Lake Queensland

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Australia Rain 2010

Australia Rain 2010

Note that the Magenta / Red areas are over One Meter of rainfall. And it’s still coming down.

That graph / map is for the “Northern Rain Season 2010” of 1 Oct to 31 Dec. The next graph / map shows it’s still falling into the start of 2011:

Australia Rain 1-4 Jan 2011

Australia Rain 1-4 Jan 2011

On this graph the dark blue is “ONLY” 15 to 20 cm of rain in 4 days. That’s 6 to 8 inches of rain. 2 inches a day, every day.

Graphs made at this site:

In California today, I had sun. Not a lot, just some, but no rain. After a week or so of ‘an inch a day’ of rain, relief.

Right in the middle of feeling sorry for myself, I found that The Weather Channel was talking about the ongoing flooding in Queensland, Australia. They make me look like a wimp in the desert…

TWC said it was between 16 inches and 2 FEET of rain. In ONE month. We’re talking 40 to 60 cm. Based on the above BOM graphs, TWC was understating things.

Say a prayer of hope for those folks.

This article says an area the size of France is flooded:

Australia floods larger than France strand 200,000

– Fri Dec 31, 8:32 am ET

BRISBANE, Australia – Military aircraft dropped supplies to towns cut off by floods in northeastern Australia as the prime minister promised new assistance Friday to the 200,000 people affected by waters covering an area larger than France and Germany combined.

Residents were stocking up on food or evacuating their homes as rising rivers inundated or isolated 22 towns in the state of Queensland.

The L.A. Times has:,0,4348510.story

Much of the water is spillover from Fairbairn Dam, with a maximum capacity that is five times that of Sydney Harbor. It is at 140% capacity, officials said.

“It’s an enormous wall of water and it’s slowly moving down the state and that’s why some towns are being hit twice,” Red Cross spokesman Michael Gillies Smith said. “Thousands of homes are going to be destroyed and some evacuation centers will be open for a number of weeks.”

Greg Goebel, the Red Cross’ executive director in Queensland, said his organization was rushing to get staff members to towns before the waters cut them off. Although people were returning home where they could, they were finding their residences inundated with mud and silt — and wildlife, he said.

“A lot of snakes have come out,” Goebel said. “Residents have come home to find [highly venomous] red-bellied black snakes and brown snakes. And around Rockhampton there’s certainly going to be an increase in crocodiles in creeks and streams.”

“Country people are quite stoic in Australia, but it’s wearing thin,” he said. “It’s a huge disaster. Some people won’t get home to their homes for at least another week, 10 days.”

On a practical note, it’s cutting shipments of materials from the nation’s mines. Including coal. This could rapidly escalate into power problems elsewhere in Australia and the world:

Coal Stockpiles at Queensland Port ‘Very Low’ on Flood
By Ben Sharples – Jan 3, 2011 9:44 PM GMT-0800

Coal stockpiles at the export harbor of Gladstone in Australia’s Queensland state are “very low” after flooding shut the Blackwater rail network that transports the commodity from mines to the port.

Eighteen ships are outside the harbor waiting to load at the RG Tanna terminal, Acting Chief Executive Officer Craig Walker said in an e-mailed statement today. A further 12 are expected at the port in the next 10 days, Walker said.

The Blackwater rail network, which serves at least 20 mines, remains closed by the flooding, QR National Ltd. Spokesman Mark Hairsine said in an e-mailed statement. BHP Billiton Ltd., Rio Tinto Group and Xstrata Plc are among companies that transport coal on the line to Gladstone.

Each of those stories has much more on the other end of the link, including pictures on the first two.

This is what a true catastrophe looks like. This is what you prepare for, and hope never arrives.

This is also why I use glass jars and sealed cans for storage of my emergency equipment. They survive a flood. They have survived a 7.2 quake. They survive ‘critters’ (that have chewed through some plastic and wooden storage I’ve tried in the past). While I hope no one ever needs them, this is probably a good time to take a moment to think about your emergency preparation equipment, food, and fuel.

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About E.M.Smith

A technical managerial sort interested in things from Stonehenge to computer science. My present "hot buttons' are the mythology of Climate Change and ancient metrology; but things change...
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68 Responses to Lake Queensland

  1. Pingback: Tweets that mention Lake Queensland « Musings from the Chiefio --

  2. Baa Humbug says:

    Yes that’s a ‘ell of a lot of water chief. But here’s the problem. Since settlement, folks knew of these types of big floods, so they built their homes on stilts. Beautiful large country homes on stilts. I live in one here in Brisbane. They are known as Queenslanders.

    However, during and since the great population shift into Queensland (from about late 70’s early 80’s to now, about 50,000 per year) folks who moved into the area built homes exactly like the ones down south where they came from. NO STILTS.

    One can see in all of the flood footage, homes on stilts with very minimal water intrusion, but “southern” homes literally under water.

    Other fools who bought these beautiful Queenslanders, converted the stilted area into granny flats (which is what I’ve got and what I use as my retreat from the kids).

    In the old days when cars became prevalant, the stilted areas were used only as garages/carports.

    The other advantage of a home in the tropics being up on stilts is obvious.

    Having been told repeatedly by our resident AGW alarmists for the last 10yrs (Tim Flannery, Neville Nicholls et al) that droughts were a permanent feature, people forgot what floods do.
    They got a rude awakening earlier in 2010 with a big flood but did nothing about it. Now this biblical flood has hit and it’s not over yet.

    They need to go back to sensible planning laws and make people build structures suitable to the CLIMATE of the region.
    Why is something so simple and sensible so hard to understand?

    Also, not a single dam has been built for the last 20 years. All this fresh water is wasting. But we do have a brand spanking new desalination plant at a cost of $3billion sitting idle because the dams are overflowing.

  3. xyzlatin says:

    I love a sunburnt country,
    A land of sweeping plains,
    Of ragged mountain ranges,
    Of droughts and flooding rains.
    I love her far horizons,
    I love her jewel-sea,
    Her beauty and her terror –
    The wide brown land for me!

    Extract from “My Country” Written by Dorothea McKellar (1885–1968). Unfortunately the warmists have misled the people into believing otherwise during the last 10 year drought.
    I totally agree with Baa Humbug about the style of houses being built on flood plains (ie most of the outback).

