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Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Preparedness Tested Part 1

The Williams River had flood warnings issued well in advance of the rainfall but a strange thing happened many if not most farmers were caught out including ourselves. We all recalled the 2007 East Coast Low and the river peaking at it's highest level. And then moved cattle and horses accordingly.

Well that didn't work because the river rose an additional 3 metres higher than before. All those ridges that remained above the 2007 water level now sat 2 metres below the water line. And it all happened very quickly i.e. no second chances.

On Monday night I moved the cattle on our work place farm off the river into what was deemed a secure paddock. On Tuesday morning we could no longer access that property. Being a cautious worrier about these things and watching the river spread I contacted the neighbour to that property and was able to get the cattle released into the highest ground. I found out later it was only with an hour to spare.

Some farmers were lucky and their animals floated down stream and survived but most others were not.

So what happened here. We all suffered the same bias. We did not allow for the event to be any worse than our existing memories. We also believed the rate of rise would be the same.

New rule for preparedness. Assume the very worst.

When we finally made it across the river to the work property we could see this silage had floated from beneath the tree line in the distance to higher ground with no damage.

Two days after the flood

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