The rain came as predicted. It is amazing how the prophesy of weather has become so accurate. The art by holding up the index finger to guess future weather patterns has vanished, and has been replaced by satellite and bearded scientists peering at screens while sipping coffee out of a take away carton. We hear about El Nina and El Nino which I always get mixed up. In any case, climate change has thrown a spanner in weather forecasting.
We thought living about six hundred metres above sea-level would be safe. But this low pressure system was as predicted ‘a monster storm’. Warnings were flashed on our TVs to stay indoors and bunker down. The timing of this low moving south were precise to the hour. We stayed up and watched the sky turn an ashen grey. It started a bit light with the wind picking up. The northern part of Australia copped it first and footage was shown of palms and people bending in the wind. Umbrellas were turned-inside out, always a favourite by weather journalists who keep inside-out umbrellas in their cupboards together with sad looking teddy bears as props for future use.
We, by the time the monster storm reached our region, were dressed in our pyjamas and felt safe. We had some previous minor flooding in the garage but addressed it by building a concrete levy between a property higher up from us. It worked perfectly by diverting water to the road instead of our garden and garage. The Dutch always had a thing about staying above water, no matter what. The rain intensified and was lashing our area as never experienced before. The wind was howling, and was clearly out for revenge.
However, reports now came in of fatalities and angry rescue teams that people were still foolishly driving through rising water levies. It was now getting light and without having slept and still in pyjamas noticed the garage had flooded again. The water entered from the street which had become a raging river. Helvi took a measuring tape from her sewing basket and measured the depth of water in the garage. It was three centimetres. Our living quarters next to the garage is about fifteen centimetres above the garage floor.
Gerard was seen, heroically stepping to the fore, carrying sandbags in an effort to divert the flood to the stormwater drain in the middle of the road about six metres from our front door. He was in his pyjamas and it was so cold. Never mind, you do anything to prevent water entering your living-room and wet the Turkish carpet. Milo was nervous as well but cunningly stayed indoors. He, in the meantime noticed the storm water drain had had enough and could take no more. Helvi again went to the garage and measured the depth of the flooding. It was now six centimetres. She shouted out to him; ‘it is now six centimetres.’
He was still (heroically) battling the storm-water drain. He surrendered. It was beyond reason no matter how he cursed and swore. The rain was now a solid waterfall. ‘It is eight centimetres,’ she shouted anxiously. He went inside, worse for wear, as the cliché demanded, very wet, cold, and his partials-teeth rattling. He, in a mighty last effort carried sodden bags to the front door. The water was three centimetres from entering our living quarters.
We were amazed seeing footage of properties tumbling into the sea. One property even lost an entire swimming pool. We wondered why, when living so close to the water, a swimming pool was put in. Did they not know the sea-water was just metres away?
We were so close to getting water inside. One man here in Bowral drowned inside his car being swept away by rising water in the creek that flow behind our property. The same shallow murmuring creek that we almost daily take Milo to.
The ducks were none the worse for wear.
My book is for sale; ‘Almost There,’ by Gerard Oosterman. ( Amazon, Lulu and other outlets.)