TC Debbie isn’t done with us yet.
I woke up at 2.30am, hot and uncomfortable, and realised the power was out. The wind had risen again and this time, it was coming from the north. After phoning the power company and explaining to the after-hours help-desk in Brisbane that this was north Queensland and the TC Debbie aftermath, the nice lady was unable to give me any idea when power might be restored, said that we were among 430 households without power in this area, the guys who would fix it wouldn’t be allowed out till the wind eased and it was daylight, and please don’t go outside in the dark in case there was a live cable lying on the ground. Reasonable, in the circumstances.
By 6.30am we were still out. The Husband also discovered that Debbie’s circulation ‘afterburn’ had blown over the fence between us and our left hand neighbours and stripped a lot of leaves. It was still raining… The wind has veered round to the north instead of the east, so we’re getting a whole new set of things being blown over/down/around.
At 9.30am we resigned ourselves to an extended period without power. We fired up the generator and plugged the fridge into it. You can do without a lot of electrical things, but no fridge is a tough one. It’s a powerful, but not particularly quiet, generator, so if we still have no power at bedtime, we’ll hook the generator up to the caravan all the way out the back and sleep there – at least we can run the aircon in there and be comfortable. It’s still around 27°C/80°F.
We have battery lanterns, the phones and laptops are charged, we have a mobile internet dongle, the fridge is running and once it’s cooled down again, we can plug in other stuff to make life a little more pleasant. Personally, I’m eyeing the big pile of wet towels in the laundry. They’re going to get a bit feral unless dealt with soon… Unfortunately, our local supermarket is one of the places without power, so at some stage we’ll have to extract the car from its place of safety, squelch and slide through the mud and stormwater, and go foraging. I can feed us for many more days on what I have, but it’s the coffee…. must have milk! And speaking of coffee, we must unearth the stovetop percolator from the caravan – the plunger coffee tastes pretty ordinary compared with the stuff we’ve been drinking.
What we’re seeing is the long thin band of bad weather that’s whipping round in Debbie’s tail. There’s rain, wind, thunder and lightning. Just what we need to help with the clean up! We’ve subsequently discovered that the big old trees by the school at the end of the street have dropped limbs onto the power lines, hence the outage. It’s not going to be a priority fix; the precedence goes to hospitals and emergency services, service stations and supermarkets, and then everything else. The school will be closed anyway. I reckon they’ll take their time. It could be up to a week. What fun, eh? Not.
On the upside, we have a generator, a solid roof over our heads, clean running water and enough food. I consider us rather lucky.
If you’re located in Central or SE Queensland, or Northern to mid North Coast NSW, I urge you to read this report from Higgins Storm Chasing about forthcoming weather. Friends, you’re in for a severe wetting and early notice may help you take measures. I’d show you the radar map of what it looks like from the Bureau of Meterorology, but the website’s currently so over-subscribed I can’t even get it to open 😦
Later the same day: It has rained almost without ceasing all day, and very heavily. If it gives you any idea, we had 20.2mm in two minutes, as recorded at the weather station at Mackay Airport. That’s ridiculous. I finally managed to get onto the BoM website, and here’s the jolly picture. This weather system isn’t going away without a fight…. Having mopped a lot of that rain up off our lower ground floor where it had broken in uninvited, I feel a certain sense of ownership of this storm. It’s either that, or have a good cry…
And now, we are retiring to our comfy, cool, dry watertight caravan to sleep the sleep of the just. Or perhaps the deserving. Or just bloody tired. More in the morning.