (1)

eastlight_jim (1070084) | more than 3 years ago | (#34835556)

I think your best one was to say that the average rainfall is around 6.1 cubic inches! The error is confusing millilitres with millimetres. The first is a measurement of volume (about 6.1 cubic inches) and the second is a length, interpreted in this case as a depth. The area of Brisbane according to wikipedia (I know it's been raining in more than one place but this is an approximation) is 5904.8 square kilometers which gives a total typical rainfall for this area for this month of about 590 million tons or about 3.6x10^13 cubic inches [google.co.uk] .

I'm sure there should be some sort of record broken for most orders of magnitude out here :-)

Re:Remember when you're reading this... (4, Informative)

Cimexus (1355033) | more than 3 years ago | (#34835426)

Small correction ... rainfall is measured as a 'depth', not a 'volume'. So *millimetres* is the unit you are looking for. Average rainfall of 100 mm equates to around 4 inches.

To put the rainfall SE Queensland has had in perspective, virtually all weather stations in the Wivenhoe catchment have recorded between 400-700 mm of rain in the last ~three days~. Some spots even higher (Maleny in the Sunshine Coast hinterland has 740 mm / 29 inches of rain over the last three days - that is a metric f**kton of rainfall in any language)

Re:Remember when you're reading this... (1)

definate (876684) | more than 3 years ago | (#34835468)

Excellent, wasn't sure about that part, thanks!

That's an insane amount of rain. Considering it basically hasn't stop raining for them this entire month, this months levels are going to be fucking huge! In 3 days, they're already off the highest measurement on the BOM's "average" scale.

Re:Remember when you're reading this... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34835524)

that is a metric f**kton of rainfall in any language

I'm American. Can you convert that to Imperial?

Re:Remember when you're reading this... (4, Funny)

srealm (157581) | more than 3 years ago | (#34835588)

1 Metric Fuckton = 1 Imperial Fuckload.

Re:Remember when you're reading this... (2)

dbIII (701233) | more than 3 years ago | (#34836712)

Average yearly rainfall in those areas is 1000-1200mm. The numbers above are most of a years rain in three days.
For the moment the water where I am is not going up or down and is just covering the road. The next high tide is half a day away, and the day after that is when most of the water is supposed to be coming through.

Re:Remember when you're reading this... (5, Insightful)

Dexter Herbivore (1322345) | more than 3 years ago | (#34835472)

If you want to feel the effects of climate instability, you just gotta come down here, where it's sunny and 36 degrees celsius (96 degrees fahrenheit) one day and raining and 22 degrees celsius (71 degrees fahrenheit) the next.

It's been fucking insane.

Hell, that's Melbourne weather at ANY time during the summer.

Re:Remember when you're reading this... (1)

definate (876684) | more than 3 years ago | (#34835566)

It's not Adelaide weather at ANY time during the Summer, but it's just about all we've had for the last 2 years.

It's been fucking shit as.

Re:Remember when you're reading this... (3, Insightful)

0100010001010011 (652467) | more than 3 years ago | (#34835508)

you just gotta come down here, where it's sunny and 36 degrees celsius (96 degrees fahrenheit) one day and raining and 22 degrees celsius (71 degrees fahrenheit) the next.

It's been fucking insane.

We call that "Indiana". I see your instability and raise you.
70F and sunny and 6" of snow and 14F.

Also, how do you measure rain? Stateside it's not in volume but in just inches. Now I believe that they use a capture device with a 1" sq top.

Re:Remember when you're reading this... (1)

definate (876684) | more than 3 years ago | (#34835558)

Yeah, sorry, I messed that up. Another commenter corrected me.

Do your 70F to 14F happen like this...
Day 1: 70F
Day 2: 14F
Day 3: 70F
Day 4: 14F ... and so on.

It's not quite that rapid sometimes, but there's been periods of it. Though our temperatures are more like 100F, 70F, 100F, 70F, and so on.

Re:Remember when you're reading this... (1)

Cimexus (1355033) | more than 3 years ago | (#34835618)

Yeah he got his units mixed up - it's the same here in Australia (i.e. an accumulated depth measurement, in millimetres rather than inches though).

Refer to post above: http://slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=1945828&cid=34835426 [slashdot.org]

Re:Remember when you're reading this... (4, Interesting)

Cimexus (1355033) | more than 3 years ago | (#34835740)

Yeah unfortunately, although I'm Australian and we definitely have extremes in this country, the US midwest has us beat in any "rapid weather change" contest, by a long long way. The extremes in Australia can be just as extreme in magnitude ... but they don't ~change~ as quickly as in North America.

Australia is comparatively insulated from sharply contrasting airmasses meeting each other because we are an island, and there is nothing but ocean between us and the Antarctic. So polar airmasses making their way from the Antarctic up to Australia are considerably moderated and warmed by the ocean before they get to us. Contrast America which has solid land all the way up to the arctic, which doesn't provide much warming (especially when snowcovered in winter) and thus allows airmasses to remain colder for longer as they penetrate southwards. So you can see day by day temperature fluctuations in America that are significantly more severe than in Australia.

