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The Big Wet: Northern Australia in Grip of Floods

Categories: Oceania, Australia, Citizen Media, Disaster

As Queensland rivers burst their banks and northern New South Wales is inundated, Nick Evershed [1] sums up the national feeling in Australia about the latest weather and the climate implications:

‏@NickEvershed [2]: Australia: if it's not on fire, it's probably underwater.

At the same time bushfires [3] are still out of control in parts of Victoria.

The #bigwet [4] and #qldfloods [5] hashtags are capturing much of the general comment as well as local stories.

ABC News Breakfast [6] quoted a resident from the Lockyer valley, west of Brisbane:

‏@BreakfastNews [7]: Steve McDermott in the Lockyer Valley: You experience a once in 100 year flood in 2011, you don't expect another one two years later #bigwet

Over 20 people died in the Lockyer area in the 2011 floods [8].

This video was produced a year a go by the Lockyer Valley Regional Council's official YouTube Channel:

In Brisbane Derek Weeks [9] has been tweeting regularly about the floods:

@derek_weeks [10]: This is where the projected flood maps will be http://www.brisbane.qld.gov.au/ [11] #qldfloods #bigwet in a ‘short time.

He added a photo soon after:

‏@derek_weeks [12]: #collegescrossing a few hours ago, only just rebuilt following 2011 #qldfloods #bigwet http://lockerz.com/s/279870176 [13]

College Crossing [12]

College Crossing, Queensland. Photo: Derek Weeks tweet

Twitter is not always the best way to get accurate or up-to-date information, especially when communications are down or there’s no power. Jess Faith [14] from far north Queensland is one of many to lose her connection:

‏@jessfaith89 [15]: Hello technology! How I've missed you! #bigwet #qldfloods #Cairns

ABC Wide Bay [16] is one of the national broadcaster's ‘Local Radio’ stations. It was just one of many local ABC radio stations to retweet this gem of imprecision.

‏@abcwidebay [17]: Gympie river is reported to be looking like it has peaked at 20.3m #bigwet #qldfloods [5]

David Kirkpatrick [18] is only one of many online who have linked the extreme weather to climate change:

‏@daveyk317 [19]: We are hearing the word “Unprecedented” a lot in coverage of the #qldfloods – we will no doubt hear this more as the #ClimateCrisis bites.

Brisbane has a crowdsourced map of flooding, powered by Ushahidi, here: Brisbane Storm and Flood Map [20].

So far three deaths have been confirmed. This current extreme weather and the resultant floods have many days to go as the massive storm moves south towards Sydney. Currently, the #bigwet [4] tag is being added to every few seconds.