Monday, December 27, 2010

Over the past few days

I've been re-watching the Doctor Who specials that have been running on cable TV. They're out of sequence, but, hey, what the hell, they're always enjoyable.

Their original screenings were mostly around Christmas—seasonal offerings between seasons, as it were, a "tradition" continued with the new special that aired yesterday on free-to-air TV, a take on Dickens' A Christmas Carol with Michael Gambon co-starring in the Scrooge part. Gambon is now probably best known as Albus Dumbledore in the Harry Potter films, a role he stepped into after Richard Harris died, but I first came across him in The Singing Detective, that marvellous serial written for television by the late, great Dennis Potter, &, a little later on, in the movie The Cook, The Thief, His Wife & Her Lover (I think I got the order right.)

Yesterday's cable offering was The Waters of Mars, one of, I think, three specials that replaced the standard annual series whilst the actor who played this particular Doctor was off doing Hamlet on stage. It's about a life form frozen in an underground glacier which starts taking over the human inhabitants of an explorative & scientific colony, Bowie Base One—Yes, there is life on Mars, David—& threatens an eventual colonization of Earth. Needless to say, the script is full of heavy water utterings from the Doctor. "Don't drink the water." "Water is patient." "Water will always win in the end."

There was also another statement, "water finds its own level", that I found particularly relevant a little later on in the day. It's been raining heavily here over the last three days, something like ¼ of a meter, 10" in the old currency. It also rained quite heavily at the beginning of the month, enough locally to raise the level of the lagoon at the bottom of our street & extend its boundaries, &, through the catchment area, more than enough to raise the level of the river to moderate flood levels.

Based on the last flood here, a couple of years ago, I had assumed that the level of the river was what determined the levels of the lagoon. Then, the river was in higher flood, & the overflow of water made its way across the flood plain & eventually flowed into the lagoon. Earlier this month, after the water from the catchment area had made its way downstream, it spread out over part of the floodplain, but wasn't high enough to reach across to the lagoon. The lagoon, however, had expanded, & there was now water a couple of meters below the rail & road bridges that cross it, but because the river hadn't reached it, I didn't think there'd be any threat of road &/or rail closures.

Yesterday, however, when we did our usual rubber-necking tour, down to the river, around those parts that are most likely to flood—some water around but less than a couple of weeks ago—then back to the highway & over the bridge before going around the roundabout & back home, I was surprised to see that the water was now only a meter below the bridges, & was flowing out of the lagoon & on towards the river.


The rain in the catchment area—& as the radar map above shows, it's still falling heavily—is heading downstream once again. The readings at the various measuring spots that are particular indicators of imminent downstream river levels are all rising quite rapidly & the flood height in the city is now classed as moderate & heading higher. The rain here continues, which means the lagoon gets higher & wider & will probably do more than just reach the back fences of the properties in the street that joins up with the bottom of ours. We're on a hill, so it will need to be a flood of mythic proportions to directly affect us, but if it keeps on raining, & the river keeps on rising & encroaches more widely on the flood plain to join up with the lagoon, it's quite possible that the southern approaches to the city will be cut.

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