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Sorry, East Coast

Thursday, November 01, 2012
Up and down the East coast.
Sorry, East Coast.

Yeah, I know...it's tough. When weather like that hits you. When houses are flooded and only the roofs can see the sky. When the lights go out for you and the forty thousand people around you. When the rain whips you in the faces and dares you to keep walking even though you know you should turn back.

Sorry 'bout that. Y'know, soggy carpets and moulded walls. Streets filled with the waterlogged detritus of other people's lives and whatever that is, that thing over there. Don't touch it.

Don't swim in the water if you're flooded. Just don't.

Sorry for the disruptions to your lives, East Coast. The lack of power, the lack of basic supplies (if you weren't able to stock up), the inability to get to your family because the roads are gone.

Don't try to drive that road because the water doesn't look too deep. Just don't.

Sorry 'bout the economic damage: as though the economy wasn't struggling enough, now billions more are gone. Some of you will face horrible financial pressures. You'll discover fine print in your insurance policies that you didn't know was there. You'll be bunking with family members for longer than you thought. Buying food will be difficult. Christmas will be spartan.

Sorry, East Coast.

For the lack of supplies in your area, for the fights with the other guy over that thing in the supermarket, for the charlatans trying to gouge you because it's the way the market works...supply and demand, fella is an acceptable excuse to charge someone forty bucks for a flashlight. Sorry 'bout the animosity.

Sorry for your waterlogged cars, for the fire which somehow was begun by violent wet weather, for the tourist dollars gone, for your business which has been destroyed, for the pets that died, for the worry about whether xyz person was okay because you can't call them.

Sorry for all the lives that have been lost. That's harsh.

We (In Brisbane) did this almost two years ago. It was horrible. Rain bands from Tropical Cyclone Tasha soaked the state of Queensland and every area got it good. Rockhampton, Gladstone, Bundaberg, the Sunshine Coast, even inland, to places like Toowoomba.

Cars were washed away like toys, roofs became islands in the muck, and Brisbane got hit.

Brisbane sits on a snakey river in the Moreton Bay region. Authorities had to control-release water from Wivenhoe Dam (which was at 191% of capacity) and the river swelled and eventually flooded multiple inner city suburbs. 20,000 homes went under a marsh of brown water.

The total cost was about $30bn. But worse, 38 people were confirmed dead with 6 missing. It was a pretty ordinary start to 2011.

Mrs Speech and I avoided it; our suburb sits substantially south of the city. The worst we endured was a waterlogged backyard and the whomp-whomp-whomp of the aid choppers which flew overhead every twenty minutes.

But we feel for you, East Coast. Queenslanders did it tough. Now you guys are doing it tough, too.

You're gonna find it hard to pick up the pieces but you'll manage. You might grieve for a bit, or maybe you just need to put some new carpet on credit as you go find a new insurance agency. But you'll clean up.

The tourists'll come back, too. Don't you worry about that. Everyone wants to see Atlantic City, because of Boardwalk Empire.

Just hang in there for a bit, East Coast. The lights, they're gonna come back on.

In the meantime, sorry.
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