Thursday, December 8, 2022

Rain revives storm fears

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Storms which hit Narrandera in January remain vivid in the minds of locals, with flooding still the hot topic of conversation among many who had a first hand experience of the storm disaster.

Memories of this devastation live on and this week’s rain brought back those memories.

Flooded backyard in Narrandera
Roger Greedy’s flooded backyard in Larmer St Narrandera during the January deluge.
Photo courtesy Narrandera Argus.

More than three times the amount of rain fell in Narrandera on the first day of Autumn (Tuesday) than the total rainfall recorded for the whole of February.

A total of 60.2mm fell up to 9am on March 1, compared to 17.8mm being recorded for February’s 28 days.

However February’s total pales in comparison to January’s rainfall of 230.8mm as the result of several days of severe storms which ravaged the town.

Narrandera is forecast to receive more rain from tomorrow through to at least Monday.

The town will see mostly showers although the Bureau of Meteorology is predicting the heaviest rainfall for Saturday, with up to 10mm expected to fall.

Recent observations suggest that La Niña has passed its peak and is starting to weaken, which is expected to result in near normal rainfall over the next few months.

In the meantime cleanup operations from January’s major storm events are continuing in the town and district, but some residents continue voicing their concerns about flooding issues which have plagued the town for years and not just during the January deluge.

“When does a one-in-80 years rain event become a common occurrence in Narrandera?” asked one of the concerned residents who asked to remain anonymous.

He had his property ravaged by floodwater from the January storms three times in one month.

In one instance the deepest point was over two feet (about 60 centimetres) of water going through the property and it was under water because it could not get away quick enough.

“The amount of water that went through the house was unbelievable – it knocked down a small wall at the side of the house.”

Several other residents had already expressed their flooding concerns at Council’s recent Listening Posts. They talked about the same things happening back in 2012 and said nothing had changed.

Long-time Larmer Street resident Roger Greedy again raised his concerns to the Argus this week about a stormwater drain located behind his house.

“That drain gets clogged up a lot with vegetation,” Mr Greedy said.

Blocked drains
The three wing walls on the drain in the stormwater channel which runs behind Mr Greedy’s property become clogged with debris. Mr Greedy said he had asked the Council numerous times for it to be cleaned before the rain event. Photo courtesy Narrandera Argus.

”It has three wing walls on it which are half the problem. They restrict the flow of the drain. I just want the council to admit that the drain with its wing walls is part of the problem.

“The way it exists is the debris gets caught in the wings and it is not cleaned out often enough.”

Mr Greedy said he contacted the Council numerous times before the January storms and flooding eventuated but nothing had been done.

“Remedial works previously carried out by the Council haven’t improved the situation,” he said.

A Narrandera Shire Council spokesman said Council continued to conduct repairs and road works after the January storm and were currently unhindered by this week’s rain.

“The majority of uprooted or damaged trees have been removed and a qualified arborist will be undertaking further tree inspections to determine any additional safety concerns as a result of the storm,” he said.

Consultants are being engaged by the Council to review the town’s stormwater system and make recommendations to improve flooding issues.

The town’s library, which was damaged in the storm, remains open but with click and collect only from 9am to 5pm Monday to Friday, however Saturdays remain closed for the time being.

Centrelink is still operating at the library and is accessible in the foyer during open hours.

In the meantime the NRMA office in the town’s main street remains closed, as does Teloca House aged hostel in Audley St, which was badly impacted by the storms in January.

A number of other East Street buildings damaged by the floodwaters, including the newsagency, are open but awaiting repairs to the substantial damage caused by flooding.

Narrandera Argus 3 March 2022

This article appeared in the Narrandera Argus, 3 March 2022.

Related story: Massive storms unprecedented – deluge prompts council rethink

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For all the news from the Narrandera Argus, go to https://www.narranderaargus.com.au/