Extreme Flooding Townsville 2019 Part 2 | 3rd Feb | Ross Dam FAQ’s


Hey Guys, Keithy here. Thanks for joining me. Sorry for the poor video quality. I’m using the front camera at the moment,
and I’m doing this sort-of live. It’s about 11:30pm on Sunday night (3rd Feb
’19). At about 8 o’clock tonight, the flood gates
on the Ross River Dam were opened fully – 100% open. This happens at 250% level in the dam. Its automated – It’s an emergency procedure
that was embedded into programming that SunWater use to operate the dam. Not a lot could have been done about that. I want to try and dispel some myths around
this dam. A lot of people and a lot of confusion around
town about levels, and why is it at 250% when full is 100%? Things like that. So, first thing I want to drop down is the
Ross Dam in Townsville is a Flood Mitigation Dam. It’s not designed as a storage dam, it was
designed as a Flood Mitigation Dam, and some of you who’ve probably lived in Townsville
for quite some time would remember before they even had the actual flood gates on the
dam. That was (don’t quote me on this, it’s been
some time), I’m pretty sure it was 12yrs ago, or something like that (correct me if I’m
wrong here). *Phone drops – great timing!*
They actually put those flood gates in there and that was purely because they couldn’t
control the release of water, and then rain like this happens (I’m sitting outside right
now and it is raining, hasn’t stopped since about 3 o’clock this afternoon). So what you need to know about the dam. It’s at (last I checked) it was 252% it’s
probably higher than that now. First thing, the dam area. It’s got 750 square kilometres of catchment
area. So think about that before you think about
anything else. They’ve got the gates open fully now at 250%
and you have got all of that area that is still getting rain now. That water has gotta flow into the dam and
is yet to go down the Ross River. If you think that “yeah the gates are open,
and the level’s gonna come down” yeah it may drop a little bit. There’s still rain out there, so it’s going
to wave around for a little bit over the next couple of days at least until this rain subsides. I just checked some stuff by the storm chasers
and what not and we’re due for almost another metre and a half of rain over the next seven
days by some models. It could get pretty bad. So yeah, it’s not just going to end now. Another thing to remember too – it’s tidal. Ross River is tidal. At the moment the tide is coming down, and
when they opened those gates fully , that was at the peak of the high tide, so we’ve
been lucky so far. Sort of between 6am tomorrow morning and probably
10am is when you’re likely to see a lot of the flooding. Ok, now we’ll get to the percentages and things
like that. There’s two types of things to think about
with this dam. There’s an operational capacity, and there’s
a storage capacity. So the operational capacity of the Ross Dam
is 100%. The dam is designed to provide water to the
town and prevent flooding. 100% is full (operationally) – that is so
we can have lovely clean water its’ not going over the spillway. (Thanks to the frog here). And the storage capacity, with the design
of the dam means it can be filled to 369%. At the moment it’s 250%, we’ve got 120% left
before we need to really really worry about that dam. So for those of you thinking that we’re in
REAL trouble right now, well YES, we are, but, we’re not. It’s still at the stage where it’s manageable. We’ve got 120% left in that dam before things
need to really be evaluated. After that 369% that’s when it’s brimming
the wall. Also, before that, at the back of the Bohle
River up there that’s where it’s going to start spilling out before it’ll come over
the wall. So people up in the Alice River, Kelso area,
they’re the ones who are going to cop it if the dam gets up to those kind of heights. There’s been talk about having detonation
charges and stuff like that as well. Keep that in mind, if it gets to a point where
the Emergency Management Team think that it’s going to be an issue, they’ll blow the wall
out right up the back and it’ll go to the Bohle River before it continues to come into
the dam. There’s other things in place before it gets
to that 369% magic number. There’s also been some rumours and fake text
messages – I can’t believe anyone would have the hide to that. To send fake emergency text messages saying
that the dam wall integrity is compromised, when that’s just not the case. If you get any text messages at all for the
emergency, etc, they’re going to come from a number that’ll probably be something like
+61 4444 444 444, all 4’s. That’s the emergency number you’ll get a text
message from. So what we’ve covered is operation, anything
below 100% that’s operational. That’s what the dam is designed to maintain
the water level at so that we can have drinking water in the town, and showers and taps, all
other kinds – hotels can have running water and pools can be filled. Above 100% you’re entering the storage capacity. Otherwise guys, I think the one thing to remember
throughout all of this now is to remain calm. A lot of people are very very upset now. It’s very unfortunate situation we’re in at
the moment. We’ve got a lot of suburbs, about 1/4 of the
town, that’s under water at the moment because of this event. A lot of people getting rescued and losing
their possessions, their cars, their homes. It’s a very sad place to be at the moment. Unfortunately and my heart really goes out
