Monday, 4 May 2015

I could have used Noahs ark.

So this last Friday the region I live has had quite a bit of rainfall. Turns out it is the was the wettest day in 200 years of history. It also happened to be the date that my partner was having her birthday dinner further up the coast. After I had finished my day of work I had to rush back to my house to pack and leave. Even on the way home water was washing over parts of the road I had never seen in my life. I wasn’t sure if I could get out of my suburb to get to the highway, even get to the restaurant for dinner. I left anyway and thought I would go a back way which turned out to be very backed up with traffic. I thought I would go through another suburb which is slightly higher than mine. It nearly turned out to be a very big mistake. As I came down a hill there was traffic control on a section of road. They were controlling a part of the road that was covered by water. I thought, well if the water is too dangerous to cross that the traffic control would turn us back. They didn’t so I continued to drive. This was a mistake, my car is a small vehicle (save the planet, man) and it was struggling to drive through the water, I could smell the exhaust and belts affected by the water and my car was being pushed to the side. I was worried I would get pushed off the road and I was angry that traffic control let many of us cross. I kept the throttle on, if you stop in the water you will have a world of problems. I managed to get to the other side and was thinking how stupid that crossing was. I was concerned that the electrics of the car were going to be ruined. But the car seemed to be fine. A small hatchback on the other side seen my car and just stopped and put on his hazard lights, (good decision).

I travelled down the road and went to get back onto the previous back way I had tried earlier. Near the local garbage dump there was even more water and I saw an SUV try and cross it and after my previous encounter, I was not going to try it. I decided to go up an overpass into another suburb that I knew connected to the highway. As I drive up the hill to the overpass the rain was so heavy that the water seemed like it was flooding up the hill. A small car ahead of me began to slow down and I was shocked because they could be putting themselves at risk of being pushed by the water. They pulled off the road and I continued on. I drove through the suburb until I came to an intersection the moved 800m in 2 hours. I had several phone calls from my mother and partner giving me updates. The highway when I go to it was completely stopped. I thought I may try and go the back way, this was also stopped. I decided to go further to the back and follow a train line. I seen many cars on the side of the road with tyre blow outs and some just broken down. I pressed on into another suburb going through back streets to avoid backed up traffic on the main roads. It was chaos, cars were driving on the wrong side of the road not abiding by road rules. Cars were left in the middle of the road due to what seemed to be flash flood damage. The intersection I wanted to go through was flooded so I decided to go through a shopping centre to avoid the intersection only to come to a road covered in water. I decided to go back to a road that I knew would lead to the highway. When I got to the end of the road a police officer was directing traffic through an opened weigh bridge to get to the highway. People were speeding on the highway and eventually it came to a stand still less than half a mile from where I got out. It then moved slowly, about walking pace. Cars were even left on the highway and we had to swerve around them. We ended up near a part of the highway that near the outskirts of the metro area. It was there we stopped for the next 3.5 hours. People would get out of cars and have conversations. Turns out a truck ahead had broken down and the water was over the road, combined with a king tide we had to wait. So I pulled out my book I am reading and took the time to relax as there wasn’t much we could do. It wasn’t until 10:30pm we began to move slowly and many people were speeding off even though the water was over the road up further. It was only in one lane, but I hung back to be sure it was safe. With so much rain I expected pot holes, but there wasn’t any to be seen. Cars were now it seemed racing each other and I finally was on the run to my in laws. I had long missed the dinner and I arrived at my in-laws at 11:30pm.

I was lucky 5 people died, 3 in the suburb I spoke about earlier and 2 on the route I was going to take until I was told it was closed. The emergency services were stretched and did a great job. Whilst I admit leaving was the wrong decision, it was because of my determination and persistence that I got to my in-laws by the time I did (a bit of luck too). Some took even longer, I heard 10-12 hours. It is important to be persistent and determined otherwise the road to your goals could take even longer.

I don’t have any pictures, sorry. I was not going to stop for happy snaps in that crazy situation.

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