A thorough soaking

Tuesday, 31st January, 2012

TRYING CONDITIONS: Electrical technician Carl Berryman and apprentice linesman Nathan Hiscock work on repairs near Williams Street. TRYING CONDITIONS: Electrical technician Carl Berryman and apprentice linesman Nathan Hiscock work on repairs near Williams Street.

By Kurtis Eichler

 When it rains, it pours, as the saying goes. 

The storm that broke on Friday evening resulted in 82.4mm falling on the city over the weekend.

It was the Broken Hill’s largest deluge in 22 months, with 51.6mm being recorded to 9am on Saturday and 30.8mm to 9am yesterday.

The State Emergency Service (SES) attended 70 call-outs before 1pm yesterday and gave out some 2000 sandbags.

Darren Larkin, the SES’ deputy controller, said crews had gone to everything from damaged roofs to collapsed verandahs.

“There’s been a lot of roofs damaged,” he said.

“There were also a lot of flooded houses near Brown Street.”

Businesses also suffered in the extraordinary deluge.

The TAB in Blende Street was mopping up on Saturday along with many shops in the CBD.

Mr Larkin said the SES had also been called to help with cars that had been trapped by the water in low-lying areas and he advised motorists to exercise caution during such downpours .

“You don’t want to be driving in flooded causeways, flooded lanes and flooded intersections,” he said.

Silverton also copped its fair share of flooding rains, with 100mm pelting down over the three days.

Helen Murray recorded 80mm on Friday, 10mm on Saturday and another 10mm yesterday.

Mrs Murray, who owns a property on the edge of the Umberumberka Creek, said the heavy rain hadn’t caused any damage in the township but it had made the roads muddy.

“We’re on the edge of the creek and on Friday night the creek was well and truly running a banker,” she said.

Friday’s electricity outage which struck the CBD also hit homes in Railwaytown and Menindee, according to Essential Energy.

The one-hour blackout was caused by lightning hitting the high voltage network on the Railwaytown feeder. Some 4000 homes lost power as did 1600 in Menindee, the company said.

“Essential Energy field crews responded immediately, under rather difficult conditions,” said Regional general manager Guy Chick.

Mr Chick also warned people that heavy rain and overflowing spillways can make creek banks unstable.

“It is timely to remind members of the public that access to Essential water reservoir sites, other than authorised public areas, is prohibited.”

Police also said that fines of up to $1000 per tyre apply to motorists who ignore closed road warnings and who have to be rescued.

A police spokesman told the BDT that a number of drivers at the weekend had to be rescued after becoming bogged.

“Police will assist when possible without getting themselves stuck,” he said.

The tropical low causing the heavy rain is weakening, Weather Channel meteorologist Felim Hanniffy told the BDT.

Mr Hanniffy said the bulk of the storm and showers will head east towards townships such as White Cliffs.