2 February 2021

More rain wreaks havoc on roads and residents overnight

| Michael Weaver
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Stormwater drains

These stormwater drains under the Melrose Dr/Yamba Dr roundabout were at capacity during the downpour last night. Photo: Supplied.

Houses flooded, roadways were clogged with drivers and more than 100 calls were received by the ACT State Emergency Service as Canberra was hit with almost 30 mm of rain last night (1 February).

It was also the wettest day of the year, eclipsing the 22.8 mm that fell just days before on 29 January. The average rainfall for February is 57 mm, so last night’s downpour was around half the monthly average.

The Woden and Belconnen areas bore the brunt of the storms that began at about 6:00 pm and quickly intensified. The heaviest falls came in the next hour, while steady rain continued into the night.

One motorist reported that 12 mm of rain fell in six minutes in Belconnen.

More than 21 mm of rain fell at Canberra Airport in about half an hour, while 25 mm was recorded at Tuggeranong by 7:00 pm.

The Canberra Airport had 28.4 mm of rain in total, Tuggeranong had 33.2 mm and Belconnen 30.4 mm in the rain gauge, while several backyard gauges recorded much higher totals.

The entire region was hit by a steady band of rain that followed the storms, with heavy falls recorded from the ACT all the way to the South Coast.

Braidwood had 22 mm of rain, while Batemans Bay only had 14 mm. Further south, Moruya Airport recorded 33.8 mm of rain while Narooma had 41 mm.

Further west, large parts of NSW experienced heavy rainfall in the 24 hours to 9:00 am this morning, including Orange which recorded 69 mm, Stonequarry Creek at Picton which recorded 79 mm, and Gunnedah which recorded 56.4 mm.

READ ALSO ACT records second road fatality of the year after a motorcyclist dies at Belconnen

The ACT State Emergency Service is still responding to calls for fallen trees or power lines. In total, more than 110 calls were received last night.

The Queanbeyan SES responded to 15 requests for assistance, and more than 30 volunteers worked until the late hours of last night to make emergency temporary repairs to multiple homes in Queanbeyan, Jerrabomberra and Googong.

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It is not surprising whenever there is a heavy rain event the inner suburbs drown. It has been known for years that concrete drains exacerbate flooding because they move water too fast. It is about time these were torn up,.. It is not even necessary to remove the concrete. I have seen drains interstate effectively re-Wilde’s by breaking up the ce,ent and leaving it in situ to act as an artificial stoney stream bed – not only slowing water, but protecting from erosion while creating g while habitat.

Rheity, the Healthy Waterways project is doing pretty much what you describe and more.

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