Australia in Drought, Fire and Flood

In case you missed it, Australia is in drought, and we’ve had severe fires.

What’s been very heartening, however, is the connection that people feel due to the marvel that is the internet. I’ve had queries from online friends, making sure we’re all right from a variety of places across the world. I think it’s brought home to me just how connected we are nowadays.

And here I am, sitting in the passenger seat of a car, writing a blog post on my laptop. Once I’ve finished, I’ll be able to publish it on my blog site, and I’ll probably still be in the car on my way home.

We’ve been on a break from home, down in the Snowy Mountains, at a place called Lake Crackenback. We’re fortunate enough not to have been directly impacted by the fires. We live in the Upper Hunter, and if you use the ‘Fires Near Me’ app, you can see there are fires nearby, but the closest one is at least 20-25km away. It’s not really that far, but that 25km is in a straight line. There’s a lot ups and downs in that 25km.

Last night, my husband drove into Jindabyne from Lack Crackenback. Part way there he called me, and asked if there were any new fires on the app. There weren’t. He’d been driving down the hill into a huge pile of smoke, which had probably come from the fires to the west of Jindabyne. About thirty minutes later, I was standing on the balcony of our Lakside accommodation, watching the smoke roll over the ridge and down across the water.

This morning, we left early, and as I type, we’ve been driving in smoke for almost two hours. We’ll be in Canberra soon. Then we’ll drive to Sydney, see a show, and drive another three hours home.

The sun through smoke haze.

Right now, I’m wondering if it’ll be smoke all the way.

Our eldest lives in Townsville. Last year, Townsville flooded after vast quantities of rain. This week, parts of it flooded again.

In the Upper Hunter, where we live, we’re still in severe drought. We’ve had some rain. But that rain isn’t nearly enough. So far, it’s dampened the ground for a day or two, but the huge cracks are still there, and only the top centimetre of soil is damp. We need rain about every two days, in quantities, for weeks and months, so that we’ll have some run off to fill dams and creeks.

When we left to go away, our town looked pretty – there was green from the rain all over the place. But it’s been hot while we’ve been away, and once again, it’ll be 40 degrees for several days this weekend. (That’s 40 degrees C for any US readers.)

It seems that we have a cycle at the moment. A little rain, followed by heat, followed by a tiny bit more rain, then more heat. Basically, the landscape is dry, slightly green, dry, slightly green, rinse and repeat.

In a drought zone, all people talk about is the weather.

The conversation goes something like this:

“Bit warm out there today.”

“Car said 43.”

“Reckon it’ll cool down later?”

“Maybe. Pretty bad last night. Didn’t get under 30.”

“Do you reckon the forecast is right for next week?”

“I’ll believe it when the rain’s actually falling.”

OR:

“Nice drop of rain last night.”

“How much did you get?”

“About 14mm. You?”

“Only three.”

“I heard Southside got more. Someone said 25.”

“Nothing at McCully’s Gap.”

“Yes, they always seem to miss out.”

“Watched the storm on the radar. Headed for us, then went around and started up again on the other side.”

Then we all sigh, and check the forecast again.

We talk about rain, heat, and how long it’ll be like this. And then there’s poor old Townsville, drowning again. Not to mention Coronavirus fears.

Fire, Flood and Pestilence. Did someone say Apocalypse?

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