  4. Chris in Hervey Bay says:

    Exactly right Baa,

    I see there are 45 coal ships now at Hay Point (just south of Mackay) waiting to be loaded. (ABC News 4/1/11)

    The younger generations just have to learn it all over again. Never take any notice of us “Oldies”.

  5. Ian W says:

    Interesting to note in the link you gave to food storage that the just-in-time global food supply system is a tragedy waiting to happen. This is a symptom of a larger malaise. ‘Business school’ graduates with zero experience of the actual functions of an organization are put in charge and start applying business systems that are inappropriate to the industry without realizing (or perhaps discounting) the potential risk of their actions due to the increase in short term returns.
    In many ways the recent London Heathrow outage due to snow was caused by businessmen running a shopping mall with an airport attached who only had a dozen snow ploughs/sweeper vehicles for the entire airport. Also in the UK National Health Service where ‘bed occupancy rates’ of 90% or higher are seen as ‘efficiency’, rather like checkout queues at Walmart, but which now cannot cope with a relatively small upswing in influenza cases.

    I am sure that there are many more examples. It would be nice to see a return to enterprises actually being run by people who understood their business.

    It is almost certain that the Queensland planning authorities who put in desalination plants and approved ground level homes in flood plains, had carried out a business school level ‘studies and risk analyses’. Now they should be called to account.

  6. Chris in Hervey Bay says:

    I said over at WUWT the other day, they won’t have to worry about the hidden heat in the Pacific any more because most of the Pacific is now in Queensland, and if it keeps raining as it is, I’ll be able to walk to New Zealand by Friday !!

  7. Pascvaks says:

    “While I hope no one ever needs them, this is probably a good time to take a moment to think about your emergency preparation equipment, food, and fuel.” (Chiefio)
    “They need to go back to sensible planning laws and make people build structures suitable to the CLIMATE of the region.
    Why is something so simple and sensible so hard to understand? Also, not a single dam has been built for the last 20 years. All this fresh water is wasting. But we do have a brand spanking new desalination plant at a cost of $3billion sitting idle because the dams are overflowing.” (Baa Humbug)
    “Unfortunately the warmists have misled the people into believing otherwise during the last 10 year drought.” (xyzlatin)
    “…the just-in-time global food supply system is a tragedy waiting to happen. This is a symptom of a larger malaise. ‘Business school’ graduates with zero experience of the actual functions of an organization are put in charge and start applying business systems that are inappropriate to the industry without realizing (or perhaps discounting) the potential risk of their actions due to the increase in short term returns. In many ways the recent London Heathrow outage due to snow was caused by businessmen running a shopping mall with an airport attached” (Ian W)

    “Houston! We have a problem.”

  8. Paul Hanlon says:

    Yep, we see the exact same thing in Britain and here in Ireland, where new homes are being built on flood plains (they’re called flood plains for a reason) without adequate drainage facilities being provided. Result: a few extra inches of rain, and chaos.

    But here’s a thing. At the same time as we have had record snow in the wettest country in Europe, our water is being shut off at seven o’clock every evening until seven next morning to conserve supplies.

    This has nothing to do with the economic crisis, and everything to do with the abysmal lack of even the most rudimentary planning by the muppets that govern us.

  9. Jason Calley says:

    Same thing here in Florida. Especially during the housing boom I saw new, expensive homes being built in locations that I knew from recent experience flooded to six or eight feet every few years. madness!

    Still…If I were CEO of a corporation, I too would be very tempted to make my decisions based almost entirely on short term profits — and not long term prudence. Why? Because a system of finances and politics which has destroyed the basis of long term economic decision information demands it. Throughout the western world, there has been less and less surety of future worth of dollar, euro or yen. No one knows whether their place of employment will be running next year. No one knows with any reasonable certainty what tax structures will be in place next year. In some jurisdictions even ex post facto laws are enforced. Technological change is another wild card. All things considered, short term profit, short term bonuses and short term legal liability, make a lot of sense. I am NOT saying that such thinking is desirable or even ethical. I am just saying that lack of long term planning is baked into our current system. It runs deeper than just an unpleasant fad such as polyester suits, and will not go away by itself.

  10. Jeff Alberts says:

    “Say a prayer of hope for those folks.”

    I would prefer to actually do something meaningful.

  11. PhilJourdan says:

    We got 16 inches of rain in 7 hours – back in 04 (thanks to Gaston). Not far from here, they got 26 inches in 24 hours back in 69 (Camille).

    Nature is not a “fair” lady. She does what she does and explains to no one why. My prayers go out to those in Queensland. I hope it ends soon for them.

  12. John F. Hultquist says:

    I lived two years in Cincinnati, Ohio. Here, on the south edge of the city, the Ohio River flows to the west. Directly across the river is Kentucky and the Licking River. See here:

    In the picture Cincy is in the hazy distance. On the left side (west) of the Licking River is Covington; on the right side (east) is Newport and other named places.

    In the 1950s & 1960s the value of the property in Covington was higher than in Newport, so levees were maintained (when built exactly I do not know). In Newport many houses were on stilts, used as a car and boat parking area. All could be different now.

    In addition to the flood protection offered, the “Queenslander” has other benefits as described here:

  13. George says:

    You might find this interesting:

    The Chinese economy is heading toward an economic hard landing; it will overshoot to the downside and become the economic Black Swan event of 2011-2012. Inflation, yes both types, will be the story in China in the coming months.

    The steps necessary for an economic black swan landing have all happened, what is next is just the crash landing. The rains in Australia have cemented China’s economic slowdown. The rains will have longer lasting implications for both economies.

    * China is about to have its steel mills shut down due to a lack of available high BTU coal. This has always been the weak link in the Chinese export model. A reliance on imported raw commodities.

    * China is about to have its electrical grid under perform during the peak winter months as it uses Australian high grade coal to “sweeten” local Chinese sourced low grade low BTU coal for their power plants. While these plants will operate using the local coal, they will not produce the same Megawatt load they did.

    * China will have to import emergency supplies of Diesel to help the local factories to continue to run on their own independently powered generators.

    * China will end up paying at least 100% increase in high grade coal prices, year over year. This will have to be pushed into their cost structure, it is too large to absorb.

    And it just gets worse from there … good article.

