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Telephone alarms

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Wednesday 7 September 1949, The Sydney Morning Herald



Telephone Alarms

Sir,-The Weather Bureau’s forecasts proved so unreliable at the time of the Kempsey floods that an alternative means of warning farmers and graziers is urgently needed.

If farmers with telephones and rain gauges were properly organised, hourly reports by priority calls could be put through to a central station and the threatened area warned in time.

Had such an organisation been in existence on this occasion, I could have rung up Armidale at, say. 10 a.m. on August 25, and reported the Gara River in flood, with the water rising and continuing heavy rain. Similar reports from all Tableland tributaries could have reached Armidale at the same time, and Kempsey would have been warned before midday on the same day, giving more than 36 hours’ warning of the enormous volume of water approaching.

E. LIONEL BIGG. Armidale.

Sir,-Mr. P. A. Wright’s statement that no flood warning was issued during Friday is not correct, as a regular report of water heights at Bellbrook was broadcast up to 2 p.m.. and again at 5 p.m., together with other district particulars.

To anyone who knows; the Macleay River, the combined facts of flooding at Armidale, strong easterly gale on the coast, and a 6ft tide at 9.30 p.m. should have been sufficient warning of extreme danger.

Many people were asked-even begged-to leave their homes but refused to do so. The real trouble was that no one imagined to what heights the water would rise, and with what force it would flow.

Mustering and driving cattle is a lengthy business and requires many experienced drovers. Some of the herds would have had to travel many miles to reach high ground, and it was just too much of a job in the short time. The floodwaters came too rapidly.


Written by macalba

September 27, 2010 at 8:04 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

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