With a few days left in the month and a looming overseas holiday to prepare for, I thought I’d be incredibly efficient this time around and get the September blog out early. Well, you know what they say – never go the early crow!
On the 26th and 27th of the month, after a long weekend of beautiful sunshine and warmer weather, the heavens once again opened over Axedale. Monday wasn’t too bad, with some light rain in the morning and a couple of brief heavy showers in the afternoon. Tuesday for the most part was much the same – I counted 10 mm in the rain gauge at 6:00 pm when I checked before dinner. An hour later that figure stood at 19.2 mm as a series of thunderstorms drove across from Heathcote towards the west (an unusual direction for our weather to travel, and one that often results in heavy rain).
The measuring station on Axe Creek at Strathfieldsaye sat at around 1.53 metres all day – well below the height it needed to reach to flood the road crossings nearby. By the time I went to bed it was still sitting at around 1.54 metres. So imagine my surprise when I woke (early) at 4:30 am to find it had just hit 3.12 metres!
As soon as it was daylight, I drove down to the road crossing at O’Brien’s Lane, where it was plain to see that this time around, the flooding was far more severe than in the past few weeks. The flood marker that sits above the road surface on the side of the bridge itself tops out at 2 metres, and whereas the water levels had hovered around the 1.4 – 1.6 metre mark previously, this time the entire sign was underwater, with the markers on the upper sign showing a level of around 2.4 metres.
Back at the house, my first port of call was the control box for the electric fencing, as it was clear that the water levels would now be high enough to be shorting out the bottom wire. What I hadn’t expected was just how high the water would be – as I approached the gate to enter the main paddock, I could see sheets of water all the way along the fence line, and fast flowing water cutting right across the paddocks at the base of the large red gum that usually sits quite a long way back from the creek edge.
Down by the creek, I could see the yellow warning signs that mark the top wire of the electric fence flapping wildly as the torrents of water slapped against them.
Alas, the fast flowing waters had also brought with them lots of debris, which had banked up against the fence in several places, pushing it over like it was made of paper. I’m hoping that once the water clears, it will just be a matter of straightening up the star pickets again, but I guess time will tell.
Thankfully, all of the livestock had plenty of safe access to higher ground, and now that the steers have gone I’m not too concerned about them wandering out before I have had a chance to straighten the fences.
So much like the last few days of August, it seems that once again the biggest falls for the month have come right at the end. And yes, with two more days to go, it is possible that yet again I’ve jumped the gun, however the weather bureau assure me that this is it for at least the next few days. And they’re never wrong now, are they?