  14. E.M.Smith says:

    @Baa Humbug:

    Saw a similar home near the Mississippi. On large concrete stilts. Car port under, home on top. During their (regular) flooding, just got in the car and drove away. Home was fine. Lost the lawn mower and related from the ‘car area’.

    Neighbor not so bright lost everything as he was ‘on slab on grade’….

    I wish one could legislate smarts, but you can’t.

    I grew up in a place that was 32 foot elevation and 200+ miles from the ocean, surrounded by mountains in a big bowl. (Central Valley of California). When it rains, it puddles. Sometimes quite deeply.

    The old houses are on mounds, raised areas, or stilts…

    My whole town had the home lots on 3 foot elevated lots. The curbs were ‘double height’ with a ‘step’ in them. During the heavy rains of the ’50s and ’60s the streets would fill with water, but the houses didn’t. During the ’80s and ’90s there was talk of ripping out the ‘inconvenient’ high curbs. I hope they didn’t…

    @Ian W:

    I don’t know how much of it is “biz schools” and how much of it is “MTV Generation”. My son is a “biz school” grad, but has a decent grounding in reality (though that may be despite the biz school…)

    FWIW, my ‘pet peeve’ on exactly what you are saying is this: The Biz School Method says to every year look at your product mix and ax the 10% with lowest profit and increase the floor space for the highest margin goods. The problem? If you follow that method, every store will end up selling nothing but clothes and candy. What do I find when I go the the “hardware” store and the “drug” store? Ever more clothes and candy ….

    We used to have a stellar hardware store. Orchard Supply Hardware. They had all sorts of ‘unusual’ things that you eventually needed one of. (They started supplying the local farmers / orchards). I got to where I’d just hit OSH rather than wasting time anywhere else. Buy the one ‘odd duck’ and about $100 of ‘regular stuff’ too. Then Sears bought them. Over the years, one product line at a time, the ‘interesting and needed but low margin / volume’ bits have gone. More candy and clothes. They only real twist is that they have now mutated into a Sears Tool Departement with a Sears Appliance Department on some of them. Need a giant wrench or an odd plumbing fitting? They are no longer very useful. Need a snickers bar as you pick up some overalls and a set of standard size wrenches? No problem…

    They simply do NOT understand merchandizing the way an old store merchant does. It’s all spreadsheet driven (and my ‘attendance’ there is down apace… but seems to have been replaced with a herd of mindless drones buying cheap Chinese screwdrivers and overalls…)

    At any rate, I do agree there is a real need for folks who actually understand what their business is about and have some sense of history.

    @Jason Calley:

    Well said. Part of it is the Tyranny Of The Quarterly Report. When you as a manager live or die on this quarter profit number, worry about a flood in a decade is just not even on the radar. I’ve tried to get executives to care about even a 4 year time horizon. Often it’s nearly impossible. Were it up to me, I’d ban quarterly financial reports entirely. Have an annual at most and a decadal report as the one that determined bonuses…

    @Jeff Alberts:

    Never heard of “Praise the Lord, and pass the ammunition!”?

    Prayer DOES do something meaningful, and does so for a large number of persons. It focuses the mind, and steels the spirit for the hard work that is to come. So please, do not disparage prayer.

    (I am an agnositc with athiest leanings, so this isn’t some religious driven thing on my part. But I know a lot of folks who are religious, and prayer helps them in very real and tangible ways.)

  15. Jason Calley says:

    RE Houses on stilts: darned good idea, and I still see a lot of ’em near the creeks and beaches, but those are the homes of old timers. The newer residents don’t qite go for the esthetics of it. Personally, I think an old home on stilts in five feet of water looks just fine — much better than a slab home in five feet. I have wondered why people don’t build slab homes that float. The concrete ships built in World War One were pretty much poured concrete with (I think) bar reenforcement. Of course they became obsolete after the War with advances in welding and with the alternate use of ferocement and its much finer mesh layers. Still, the concrete boats worked reasonably well. Maybe foamed cement could be used for a home slab. The flood comes, the house floats up (get an anchor!), the waters receed, the house settles back… Remember to get flex couplings or quick disconnect on utilities.

    RE Good hardware stores: I understand exactly your frustration. Perhaps this anecdote signals an odd life, but I still have my memories of my favorite hardware store. Can’t remember the name now, but 30 years ago in Dallas, it was the best. I went in one day and they asked if “there were anything I needed..” For some reason, the first thing that came to mind was the broken spring on my Swiss Army Knife scissors. I told them and they answered. “Well, we don’t get much call for those. But we have some here.” The clerk reached under a glass case and pulled out a small box of Swiss Army Knife scissor springs. I was impressed. Another day, I was there with my barely three year old son, who was at that stage where kids grab things off the shelf. Before I could stop him, he reached into a bin of small bolts and pulled one out. He looked at it, realized it was in the wrong bin. Looked a bit more and put the bolt where it belonged. There are some times when being a father makes you very, very proud!

    God… I miss that store. :)

  16. E.M.Smith says:

    @Jason Calley:

    Just get the Dutch to build your subdivisions…

    Do a google on “Dutch floating homes” and you get a lot more too…

    Don’t get me started on ‘straightening’… the spouse and I once spent about 2 hours putting skeins of thread back in the right buckets at the craft store… One lead to another lead to another lead to… you either have ‘the gift’ or you are a lazy slob that makes me straighten things compulsively ;-)

    A good hardware store is like an old cluttered attic full of stuff and odds and ends, and with a large barn out back full of all the big stuff. Some things all put together and some things as buckets of parts. Except it’s all new and works. ;-)

  17. George says:

    Actually, I am in favor of moving population centers away from the water and allowing rivers to have room to spread out. While that doesn’t help in cases like the central valley where the land is just plain flat and low, it would work wonders to reduce flood damage in cities built on rivers.

    In the old days these cities were built on the rivers because that was the primary route of communication. These days the rail and highway are the primary routes (though there is still considerable barge traffic on the Mississippi).

    Many of these places should be moved back from the rivers, the levees moved back, allow the river to spread out, lose energy, drop silt, and use the flood plain for farmland where they get a nice recharge of topsoil every few years.

    Better, in my opinion, to work with nature rather than against her.

  18. Jason Calley says:

    Ahhhhh… thanks! The link to
    is probably going to eat some of my time. :)

    Lovely canal barges. One of the pleasant things about my wife is that she is enthusiastic about such things. There is something very appealing about following the smaller waterways, near to the surface and slowly, where you can see what passes you by.

