Wednesday, January 30, 2013


The winds howled and roared, wave after wave of awful, eerie wailing and moaning swept across the valley below while the rain pounded the window above our bed.   Sleep eluded me as I waited for the old oak gum tree to crash into our house ...

Last Sunday night I thought I was in Wuthering Heights ...
but no, the trees were whipped and lashed by the storm known as ex-tropical cyclone Oswald, the little cyclone who refused to give up or give in.

And he's still at it.
Up and down the eastern coast of Australia, towns are drenched by the deluge, thousands of homes and businesses going under rising floodwaters,
and in Brisbane about 250,000 people lost power.

It may be my own fault of course.
In the comments section of a post last week, I mentioned that cyclones rarely come to Brisbane ...

We were lucky; we live on a hill safe from the creek below, and our damage is restricted to water coming through the roof and ceiling of one room only.

On Monday morning, after fitful sleep, we awoke to a strange silence.
The wind had subsided, there was the patter of light rain, but no white noise in the neighbourhood.  
The electricity had gone, and did not return for 50 hours!
It is the longest blackout I have ever experienced ..

In our local park ...

No driving that way today ...

Spare a thought for the many people who are still without power after 4 or 5 days (50,000 just in Brisbane, plus many other towns) those who are now homeless, or have lost crops, farm animals and businesses.

We have learned one thing from this experience:
We are really Bad at disaster preparation, and need to lift our game.
When the authorities gave due warning on Sunday, I went out for more food.
Loss of electricity did not occur to me.
We had insufficient batteries for the one battery radio in the house, and by the time we went shopping there were no batteries and no ice to be had, anywhere!

Monday, lunchtime, standing in the rain, attempting to barbeque chicken and salmon, and boil water for cup of tea.
Result: poor to medium.

Yesterday we had 37 degree heat and high humidity.
Today, I had to empty a freezer and two refrigerators, and take the contents to one of the food dumping stations, helpfully provided by Brisbane City Council.
Result: wasteful.

On Monday night we had our annual Australia Day barbeque for all the families in our court.  Everyone (except me) has a white dog...
Drizzling rain was ignored, and we had plenty to talk about!

It is wonderful to be safe, secure, and survive!



  1. Dear Patricia,
    I am pleased to read that you are well and safe. I was horrified to watch the news and see those terrible floods there where you are.
    Like you wrote , its hit many parts and some poor people have lost their homes.. Who would think that. Global warming is arriving quicker than we think.
    At least now, you know what emergency equipment and items you will need.. but lets hope there is not a next time.
    Great to get together for a bbq in the neighbourhood... lots to talk about.
    Stay safe.. hope that the sun has dried up some of the deluge.
    val.. and thank you for your comments Patricia.

    1. I think you are right Val, the global warming is changing things and making it less predictable. We are safe, and trying to clean up. It is raining again, so no sun to help me. Mould is the enemy now. Thank you for commenting, and I hope you are snug and warm over there! xx

  2. What a dreadful experience to go through, Patricia! All those people whose homes have been destroyed, that must be heart-breaking. I too, would have been unprepared, believe me. Lack of electricity would have stumped me. Glad you managed to get through it with only minor damage. The main thing to hope for is that nobody gets hurt, but I hope that's the last you've seen of it.

    1. So many people in trouble in various places, we have no complaints. I thought we would be flood-bound (it's happened before) hence the stock up. Silly me didn't think of electricity. Tinned food next time!

  3. So sorry to hear what is happening over there....hope that the situation has eased now.It does seem to be a regular occurence in the last few years,hopefully as you say lessons will be learnt,and the government act.

    Stay safe.Ida

    PS left a belated reply on your last post.

    1. Thanks Ida, it is clean up time here, so we are getting on with it. More flooding is occuring in Rockhampton and also south in NSW. This is all very unusual in its distribution; I think the Government is scrambling to catch up with the 'new' weather patterns.

