In more depressing weather related news, the NSW SES has warned travellers to avoid riverside campsites this summer. Citing the latest La Nina forecasts, they warned that anyone pitching up near a river bank should be extra vigilant and have clear evacuation plans in place.
The warning comes after months of sustained flooding across New South Wales and Victoria has left river systems at peak levels. Further heavy rainfalls are forecast during the tail end of this current La Nina cycle, which has raised the prospect for flash flooding along many river systems.
“We want to urge the community and any travellers to monitor the local conditions, try not to stay close to the river, and heed any warnings from (the SES) and caravan park owners,” said NSW SES Southern Zone Duty Commander Shane Hargreaves.
Unlike regular flooding, the events being witnessed at the moment may not be preceded by any local rainfall but are the result of months of flooding further up river systems. That was the scene at Blanchetown Caravan Park in South Australia (pictured above), which was inundated by water from the swollen Murray River, despite being drenched in sunshine at the time.
Management at the caravan park told the ABC they were notified of a coming flood event but thought they had another day to prepare and evacuate. “What happened last night was the most devastating and scariest time of our life,” they said, describing the sudden arrival of floodwaters.
Those same conditions have also prompted many regional councils to close free camping sites that are normally in heavy use over the summer period. Often in converted parkland or showgrounds, regional towns provide them as a way to entice travellers to spend a night or two. Kiama Council, south of Sydney, normally throws open their showground as a spill over campsite but they’ve taken the early decision to close it based on weather advice. Same with all Murray Valley National Parks and reserves along the river in the Federation and Moria Shires. If you were planning to use one this summer then best to check ahead with the local council.
If you do find yourself pitched up in the middle of a wet week, then we’ve got some tips on how to stay dry during the age of La Nina.