  19. Jerry says:

    guess they ran out of poly bear pics, but then again when in Australia………. :)

  20. Ian Beale says:

    A link to local information on the Queensland floods:-

  21. George says:

    And the seven day forecast on the weather page shows rain each day for the next seven days.

    And once that pump is primed, it will likely keep raining for a while.

  22. E.M.Smith says:


    It’s a very expensive thing to move a city….

    FWIW, cities develope any time there are intermodal transporation hubs. So where rail met barge or ship were major places.

    Now that freeways have a major place in our lives, you get towns like Vacaville (literally ‘cow town’) that have spread out and growed up as 2 freeways pass through it.

    But we have the legacy cities at old rail / boat ports.

    For Scramento, they made the “Yolo Bypass”. A nice wide chunk of farmed valley next to the city and graded such that the flood goes that-a-way. Works very well…

    A couple of years back, Fargo was drowing. I looked at it, and figured out a fairly easy “bypass” they could build:

    but I don’t think anyone will do that either… even though it’s fairly easy and cheap as engineering solutions go.

    Would it be wise to slowly move cities away from flood plains? Yup. Will it happen? Nope. (Other than rare and unusual cases).

    OK, with that said: I don’t think anything but the “live in a barge” solution would do much for the rain of Biblical Proportions being dumped on Queensland…

  23. Margaret says:

    We have been watching this on our news for the last week or ten days. The only redeeming feature is that it is a slow moving catastrophe – so people are generally able to get out of the way before the worst.

    The Aussies are also quite well organised — though we here in New Zealand have just sent off our first crew of trained flood relief workers to help as well. This is getting to the stage where international assistance is warranted.

  24. George says:

    Hey, I stumbled across something else:

    It is pretty interesting. You can click on any state of the states shown in color on that map and it takes you to another map of the “snowtel” sites in that states. You can get all sorts of information from a location.


    This one in Glacier National Park (or near it)

    There are several in the California Sierra Nevada as well.

  25. pyromancer76 says:

    E.M., did you give the number-of-year-flood events that this Australian disaster represents? My addled brain (moving around and out for remodel — also have been told that large % of divorces happen around remodels!) cannot find number. I enjoy these. 100? 200? 500? or more. “As my father used to say”, these idiots who build on flood plains/areas deserve what they get. He was usually riled up about his increased insurance costs; those who were enoumously! enhancing the risks of disaster were not bearing the cost — of whatever, lakefront property; streamside property, property on “beautiful” land that a river channel or mouth is likely to transform sooner or later; or like in our Southern California mountains, build where fire or flood or debris flows or landslide will, absolutely will, someday soon, destroy the property. He knew of so many examples.

    I do feel for these people in Australia; what a horrible, terrible feeling to watch what you have worked years and years for disappear into the water — this enevitable force of our beloved Earth. I feel it deeply. Last winter I felt the Mongolians’ tragedy as their livestock froze to death. It is unbearably sad when the productivity of people’s lifetime of work and worry and struggle “goes up in smoke”, or water, or ice, or mud, or volcanic products.

    I would like to see a law in the U.S., that other countries could copy, that there must be a “paleo”-geology and climate (without adjustments) report for every region that must be available to every politician, developer, insurance co, and consumer, posted on-line, (transparency and accountability) so that everyone is on the same page about disaster possibilities. (How far back? Oh, maybe the Holocene will do, but I would prefer at least that American magic number, one million.) Even though I am afraid of laws and government control, if this one is aimed at “knowledge” of geological and climate history, then we might create something of a level playing field. In particular, the consumer could look this up for his/her protection.

    One of your best comments and one of the most poignant for our current situation in the U.S.: “Well said. Part of it is the Tyranny Of The Quarterly Report. When you as a manager live or die on this quarter profit number, worry about a flood in a decade is just not even on the radar. I’ve tried to get executives to care about even a 4 year time horizon. Often it’s nearly impossible. Were it up to me, I’d ban quarterly financial reports entirely. Have an annual at most and a decadal report as the one that determined bonuses…” An excellent Teaparty idea.

  26. Baa Humbug says:

    Thankyou to those of you who expressed kind sentiments for my fellow Queenslanders.

    Just watching a news conference now. Major General Mick Slater has been appointed to head a task force. A no nonsense man who’ll get the job done I have no doubt.

    Our mates from New Zealand coming across the ditch to help out is a matter of course, that’s just what we do for each other on a regular basis. I doubt international aid is necessary.

    As far as the size of the tragedy is concerned, it’s all material. No lives have been lost that I’m aware of (except a couple of the usual fools who think flood waters are playgrounds).

    The biggest problem is the sheer size of the flood area. Some communities are totally isolated. They look like semi submerged islands.

    Queenslanders are very resilient. During the Black saturday bushfires in Victoria (a state down south) in 2009, Queensland was flooding at the same time. The government had announced financial aid for the flood victims. The ‘victims’ asked the government to pass that aid to the bushfire victims instead.

    What’s happened has happened, people will get through this in their own way, some easier than others. We can’t undo the flood.
    My worry is the bad advice our govts are given by the so called experts. Talk about once in a 1000yr flood etc is not helpful as that encourages policy makers to think this won’t happen again anytime soon.
    But it will happen. It maybe later this year or the next but it will happen again. What our policy makers do from this point on is the important question.

  27. George says:

    “I’ve tried to get executives to care about even a 4 year time horizon. Often it’s nearly impossible.”

    That comes from the thinking that “the long run is nothing but a series of short runs placed end to end”.

    One of the problems I have is cases where there is no slack built into the system. Every part of the infrastructure must work perfectly all the time. Just In Time manufacturing is that way. Any disruption of supplies and the plant shuts down. So a fault early in the supply chain brings the entire chain to a halt.

    They don’t want to maintain inventories as that is seen as money wasted and, frankly, if things are disrupted, they have insurance for that.

    That Queensland railroad being shut down must be causing havoc all over the place.

  28. P.G. Sharrow says:

    Out sourcing manufacturing and just in time supply are the things MBAs are made of. Make that bottom line pop and you get a big bonus. System crashes, no problem, act of god. Get system running again and you collect big bonus. No worries mate.
    If you fixed things right the first time, no bonus because no one sees a saving. If there is no system crash then why do we need you as things are working quite well without you. Everyone does well and your are up a creek.