  4. I thought of you when I saw the news reports from Australis and knew that was why we were not seeing your blog posts. Glad you are safe and sorry for those who lost so much. And the freezer food losses are so sickening. I used to keep lots of food in the freezer but one year we had a power outage that lasted 11 days. So now if I stockpile food it's canned goods and rotate it. It must also have been miserable without the AC in that heat. Glad you are "back" and hopefully things will return to normal soon.

    1. No blogging when no power, Sanda! Very frustrating.. I think I remember that big power outage in the eastern USA, which would have undone me completely. I was at the point of wanting to leave when it came back on. Definitely it will be canned food in future; lesson has been learnt. The humidity and heat really sap one's energy, but it is cooler today.

  5. Saw the terrible floods on the news. Glad you're on a hill and your indoor spaces stayed (mainly) dry. Your party looked nice, though. How does anyone keep their dogs that white?

    1. Hi Beryl, Wow, we reached the news over in the USA! We are thankful for the hill, although it made the wind much worse and scarier. Those dogs have been playing out in the rain for days - they are whiter than white!!

  6. Horrible floods, so sorry for everyone who who lost property and now has to clean up the damage. Glad you didn't have any more damage than mentioned. Give you and your neighbors lots of credit on going ahead with the party. Here's to better weather!


    1. Hi Darla, The statistics of what is happening to people up and down the country are very sobering indeed. Too much to reprint here, and very sad. The party was smaller than usual but very soothing actually. As we could not cook at home, it also made feeding our families much easier. We were all a bit like drowned rats this year, instead of our usual party selves :)

  7. I'm very glad your damage wasn't worse, Patricia, though the (ex) cyclone winds and torrential rain must have been been a horrible experience. I've been following the news coverage on TV here and the situation looks a lot worse than 2 years ago to me. How frustrating to have to throw away so much food. I do hope the power is restored fgor everyone before long.

    1. Dear Perpetua, thank you for your comments and kind thoughts. The winds scared me witless - I have never heard anything like it before. While the Brisbane river did not rise as high as 2 years ago, other aspects are worse due to the winds. Falling trees everywhere meant massive power losses. Today they are down to about 30,000 still without power, I think. The worst cases could take weeks. We are very lucky to have minimal problems like replacing food and mould!

  8. Rain in one room, no power, food gone but I understand why you call yourself lucky. i am glad that you and Mr Cardinal got through this.

    1. Thanks Valerie, and I hope you are out of its path. This little devil Oswald is marching south by the day! Very unusual weather; no wonder the Qld Govt seems unsure of itself in how to manage the water in the dams.

  9. Dear Patricia - the weather around the world seems to be a feast or a famine, nothing in moderation these days. It is only a week or so ago that Australia had terrible fires from the heat and now flooding.
    I, like you, live on top of a hill, and am always grateful for that when I learn of flooding in the valley below. The problem with being high up of course is the wind, but rather that than water in the home.
    So pleased that apart from loosing your power and frozen food, all was well with you and that you weathered the storm.

    1. Dear Rosemary, this is so true, no moderation in modern weather. Our front lawn is very odd now, a mix of the brown and burnt with bright green coming through - all in about 10 days. As a hill dweller, you will know how it amplifies the wind factor. I was concerned about how the house would stand up to it, but all was well, and we weathered the storm and live to tell the tale!

  10. What extremes of weather you have had over in Australia. The long, long, heatwave, now the rain, wind and flooding, and once again heat.
    Really sympathize with all those who have really been caught by the changes of the weather, the young, old and animals too.
    I agree, once this is over, you should ( Australia ) should update your survival plan to similar disasters.
    One shouldn´t ignore these plans.
    Sending my xx´s.

    1. Our weather in January certainly has been at the extreme level, Mette. We wonder what will come next! So many disasters in various towns and cities, one on every page of the newspaper. It is hard to comprehend. Disaster plans for the future must not be ignored!