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In case we haven’t noticed, it’s been wet!

That’s not snow that is an emerging ‘lake’ on Lake George (photo taken June 18)

Robin Tennant-Wood investigates

The warmest autumn on record ended with an almighty deluge on the first weekend of June. The rain started falling on Saturday and kept falling until Monday morning.

Here at Kookaburra Cottage, 40kms south of Braidwood, the rain gauge recorded 297mm over the three day period. For the first time since I’ve been here I was flooded in; at every creek crossing between my place and Braidwood the road was cut. The Shoalhaven broke its banks and water rose in paddocks where, only days earlier, the grass had been dry and crunchy. Dams and tanks filled for the first time since January.

The statistics tell the story. The Bureau of Meteorology reports that three weather stations in the district: Snowball, Captains Flat and Lower Boro, all exceeded the daily rainfall record with 168, 101.4 and 102.8 mm, respectively, on June 6, and Tharwa with a new record of 110mm on the 4th. In the 24 hour period of June 5-6, the Shoalhaven Catchment received 223.13mm, the wettest 24 hours since 1975.

One Jembaicumbene local described how the creek came up so high that there were waves backwashing up her driveway.

A resident from the Jerrabatgulla area spent an uncomfortable Saturday night at Jerrabatgulla Creek, trapped in his truck halfway across the low bridge. He had tried to drive across but on realising the water was too deep, attempted to reverse back. That’s when he got into trouble. With almost no visibility, one back wheel of the truck slipped off the crossing. He was winched to safety early Sunday and his truck pulled out of the creek on Monday.

In Queanbeyan, the Molonglo peaked at 6.1 m at Oaks Estate. Several caravans from the caravan park on the riverside were moved to higher ground before the river peaked. The Queanbeyan SES reported about 50 call-outs, mainly to homes where flooding and water damage were occurring. Fortunately there were no critical incidents.

According to the Bureau of Meteorology, the wet winter is set to continue. The outlook is for a wetter than usual June-August as La Niña combines with a negative Indian Ocean Dipole.

This means that the ocean temperatures in the tropical eastern Indian Ocean, near Indonesia, will be warmer, while the tropical western Indian Ocean, near Africa, will have cooler than normal ocean temperatures. This type of pattern often results in an increase of rainfall over parts of Australia.

With water still lying in paddocks and creeks and rivers still swollen, it won’t take much rain for crossings to flood again. As always, heed the warnings of the SES about not attempting to drive into floodwaters and just enjoy watching the grass go green again.

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