    I don’t understand; PNS – post normal science
    or PNM – post normal management

    Do the job right the first time and you don’t have to do it over. I am kind of lazy and hate to do things twice.

    When I was a teen 50 years ago I knew Australia was a boom and bust place due to very erratic rain falls. There must be the same brain damage in Australian politicians as there is in California, no memory or knowlage of the past.
    Too bad they can’t be shot for deriliction of duty. pg

  29. John F. Hultquist says:

    I’ve looked at the ‘snotel’ sites in Washington State. A couple of years ago they dismissed the associate state climatologist because he didn’t follow the low-snow party line. He had the data. Be sure to read the parts about how they measure snow depth and so on. I’m not sure what accuracy they claim but there are some issues.

    Baa Humbug,
    I doubt international aid is necessary.
    From the reports and photos I’m seeing – I think you will get various sorts of help even though on-site help, such as the Kewies that will be arriving, may be few in number. The size of the area and the disruption to all parts of society is monumental.
    An official offer has been made by Hillary Clinton and there will be non-governmental offers as well.
    The best to all.

  30. George says:


    Well, they could well possibly have “issues” but what I would look at would be the data from a given station over time. As long as it has the same issues over time, it shouldn’t impact the trend.

    One of the places I check from time to time is here:

    To get an idea of the snow cover and compare it to other years. We seem to have a little less snow cover over the US this year than we had at the same time last year.

  31. Ian W says:


    I was given a small portable solar battery charger a bit larger than an iPhone. It seems to work well and trickle charges anything with a USB input. There are some larger ones that can trickle charge car batteries at ~50w output. Perhaps you should consider one of these for your crash-bag kit.

  32. Tony Hansen says:

    Looked like we were going to miss the rain that was coming through tonight (a sharp upper air thingamy apparently – you know….the stuff they dont show on the weather maps), but then picked up 82mm (3.3 inches) in about 4 hours.
    Am surmising that there was somewhat more in other places, but it will take ten days or more for any of our new water to get to Rockhampton- but more rain is forecast for the next 48 hrs.

    A rather interesting question is how long can local coal fired power stations keep going before their stockpiles run out? No new coal has been delivered for a week or so. Some say it does not matter.. well I guess we will see.

    Some rail lines have been washed out, some mines have been inundated, some roads (bridges?) have been washed out, some roads are load limited (and there are many ships waiting to be loaded with coal).

    And how does this affect China?

    We do live in interesting times.

  33. E.M.Smith says:

    @Ian W:

    I have a 100 W 12 Vdc to 120 Vac converter that lives in my backpack for laptop and cellphone ( I thought I listed one in the kits, but it’s been a while). I’ve also got them in 150W, 200W, 250W, 300W, 1000 W (can you say compulsive?)…

    I finally convinced myself to sell my 4kW generator to a friend (as we’d only ever used the 1kW Honda since purchasing it…).

    I’ve also got about 1/2 dozen “solar chargers” that are about the size of a paperback book (and the batteries clip into the backside). They do “OK”, but it’s just a lot easier to ‘hit the car socket’… and folks are pretty much always near cars…

    At any rate, I probably do need to update to the USB generation… but I also need to be careful about adding too much to the kits and I’m a bit “compulsive” on some things, like inverters and chargers… So maybe it would be best if someone else decided to make the recommendation, say in a comment on the kit page? That way I’d know I wasn’t just doing another “Ooohh! The Shiny Thing!” …. 8-)

  34. E.M.Smith says:

    @Tony Hansen:

    Sorry to hear that the rain continues…

    China can eventually swap to other sources of supply like the USA. My bigger worry would be Australian generation. It’s unlikely you have ships waiting to haul coal in to, oh, Sydney, that can just ‘repurpose’ to a rail head at Seatle Washington…

    One of the great features of a coal power plant is that you can just pile up 6 months of coal in a heap and not worry. That’s what folks used to do (partly just to get low cost ‘buy’ times). Lately the push has been to lower inventory. (Both for “environmental” reasons of dust / water runoff and for ‘lower inventory carry costs’). There are now coal plants, like the one in Laughlin Nevada, that have a dedicated coal slurry pipeline to them. NO inventory. If the pipe shuts down, the lights go out.

    So “how long” before the lights go out will depend entirely on local decisions (and a tiny bit on age of the plant). Could be minutes; could be months.

    What is clear is that the ‘inventory pipeline’ is draining and that will create issues.

    So I’d expect to see some “glitches” in the ROW, but nothing TOO bad as ships that were supposed to be returning with coal instead are queing at a different port and folks negotiate increases in deliveries from their ‘second tier’ suppliers (who will see two opportunities… more volume or more price… decisions decisions…)

    What I have poor position to evaluate is the impact on Australia.

    Most likely no ships and contracts for overseas delivery and ‘coastal shippers’ usually don’t cross the Pacific. Even if they did, the transit time is far higher than Queensland to Sydney…

    There’s a potential ‘big story’ there, depending on how much coal is used inside Australia and where all it comes from. If lucky, there’s 6 months in a heap next to the old coal plants and nothing at all will happen other than the pile shrinks for a couple of months.

    If unlucky, the lights start going out in a few weeks near the newer facilities with just in time deliveries …

  35. E.M.Smith says:

    Looking at the wiki, it looks like Australia can keep domestic coal if it’s an emergency and shift the problem to it’s consumers. It also looks like Queensland will be an “issue” in Asia…

    There is a chart of major mines that shows mines in other states, so Australia can use that coal for power (and likely already does in those states… so any power outage from domestic coal shortage is likely to be limited to Queensland).

    It also says that Australia exports a LOT of coal.

    Coal in Australia is mined in every state and territory of the country. It is used to generate electricity and is exported. 75% of the coal mined in Australia is exported, mostly to eastern Asia. In 2000/01, 258.5 million tonnes of coal was mined, and 193.6 million tonnes exported. Coal also provides about 85% of Australia’s electricity production.[1] In fiscal year 2008/09, 487 million tonnes of coal was mined, and 261 million tonnes exported.[2] Australia is the world’s leading coal exporter.

