Brisbane on edge as a city awaits its fate
Bathed in an eerie sunlight, Brisbane doesn’t look like Queensland’s next disaster zone.
Small patches of mockingly blue sky mask the overwhelming sense of dread that has settled across the city.
The impending flood is expected to trump the infamous 1974 floods - and authorities are struggling to predict the extent of the damage. The CBD is uncharacteristically silent and calm, the usual morning hum replaced by a worrying stillness. The air is hot and the humidity is stifling.
Joggers and cyclists can be seen making their way through the suburbs, defiantly striding across trickling water and intent on keeping their routine.
Bizarrely, it’s the first time in days they have been able to exercise in glaring sunlight.
Among those in flood-prone areas, there is a great mix of emotion.
Some are terrified, others are excited - almost all are stressed.
Many, however, also appear bored as they watch the imaginary countdown above the city keep ticking towards disaster.
The list of affected suburbs keeps growing and has, just recently, reached 50.
Brisbane is quietly confident, but never complacent.
As the flood’s peak looms, many turn their thoughts to those in Toowoomba and Ipswich whose towns lay in devastation.
Among the missing and the dead are undoubtedly many who, only a night or two before, opened their wallets to those in the flood-ravaged north, with no idea the fury had already sighted their homes.
The city’s children, on the other hand, are relishing the suspense and excitement as their parents hurriedly check supplies and move furniture and valuables.
At Newfarm, yesterday afternoon, a number of toddlers were trudging about in tiny gumboots and raincoats as mum and dad worryingly pointed at the logs and debris hurling down the river.
Alongside them, was a growing crowd of people taking photographs with their mobile phones to send to friends and relatives relentlessly calling throughout the day.
The words “king tide”, “worse than 74” and “Wivenhoe Dam” continued to creep into every third sentence.
The council website momentarily crashed after being crippled by a surge in visits from people looking to stay calm and informed.
Older generations who lived through the ’74 floods, like 87-year-old Newfarm resident June Parton, are mostly calm and collected.
But even these hardened flood veterans are a little nervous.
“It’s all very shocking, just the same,” Ms Parton said.
Brisbane’s younger residents are also unsure what to expect.
They’ve been hearing that an enormous flood is on its way that is expected to rise above the legendary floods 40 years ago.
“The weather’s not helping,” said 21-year-old student Casey Maroni.
“It’s like it’s all really calm, but I feel like there’s insanity about to hit.
“It’s strange because it’s like we’re part of something historic.”
A number of pubs around the city, such as the iconic Breakfast Creek Hotel, have markings on the wall to show the height of the 1974 and (in some cases) 1893 floods.
Over the next couple of days, those records are expected to be smashed.
Last minute preparations have seen corner shops and major supermarkets struggling to cope.
Coles Indooroopilly caught the full force of under-prepared flood shoppers with the line snaking around the entire shopping complex.
As has been reported at other sites, however, the frustrated rows of people standing in the heat showed little signs of agitation and were outwardly calm and courteous.
Indeed, a neighbourly and altruistic spirit has been apparent across Brisbane.
Many have offered their homes or driveways to complete strangers, as the floods bring with them a newfound trust.
Others have taken to Twitter or Facebook – where heart-warming messages have been rallying from around the world – to offer refuge for those in low-lying areas.
The figures, so far, are grim.
Up to 40,000 properties are expected to flood tomorrow based on the latest models.
Of these, 19,700 are residential properties which will have flooding across their entire property, while a further 12,000 are expected to see water across part of their property.
Around 3500 commercial premises will have flooding across their entire property and a further 2500 will be partially flooded.
Another 2300 parks and vacant lots are also expected to go under water.
Police are still urging residents to stay at home, though only few need reminding.
With more than 2100 roads expected to be closed, most are content to stay at home and finish sandbagging.
The city is now well and truly braced.
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@mooks83 sophisticated response. Think the kids parents saw it differently
More class from 9's footy show, lampooning a baby that allegedly looks like Sterlo with a pic swiped from Facebook http://t.co/BGoYP6Pn68
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