Toowoomba CBD water headed west
TWO experts have clarified a commonly misreported aspect of the deadly floods that hit Toowoomba and the Lockyer Valley last month.
As has been well documented, more than 20 people died when flash floods hit both Toowoomba and the Lockyer Valley towns of Murphys Creek, Withcott, Post- man’s Ridge, Helidon and Grantham on the afternoon of January 10.
Toowoomba’s CBD and the Lockyer Valley were inundated following an intense rain event which occurred over the top of the escarpment, dumping up to 150mm over the area in as little as half an hour.
That water was then distri- buted either side of the range, some going west into the Toowoomba CBD and the rest falling into Murphy’s Creek and several other creeks and valleys east of the escarpment.
Despite media reports that the water that flooded Toowoomba then flowed down into the Lockyer Valley, several vigilant Queensland Times readers have correctly pointed out that this would be impossible.
For the water to go from Toowoomba down into the Lockyer Valley it would have had to have defied gravity by climbing the Great Dividing Range before running into Murphys Creek.
A Bureau of Meteorology hydrologist said the natural flow of water out of Toowoomba was to the west, away from the Lockyer Valley.
“The rain occurred over a wide area, with Toowoomba on the western edge,” she said.
“But the rainfall that affected the centre of Toowoomba didn’t go east, it went west.”
University of Queensland Professor of Civil Engineering and flood expert Hubert Chanson confirmed the rain fell either side of the escarpment, causing flash floods on either side.
It would come as no surprise to those who are familiar with the area, but Toowoomba resident Graham Christensen said it was important for locals that the point was clarified.
“Many local people in Toowoomba are incensed that the inference was made that Toowoomba floodwater actually contributed in any way to problems at Murphys Creek and beyond,” Mr Christensen said.
“It was not a quirk of nature, and water from Gowrie Creek (Toowoomba) did not flow uphill to get over the Great Dividing Range to then flow downhill to Murphys Creek and onwards. It is simply impossible.”