    Given that chart, it looks like the major impact is going to be on exports from QLD to the ROW with minor impact inside QLD (but where you can probably get trucks and trains delivering enough emergency supplies to generators if needed (and where, most likely, demand will be ‘way down’ anyway as the consumers are most likely under water right now…)

    The second chart on the page is in some ways also enlightening. It shows who buys the coal.

    Japan and ROK Korea get hit hardest…

    The third chart shows major export ports. NSW is about 105 Mt while QLD is about 150 Mt (quick scan).

    So that says to me about a 1/2 to 3/5 cut off in exports.

    This page:

    shows US exports as about 39 Mt, so a 150 Mt shortage is not going to be easily covered…

    OK, conclusions:

    My take on this is that Japan will likely crank up the nukes, and it’s the coking coal that will be an issue for them. So steel prices are likely going to rise for a while.

    Similar scenario for Korea.

    China will substitute other sources.

    Coal in USA will rise, likely a lot, as it will in other mining countries.

    Expect places, like EU, to ramp down their coal plants and crank up their nukes / nat gas generation. USA too to some extent.

    It will likely all ‘work out’ with little visible IFF the rains stop in the next few weeks. If this becomes a ‘regular feature’ for a couple of years or if these rains continue for a couple of months…. there will ‘be issues’ with coal world wide, and they will not be environmental ones.

  36. Everybody knew that was going to happen, since some Global Warming believers down there forecasted big droughts…. Remember? :-)

  37. dearieme says:

    @Baa Humbug, we lived in a Queenslander when we lived in Brisbane. Beneath it we stored not Granny, but cat food. We were on a slope, so the front of the house was on stilts (“stumps”) and the back kissed the earth. Which meant, alas, that as the dry season warmed towards its end, the cats started bringing snakes to the back door.

  38. Ian W says:

    Adolfo Giurfa
    Everybody knew that was going to happen, since some Global Warming believers down there forecasted big droughts…. Remember? :-)

    But they are still droughts – strongly negative droughts (as forecast predicted projected by the models)

  39. Baa Humbug says:

    NASA earth observatory has before n after images of the Queensland floods.

    p.s. It’s raining quite heavily right now in Rockhampton

    As a side note, ‘experts’ are predicting a 0.5% hit to the national GDP or $6-7 billion
    But ofcourse, the rebuilding effort will conversely increase GDP

  40. Baa Humbug says:

    The Australian BoM has released it’s 2010 report. makes for interesting reading. The rainfall chart is instructive.

  41. j ferguson says:


    In architecture school we were advised by a very successful custom home designer to get the fee in front. His experience was that many custom home designs were undertaken as a last resort to keep the marriage going – kids grown up, husband freshly retired, no mutual agenda. And the couples often were unable to weather the construction process – in many cases not unlike an external appendectomy, if that conveys.

    Obviously this doesn’t obtain in your case.

  42. Myrddin Seren says:


    Finally sighted a Youtube post on the La Nina lapping over the top of a coal mine I am closely tied to – and not happy about the financial ramifications thereof.

    Mining types tell me that it is rare for anyone to actually catch a pit inundation on tape as it occurs. So this will probably enjoy some academic interest in the future.

    You will note it has been posted by one of the workers at the mine – who is not going to be mining coal for a few weeks.

  43. Jeff Alberts says:

    Never heard of “Praise the Lord, and pass the ammunition!”?

    Prayer DOES do something meaningful, and does so for a large number of persons. It focuses the mind, and steels the spirit for the hard work that is to come. So please, do not disparage prayer.

    (I am an agnositc with athiest leanings, so this isn’t some religious driven thing on my part. But I know a lot of folks who are religious, and prayer helps them in very real and tangible ways.)

    Yes, but you’re speaking of the prayor, as it were, not the prayee. There’s no evidence that praying FOR someone will have any beneficial effect. If it makes YOU feel better about yourself, then fine. But it won’t help one single person trying to fight floodwaters or its effects.

  44. George says:

    But it won’t help one single person trying to fight floodwaters or its effects.

    I disagree in that a person in that situation, knowing that people are praying for them, might have just a little bit more determination to get through another day. And while simply saying you are praying for them might be enough to lift their spirit some, actually doing so would tend to make the prayor honest in their words to the prayee.

    It isn’t so much about the prayer as it is knowing that other people stand with you in solidarity in a very personal way that is different from just sending words of encouragement.

    It can give a feeling of almost an obligation on the part of the prayee to hold up their end of the bargain and stick it out. It is deeper and more personal of a connection that simply posting encouraging words on a wall someplace. At least it is for many people.

    I am not particularly religious myself but I have seen the impact of religion on people under stress, and it can be a powerful force that gets people though situations where “logic” would tell you that there is no hope.

  45. Baa Humbug says:

    Here is an excellent article about the Queensland floods that we won’t see in the “disaster porn” loving MSM.

    From spiked on line


    “proportion is precisely what has been lacking in the coverage. Such is the perceived vulnerability of Queensland residents that it’s not just the exceptional weather they ought to be concerned about, but snakes, crocs and thieves, too. As the Queenslanders’ resilience virtually disappears under the disaster-loving gaze of the world’s media, so the potential threats expand to absurd dimensions…..

    The reality, however, has been a little different. People have not panicked. And many have not fled. It is telling that in Rockhampton, the largest town severely affected by the flooding, an evacuation centre was established for a possible 1,500 people. On 2 January, it housed just 50.

    The same goes for the anticipated epidemic of looting. Rather than people seizing an opportunity to nick stuff, as some commentators disparagingly assumed, the police revealed that thefts and break-ins are actually below average for the New Year period.

    Queensland residents, despite the taxing conditions, have simply been far more reasoned and composed than many in the media and the authorities seemed to anticipate. One Rockhampton resident, Deon Barden, was positively humorous about his flood-enforced exile on the fringes of Rockhampton: ‘My missus and everything is all stuck in Rocky – I’m out here by myself so I’ll have a bit of peace and quiet if anything.’

    I am a proud Queenslander and it would give me joy if fellow Chiefio bloggers clicked on the link above and read the full article.

    Thnx in advance.

  46. Jeff Alberts says:


    In the situations you’re describing, it’s not the prayer that’s helping, it’s the fact that you’re behind the people in trouble and are willing to help, or have hope for their survival.