Re:Remember when you're reading this... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34837516)

queensland isn't australia. wankers.

Re:Remember when you're reading this... (2)

khallow (566160) | more than 3 years ago | (#34835530)

If you want to feel the effects of climate instability, you just gotta come down here, where it's sunny and 36 degrees celsius (96 degrees fahrenheit) one day and raining and 22 degrees celsius (71 degrees fahrenheit) the next.

Day to day variation is weather not climate.

That pretty well sums up my life . . . (1)

PolygamousRanchKid (1290638) | more than 3 years ago | (#34835578)

It's been fucking insane.

Re:That pretty well sums up my life . . . (1)

MMC Monster (602931) | more than 3 years ago | (#34835840)

It can be more fun to fuck insane than fuck sane. You just have to be careful, as fucking insane can be kinda dangerous at times...

Re:Remember when you're reading this... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34835596)

"average rainfall is around 100 milliliters for the month"

Just 100cc for the whole state? Or is that for the city of Brisbane? That sounds drier than the outback.

Re:Remember when you're reading this... (1)

Revek (133289) | more than 3 years ago | (#34835694)

Sounds just like arkansas

Re:Remember when you're reading this... (0)

ziggyzaggy (552814) | more than 3 years ago | (#34835986)

That's not "climate instability", and these floods and weather have happened before where you live, again and again. Don't fall into the trap of believing climatologist nonsense, who after the facts pull out one of thousands of models and say "oh, see climate change will cause floods!" when four years ago it was "climate change will cause droughts!" And in a violent hurricane season (which has happened cyclically for millennia) they'll say "oh, climate change will cause harsher hurricanes!" utter rubbish, not climate, unscientific garbage.

Re:Remember when you're reading this... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34836128)

If you want to feel the effects of climate instability, you just gotta come down here, where it's sunny and 36 degrees celsius (96 degrees fahrenheit) one day and raining and 22 degrees celsius (71 degrees fahrenheit) the next.

If you half the temperatures, you have just described the normal weather pattern here in Dundee.

Re:Remember when you're reading this... (2)

fremsley471 (792813) | more than 3 years ago | (#34836396)

Spent Feb 2009 travelling from Sydney to Brisbane. Over a four day period 458 mm fell and cut off the local town (Bellingen). The hydrologists assured the local populace this was no more than a 1:40 year event. It happened twice more over the next three months. Things are, perhaps, changing.

But this is the enigma of weather's relationship with climate, they are the same and very different. Climate change will certainly mean expanded, more acidic seas and glacier melt on short term (decadal) timescales, but it will be on a centennial time-scales that we'll see weather patterns change which are definitely linked to our warmer world.

Difference From Katrina... (4, Interesting)

GreenSeven (1970506) | more than 3 years ago | (#34835386)

I was stationed in Biloxi, MS during Katrina and the comm there was terrible. Of course the first thing to go were the phone switches, which made everyone else panic... Funny thing is we had internet the whole time. I think today with the advances in smartphones, the lack of a phone wouldn't have been a huge issue if we could have kept a wi-fi signal up. Good thinking from the Aussies...

Good that they value communications (1)

Ltap (1572175) | more than 3 years ago | (#34835542)

It's good that they're not undervaluing communications, not just between emergency personnel but between regular people. While disaster relief specialists and people like the police need proper communications to organize, many regular people (maybe not Australians, though) will panic in the face of a disaster. Keeping the regular citizen from getting himself killed because of a stupid decision is an important yet underrated thing (since most disaster relief is aimed at poor countries and is intended to do the bare minimum).

Re:Good that they value communications (1)

daid303 (843777) | more than 3 years ago | (#34835848)

Keeping the regular citizen from getting himself killed because of a stupid decision

Not a fan of the Darwin awards I guess?

Flooding is the worst (4, Informative)

MetricT (128876) | more than 3 years ago | (#34835656)

Having endured a 1000 year flood in Tennessee [noaa.gov] last year, flooding of this level is destructive in ways unimaginable to those who haven't experienced it. In one day the Cumberland River turned into something resembling a white-water Mississippi River. Many had to be plucked from their homes via helicopter, and hundreds of homes and businesses were reduced to rubble. [nashvilleflood.net] It crippled the local economy for months. In sheer destructiveness it exceeds an earthquake or hurricane, though mercifully limited in geographic extent. My deepest sympathies to anyone who has to go through something like that.

PTPnet (1)

jefurii (210787) | more than 3 years ago | (#34836432)

A decentralized wireless mesh network like Portland's PTPnet would be just the thing for this. Of course, amateur radio enthusiasts live for times like this, have the tools, and are usually pretty organized.
http://www.personaltelco.net/WikiTour#The_Network [personaltelco.net]
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