Flooding is very common in Australia the news is full of stories of ‘once in a lifetime floods ‘or “ 100 year high flood levels “ . I guess we need to accept that flooding is part of the Australian landscape and the most common type of flood is of rivers after large rain events there are 3 types of flooding In Australia they are.
Inland river (Slow onset Flooding)
Vast flat areas of parts of Australia may be come flooded when river overflow from many weeks or sometimes months of heavy rain. This type of flood can devastate low lying areas and rural communities causing loss of livestock, crops, infrastructure such as rail links, roads, fencing and in extreme cases whole towns can be cut off until the flood waters subside.
Mountain / Coastal Rivers (Quick onset flooding)
Flooding can occur more quickly in these coastal / mountainous areas because of the quick flow or mountain rivers created by run off from mountains. This combination of mountain rivers running to the ocean mean the flooding usually last for only a few days before the flood waters subside. The major risk with quick flooding is the warning time is much shorter and the risk of loss of life and property is much higher as a result of fast flowing water with a strong current. High and king tides in coastal areas can make flooding slower to drain away.
Flash flooding results in short intense bursts of rain and can happen anywhere any time and poses the greatest risk to life and property. People and animals are often swept away in flash floods and many cars are lost trying to cross flooded roads. It’s the most dangerous type of flood because of the lack of warning time.
So what happens next?
Water weighs approximately 1 ton per cubic meter and even more if it is full of silt and debris. In the Queensland 2011 floods the town of Grantham was decimated by flooding waters that removed whole buildings, just from the force of the water .Lives were lost and two people have never been found to my knowledge. Severe damage can occur from fast moving flood waters to your home, either by the water it self or by the debris that is carried in it. I remember driving out near Minden in the Lockyer Valley shortly after the 2011 floods and just about every bridge had a shed or a water tank wedged under it.
The mud, all that silt and soil that comes thru your home brings with it microbes, and if not treated will continue to release mould spores for the life of your home. This is why often the internal linings of your family home right up to the flood level will have to be removed, and a sanitising solution applied after the walls are thoroughly cleaned. Small things like all your power outlets and switches will have to be replaced, you home may require rewiring if there is damage to the electrical wiring/ meter board in your home. Especially if it needs to be brought up to code for repairs.
Asbestos is another thing to think about it can be found in many places in your home and the fact that the linings have to be stripped back to sanitise the home you may end up with a whole new interior of you home. Your roof may be replaced if the flood waters totally submerge your home as there is no way to clean and sanitise the roof space and underside of roofing and insulation. Things like doors and trims will have to be replaced as they are often destroyed when soaked in water. We have seen cases of highset homes surviving the flood waters but all the stumps holding up the home moved by fast running flood water having to be restumped.
Any way you look at it your home will not be able to move back into immediately if you are in a major flood for quite some time. Sadly, most if not all your belongings in the home will not be salvageable. It’s a stressful time and a time that the Great Aussie spirit rises to help out, remember the mud army in Brisbane during the 2011 floods an army of over twenty five thousand volunteers got in and helped with the clean-up speeding up the recovery efforts.