If its flooded, forget it

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Michael R Williams

The Longreach SES has been asked to be careful after rain events when trees are most likely to cause infrastructural damage or personal harm.

Local controller for the Longreach SES group Diesel Stenholm said locals should exercise caution.

“In the boggy conditions, when the soil is quite sodden, trees with shallow roots are likely to topple over,” he said.

“The roots here can be quite shallow because the soil here is quite hard so when it softens the trees are likely to fall over.

“We had eight jobs in total we responded to one Tuesday/ Wednesday, some had fallen on roofs, some were blocking driveways.”

Mr Stenholm wished to remind locals that weather warnings were not coming from the SES team directly, but from the Bureau of Meteorology.

“They’re not designed to make people panic, but to let people get prepared,” he said.

Mr Stenholm also wanted to remind locals that if it’s flooded, forget it.

“Locals can often become complacent because they know the local conditions, but they can change rapidly,” he said.

“We would prefer people back up and go around or back from where they came, rather than go ahead into floodwaters.

“We did see recently in Brisbane and northern New South Wales quite a few fatalities from flash flooding, and we did see SES volunteers lose their lives in the Lockyer Valley.

“It can happen, and it can happen to anyone.”

Mr Stenholm said it was important to consider if you are putting yourself at risk, you are also the lives of those who will be trying to save you at risk.

“We would also recommend if you have to continue – which we strongly recommend against – is knowing your vehicle and its capabilities is essential,” he said.

“If you have a low four-door sedan, it wouldn’t be ideal to traverse a running creek, like a higher clearance four-wheel-drive – not an all-wheel drive.

“Another thing to consider is the soft soil – which we have a lot of – the black soil that holds a lot of water making it difficult to find traction.

“Black soil, you’re not going to get out of it, you’re going to get towed out of it.”

Mr Stenholm said getting stuck can go south very quickly.

“Without water, food, and patchy reception… you’re on your own basically,” he said.

“What I recommend is the Emergency Plus app on Google and the Apple app store.”

Two Adelaide tourists were travelling along Muttaburra-Cramise road after driving around the road closed signs.

“They were fine for the first 20 kilometres, even crossing a small creek, but as soon as they got on to the black soil, they were bogged,” he said.

“They had poor reception meaning they had to resort to text messages; they were able to send me their location with that app.

“They had enough food to last them the night.

“If you do become stranded do not leave the vehicle.”