    I didn’t want to de-rail the discussion, and I apologize for that. It was an off-the-cuff statement, and I won’t respond to it further.

    And I DO hope the people of Queensland come out of this ok.

  47. E.M.Smith says:

    @Jeff Alberts:

    Fair enough. I’ll squelch my desire to site articles that studied prayer and “did anything happen” that found positive impacts… it’s in the same genre as folks who concentrate causing a ‘flip flop’ to have a non-random output. Just interesting enough to pull you in, then no prize at the other end… There is some evidence for mind action at a distance, it’s just too marginal and dodgy to be good for much…

    @Baa Humbug:

    Saw something very similar during Loma Prieta quake. Folks just “pitched in”. All the ‘hype” about disaster and looting and whatever just evaporated in the reality.

    My 2 favorite images were at MAJOR intersections (we’re talking 3 lanes each way each side, so a 6 x 6 plus left turn lanes) with the lights and all power out, where you would expect traffic mayhem, there were “Just Plain Folks” directing traffic.

    One was a lady in a business suit (skirt and matching business jacket, tie, modest heels) the other an athletic guy in bright spandex with bike helmet on, his high end 10 speed? 15 speed? leaning on the defunct light pole.

    Each smiling and having a grand time “helping out” and everyone else appreciating them and being careful and polite.

    I had a ‘wine and cheese party’ with satellite TV dish (they were rare then, we were an early adopter) and friends over to ‘watch the disaster’ on TV, when the reality was much different. I was setting up for a “block dinner” but realized it wasn’t needed. For a couple of days you could hear generators in the blocks still without power, and walking by would often see two or three houses lit from one guys machine. I figured I could keep 4 or 5 going with my “rig”, but didn’t need to. Our block kept power on.

    There were stories circulated locally of folks having “quake parties” and firing up the BBQ to cook up any meat before it spoiled. Neighborhood pot lucks.

    I volunteered for a couple of things (including driving some kids home from school) but wasn’t needed. They had more folks than it took already. (Some teachers did spend a while longer at school waiting for parents to get un-stuck and show up… )

    Up in Oakland it was largely citizen volunteers who first climbed all over the collapsed freeway and got folks out, or gave first aid and assistance.

    Similar thing happened in one of the hurricanes. Andrew? Folks made up ‘block militias’ and set up community kitchens. There were one or two attempted (very minor) looting episodes, but basically less theft than in normal times. (At least in the area I was following) Tell people “food and bed over there, water over here, Bob has lights and we’ve got a secure perimeter” and they just settle in. It took a week or two to get those neghborhoods “back together” and yet folks did just fine. Camping in the yards and making shelter out of the ‘found materials’ and what buildings were intact.

    I remember a MSM reporter trying to go ape shit over the idea of “guys with guns” and vigilanty-ism and the very calm and intelligent response from the guy next to the BBQ that “We’d heard some shooting in the distance, and the news, that’s you, were reporting some looting, so we’ve appointed folks to be the security detail. It’s just a precaution. They are armed, but don’t expect to use them. It’s just a policing function.” then some discussion of scheduled shifts and dinner schedule (i.e. everyone would get fed a warm meal, even those on night shift). It was very well organized. The reporter was kind of stuck at that point. How could they get “juice” out of ~”Everything physically is trashed, and we’re doing just fine. We’ve got established civilization and rules of order. We’d like the regular police to take over when they can get here.” So talk shifted to the ‘burn barrel’ fire and lack of city lighting for as far as could be seen…

    This in the deep south in a place with 100 miles of destruction on all sides and no hope of ‘aid’ for a week or two.

    “Self Rescue” at it’s finest.

    So I’m going to read your link, and love every minute of it…

    Wonder how “roast gator” is done “down under style” ;-)

  48. Baa Humbug says:

    Thnx chief, what a great read that was.

    Ian Beale, where are you? I’m in the northern suburbs of Brisbane. We just copped the mother of all downpours overnight. Some areas got 300ml in 24hrs. I got over 200ml here in Strathpine. An hour north of me, at the Sunshine Coast, some poor folks are being evacuated AGAIN. They just got back home a couple of days ago. Gympie and Dalby copping it the worst.

    In Brisbane (35mins south of me) they’re expecting river max tomorrow. Though the rains are as bad as the infamous 74 floods, due to a couple of big dams being built since, they don’t expect as much damage. Minor street flooding.

    Nrthrn New South Wales also on flood alert. 150 homes evacuated.

    Rains expected to continue for 2 more days.

    Our PM Jooolya Gillard is just now announcing extra aid to individuals and businesses and farmers. (The export coal money is coming in handy) :)

    She says $1000 emergency up front plus the equivalent of the dole for individuals……..variable payments to business and farmers.

    back to mopping for me :)

  49. George says:

    @ Baa Humbug

    Are the local jurisdictions doing anything along the lines of aquifer recharge using all this excess water? It would seem to me that a large amount of water could be pumped underground to be used during dry periods. I realize it wouldn’t be enough to mitigate the flooding, what I have in mind is more of an effort to mitigate future drought conditions by banking excess water with a sort of underground reservoir. Conventional reservoirs lose considerable amounts of water due to evaporation.

    I would favor the building of what amounts to municipal water treatment plants that filter surface water (sans chlorination/fluoridation) and pump the water underground into the same aquifers they draw from. Plants providing millions of gallons per day are available to provide potable drinking water from rivers in US cities. A plant of this size pumping 30 million US Gal./day into an aquifer could be a valuable resource later during drought conditions.

  50. Baa Humbug says:

    That’s a good question. I don’t know. I’ll try to find out.

    Australia has what’s know as the Great Artesian Basin,

    Unfettered use of the basin water was restricted (quite heavily in some cases) over the last couple of decades.

    Queensland would have been better off building some of these recharge stations instead of the now mothballed desal plant that cost over $1.5 billion

  51. Baa Humbug says:

    Hello again George (I’m sorry, I forgot to address you with my last post, had only just awoke from a much needed nap. Arms and thighs very stiff from 8hrs constant mopping, getting old lol)

    It seems we are barely at the feasibility study stage for an aquifer recharge programme. Here is a link with the various study locations. One is just 5mins from me.

    Note that the main purpose of theses studies is for FRIGGING ENVIRONMENTAL FLOWS.
    So I’m guessing they had in mind perpetual El Nino droughts and some greenies talked them into forking out a few millions for the studies.