to these people, because this is just not what you want – you never want your house
to be washed away – you don’t want your photos on the wall to be ruined and there’s other
things as well – memories and what not that can be washed away with the event that’s occurring
now. It’s really unfortunate to see this happening. I really really do hope all the best for you
guys getting smashed by this. As far as where I am? I live in Kirwan. I’ve been lucky so far, the water hasn’t gone
over my gutter, and still hasn’t now. I’m at Kelso at the moment, I’ve gone to bring
my car up here (to higher ground as I was on the flood list), I’ve ended up staying
the night as it’s a bit late. So I’m right up near the dam. I’m only a stone’s throw from the dam right
now. I can hear the water rushing. It sounds like I’m at the Barron Falls right
now! You probably can’t hear it over these frogs
and the rain and what not. So, remain calm guys! The high tide tomorrow is at 9am, I’d say
from about 6am is when the water’s going to start backing up in the Ross River as that
tide starts to come up. It’s starting to come up around 5am, so I
think 6am to 7am that’s when we’re going to see some of those low lying suburbs get really
wet, houses are going to start getting water in them, even the higher areas like Kirwan
and all that, that are sort of just on that flood list you’ve probably seen getting around. That’s when you’ve gotta think, ok maybe we’re
going to see a bit of water there. But the peak of the tide is at about 9:12am,
that’s when all of the action is going to happen, so keep your eyes peeled around then,
stay vigilant, remain calm is the best thing to do. If you have a plan, if you have higher ground
that you can go to (friends/relatives around town) that may be living in Mt Louisa, Castle
Hill or anything, somewhere that got higher ground that’s not on the flood list, then
I do recommend that you probably go there. We ain’t seen nothing yet. Once that river starts to back up, that’s
when we’re going to see a lot of the flooding, the crocodiles, any of the wildlife that are
coming out of the river as it backs up, it’s going to come up to those medium-lying areas. Stay calm – have a plan in place. Make sure you’ve let someone know where you’re
going too. You may have heard about that guy in Giru
who went to visit a mate and no-one knew where he was going unfortunately. SES went out and they found him thankfully. He was all good! You need to remember to let someone know where
you’re going so that there’s not a town full of lost people notifications and the police
are not run off their feet trying to find people who may be just at a mate’s place. I hope you’ve got all of your gear up high
if you’re in those areas that are in the flood area. Electronics – anything that you can get up
high! Put it on the bench in your kitchen or anything
– as high as you can! In your cupboards! Up high in your cupboards if you’ve got really
tall cupboards. Do the best you can do to prepare now, and
hope for the best! That’s all we can do. It’s a really unfortunate situation and if
your house ends up going under I hope that the damage isn’t too bad and that everyone’s
safe. That’s the main thing – for everyone to be
safe. Don’t panic! And if you don’t need to be out on the streets,
don’t do it! If you’ve gotta do it conducting business
or whatever, yeah obviously, but please try and stay safe. Don’t drive through flood waters. Remain vigilant guys! Keep your eye on that dam level. Personally – my opinion (and I’m not an engineer
or anything like that) is that once it gets over 300% that’s when we’ve really gotta worry. That’s when you need to be going north or
west – anywhere out of town. For now, we’re still at a point where it’s
manageable, we need to watch, because the gates are open fully. There’s nothing more we can do, and we wouldn’t
want to anyway because the flowrate of water coming out of the dam would just be insane
– it’d wipe most of the town out if that dam got much higher than what it is now. So stay calm, keep your head on, and community
spirit is what Townsville is all about. Let your friends know you’re safe, and ask
them how they are going. If you’re from down south (or anywhere else
I should say – there’s more than just down south!) check in on your mates, check in on
your family because this is – they’re saying it’s a 1 in 100 year event. That’s because there’s a 1% chance of this
ever happening. So 1% is 1 in 100 isn’t it! But really, this kind of event is a lot bigger
than that. It’s exceeded all flood records within Townsville,
and there’s still plenty more to go. We’ve had more than a metre of rain in about
a week, so plenty more to come. Keep your head about you, stay safe, stay
off the roads if you can. Put all your gear up high that’s really sensitive
that you don’t want to lose. Check in, and remember the emergency numbers
as well. I don’t have them off hand now, but yeah,
look them up and keep them in your phone. Write them in your notes on your iPhone or
whatever you’ve got. Have a good time guys, there’s nothing else
we can do, we’ll just have to ride the wave now. We’re all passengers. Until next time guys, take care. Thanks and goodbye!

5 thoughts on “Extreme Flooding Townsville 2019 Part 2 | 3rd Feb | Ross Dam FAQ’s

  1. Excellent information thankyou! I used to live in Annandale. My thoughts and prayers go out to the community.

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