Up to 4000 homes and 800 businesses are still threatened, but the city of Launceston, Tasmania, looks to have got through the most dangerous phase of flooding.
Unfortunately, at least one woman has died and another man is missing.
Floodwaters have been building for several days, and peaked at 10am in the city’s Tamar River basin yesterday, but a high tide at 3.30pm caused more havoc in the afternoon.
The city’s flood levees, which took 20 years to build after the 1929 floods which claimed 22 lives, are modeled on one-in-200-year flood events.
Launceston Flood Authority general manager Andrew Fullard told the ABC this week’s disaster was “somewhere between the one-in-50, or one-in-100”.
The images have been incredible, from where flooding first hit in the north-west town of Latrobe, down through Launceston’s spectacular Cataract Gorge, out through to the north-east.
Parts of the South Esk river were reaching the top of power poles:
The Cataract Gorge grounds, just a few minutes from Launceston’s CBD, disappeared. Here it is in summer:
It threatened cows:
And of course, people:
Some on the north-west coast tried to rescue their beloved boats:
Others just had to wait for the inevitable:
As the South Esk made its way to Launceston, the town of Longford got in the way:
The Duck Reach power station, which was destroyed in the 1929 floods, was rebuilt, decommissioned in 1955 and destroyed again by floods in 1969. In 1995, the bridge was finally rebuilt and the power station restored as a museum.
Hopefully it’s not back to the drawing board for the bridge. Here you can see it outlined yesterday:
Yesterday, floodwaters were battering it:
Back in Launceston, the flooding in the Tamar basin was incredible:
It threatened to hit several bridges linking the city’s CBD and north:
The bridges were closed overnight and flood barriers erected:
This 1929 shot shows how it would have looked if the levees weren’t built:
One of the state’s finest restaurants, Stillwater, sits right where the South Esk enters the Tamar basin:
The levee held:
But the force of the South Esk gave the North Esk on the other side nowhere to enter:
The floodwaters in some parts are so high, flood warning signs have been washed away. Tasmania Police are asking residents to keep on eye on their community alerts page for updates.
For now, it looks like the state has got through the worst of it.
— BOM Tasmania (@BOM_Tas) June 8, 2016
Today, the clean-up begins.
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