    I’ll suggest to our idiot premier maybe we should shove a huge pipe down into the basin and crank up the idle desal plant. It’s costing us $300,000 p/w just to sit idle, might as well put it to good use for future drought mitigation FOR OUR FARMERS.

  52. Ian Beale says:

    Baa Humbug

    We’re about half way between Roma and Charleville and where most of the action isn’t at the moment – March was a bit hectic though.

    For an update on the day – see

  53. George says:

    @ Baa Humbug

    Well, if it’s any consolation, I think even California could benefit from such a system. If we are going to prevent the pumping of water from the Sacramento River delta for distribution to the farmers, maybe we could take several million gallons a day that would otherwise be released through flood control structures during periods of surplus and pump it underground for the farmers to use.

    Our current “groundwater recharge” programs are just that, recharging of shallow aquifers that generally don’t do much other than spring for creeks. We could recharge deep aquifers but I have so far seen no interest in doing so.

  54. Baa Humbug says:

    Watching news now. Toowoomba, a town of 100,000+ about 80miles (130k) west of Brisbane has been hit with flash floods.

    TV pics look really bad. cars rushing along raging torrents like matchsticks. Emergency services can’t get to all who need help.

    We have another 24-48 hrs to ride this out.

  55. E.M.Smith says:

    Sorry to hear about how much this disaster is NOT over yet…

    FWIW, there is a groundwater recharge station just a few miles from me. Excess rain water in the creek is diverted into some ponds about 2 to 3 meters deep, with big pipes in the bottom that go waaayyy down to ‘somewhat near’ where the pumps are, but with enough dirt between them to filter it some.

    Seems to work OK.

  56. Baa Humbug says:

    Hi E M, thnku for your sentiments.

    Us Aussies pump out 1500 megalitres of ground water from the G A Basin every day. (used to be 2000 before restrictions)

    So any recharge project will need to be quite large.

    p.s. Toowoomba is atop a hill. below it is a few small towns and very important food growing region. A wall of water is about to hit this low lying area any moment now. Emergency evacuation warnings have been announced all afternoon.
    The whole thing was quite unexpected. (8.30pm here now)

  57. Jason Calley says:

    @ George “Are the local jurisdictions doing anything along the lines of aquifer recharge using all this excess water? ”

    Brilliant idea. I know that such a system has been in place for years in Texas, and is used to recharge the Edwars aquifer. They channel surface water through local creekbeds and into sinkholes.

  58. E.M.Smith says:

    @Baa Humbug:

    Or many little ones…

    The more spread out they are, the better. (The one near me is not the only one.) They can be made to be like small local ponds with a bit of park on the edges.

    BTW, I think you want the injection site to be “near the aquifer they draw from” not in it. That way the bed between acts as a very nice filter and you don’t need to clean the water to drinking quality before letting it percolate in… (If it’s already cleaned to drinking quality, might as well just use it then…)

    IIRC, we “inject” at something like 700 feet and pump out about 1500 ? Something like that…

  59. George says:

    There is a “recharge” location near me which is basically releasing of water out of Stevens Creek reservoir and running the water down the creek to percolate into the surface aquifer.

  60. Baa Humbug says:

    Quick update for my friends at Chiefios.

    A very bad situation has turned into a trdgedy here in Sth East Queensland.
    Around the Toowoomba area, 8 killed and 72 reported missing.
    A wall of water heading to the major regional area of Ipswich and also to the City of Brisbane.

    Most of Brisbane city and sthrn suburbs told to evacuate.
    Even my suburb of Strathpine nrth of city told to evacuate. My house is high enough (I hope) I’ve moved the horses and cattle to high ground (hope high enough) and the chooks, rooster and turkey n ducks are in my pool area.

    No point going into details now but those interested can access details on the web. or

  61. Ian Beale says:


    I don’t know what your local equivalent might be, but this is like the Big Thompson in Colorado in 1976. E.g.

    (for Baa Humbug if you haven’t met this one)

    Update of today

    Too many articles to pick one here

  62. Ian Beale says:


    Any clues as to why I’m now getting a Lock and a “Secure content” question?

  63. Tony Hansen says:

    Best of luck to you and yours Baa.
    According to weather bloke on one of the TV stations the river in Brisbane is expected to go past the 1974 flood levels (about 5.4 metres).
    That will be the biggest since 1890 when it (twice) got past 8.0 metres and up to 8.1 metres.
    1841 was a little higher than the 1890’s.

  64. Tony Hansen says:

    That is to go ‘just’ past the 1974 levels.
    But of course these are ‘model’ predictions/forecasts/projections/guesses…..
    Who knows?

  65. E.M.Smith says:

    @Ian Beale:

    No idea. The only “security” feature I had set was an “always use https when doing administration pages” feature in my personal profile. Ought to have no impact on you or anyone other than me. Just to see if there is a ‘bug” I’ve turned it off and I’m using manual entry of https if I do admin pages. Let me know if anything changes.

    Is it on any particular page? My admin panel tells me all pages in the last several months (as far back as I looked) are “published” not “private” or “password”.

    @Tony Hansen:

    So 1974 we were in the middle of a plunge to the cold side too. Now we’re closer to the start than the end.

    Don’t suppose you have a handy “history of flooding in QL” near to hand? It would be interesting to know if they were dry in the ’30s-50s, then turned flooded in the ’60s-70s, then dry in the ’80s-90s, then …

    1841 abnd 1890. 50 years between them. Not exactly a 60 year cyclical marker, but close enough (especially if surrounding 60 year points were close but just not records). 1890 +50 = 1940 or with +60 it’s 1950. Were the 1950’s prone to flood? Then add 60 = 2010 …

    Anyone know of a graph of floods in QL over history?

  66. Baa Humbug says:

    G’mrn EM

    Here you go, some flood history. First link is for Brisbane and Ipswich.

    Second is numerous links/lists for the whole of Queensland. Both are BoM records


  67. Ian Beale says:


    No lock or message this morning. It only happened on last night’s reading if that helps. I’ve done no changes my end.

    An indication of speed of rise of Brisbane River. One of our boys was helping get boats etc out of their schools rowing shed yesterday afternoon. Started on dry land at 4pm, water in boat shed by about 7:30 and knee deep in the car park.

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