Thursday, April 2, 2009

Under water? So what.

They're going to have to rename the Sunshine Coast if this keeps up. It's been raining off and on for a couple of weeks now, and going steadily for a couple of days. When it rains here, it doesn't mess around, either. Forget the gentle mist or soft rain. Here it's huge, pelting gobs of water that come pummelling down, as if God's bucket is being thrown at you. The rain here can hurt.

Usually this just lasts for a few minutes, then it stops until the next squall blows through. But occasionally it just goes on and on. Last night one part of Noosa got over 400 mm of rain in four hours. Yes, that's a foot of rain!

Not surprisingly, roads are closed all over the place and some communities are cut off. One of Charlotte's classmates went home early yesterday because her parents knew their road was going to flood soon; a school group had to be evacuated from their campground along the Noosa River; people will be calling in to work all over the place because they can't get through the water.

But what makes this so cool is how blase everyone is about it. The community radio station has information about which creeks have crested and which roads are closed, and there are advisories reminding people not to drive through deep water, but nobody seems to be too agitated. Nobody, that is, except the national media, who get all excited about reporting "severe weather in southeast Queensland." Fifi the weather girl on one of the national morning shows (yes, she really is named Fifi) was reporting from Noosa this morning, because it was the weather hotspot. (She had wanted to report from KinKin, but the road was closed. So, as Ana pointed out, KinKin was a no-go for Fifi.)

It's really just like a snowstorm in Canada. Those of us who live in it know that you take precautions when heavy snow is forecast, you make sure you can get home, and you wait it out if need be. Some people are foolish or unlucky enough to get caught in it, but for the most part we know that snowstorms just go with the territory. But watch the national news the next time a big storm hits, and you'd think it's a once-in-a-lifetime event.

Even the regional news shows can go overboard: I'll never forget watching the news with Mum when a hurricane was off the coast of Nova Scotia. The whole 6:00 news hour was devoted to hurricane reporting! It was as if the province had never seen a storm before, and people might not be sure how to deal with it.

Turns out most of them knew just what to do: close the windows, bring in the patio furniture, make sure you've got candles and water, and wait it out.

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