People who know me (including all the students who have ever been in a class of mine) know that I’m a nerd for numbers. Well, here are 3:
221, 352, 361.
These figures represent the total amount of rain, to the nearest millimetre, that fell during the winter months (June, July and August) of 2013 in Melbourne, Perth and Sydney, respectively. Here’s another number:
Like the aforementioned trio, this number also represents millimetres of rainfall – this time for Kununurra Lakeside, where I happen to live. However, even though it’s substantially bigger than the other 3, this measurement wasn’t accumulated over 3 months. Or 1 month. Or, for that matter, even a single fortnight or a week.
It’s for 48 hours.
To be precise, the 48 hours from about 9pm last Wednesday night, through to the same time on Friday. Locals say they’ve never seen so much water in such a short period of time. One of our bus drivers, Keith, reckoned it was the most water he’d seen in his 45 years in town. Mr Teddy Carlton, an elder of the Miriuwung Gajerrong people, said he’d seen nothing like it in the last 50 years.
Needless to say, the town and the school copped an absolute drenching! I’d suggest that any day you can jump in a kayak and paddle down one of the main streets is a particularly wet one:
And when the roads look like this it’s easy to understand why attendance at school on the Friday was as low as it’s been in my time here:
For those who did make it to school, they got to see a lovely river running straight through the school yard:
And just in case the SD iPhone footage was a bit grainy for your liking, here’s some stuff that was shot a wee bit more professionally that’ll show how much water was around the place:
Needless to say, the amount of water though the town and the school caused a few headaches on Friday, not least of which was the encroaching water level lapping at the doors to blocks of the school. Fortunately, due to a swiftly executed action plan, we were able to ensure the movement of parents and children from lunch until home time was as organised as possible. Our front office staff coped amazingly well with a deluge of parent and community enquires, and we were able to get all children home, including those who’s route was cut off by water up to 1m high.
School was more or less back to normal today, apart from a bit of surface water around the place and a fair few kids missing. A decent proportion of our students come from communities outside of town, and with names like Crossing Falls, Molly Springs, Emu Creek and Cockatoo Creek you can probably guess that with all the water around the place those communities are still cut off from town. As the water recedes, we should get our full compliment of kids back into classrooms. Until then, all eyes remain on the BOM radar, because if that current tropical low that’s been hanging around the Territory comes our way, we might be getting seriously wet all over again!
(And for those of you who, like me until last year, hadn’t left the city to have a crack at a teaching stint in rural Australia, it’s episodes like this that richen one’s experiences – both the school and life varieties!)