17 Dead As Brisbane Floods
A flood in Brisbane, the third-largest city in Australia, has killed least 17 people so far and caused
The New York Times reports that the flood was caused by something of an inland tidal wave:
"What some have called an “inland tsunami” slammed into Brisbane, a city of 2 million people, and other densely populated coastal areas on Wednesday, causing two major river systems to burst their banks, flooding roads and displacing thousands."
The waters have closed bridges and highways and engulfed thousands of homes. A boardwalk was torn from the shore and carried down the river like a "floating missile." The full extent of the damage won't be known until this weekend when waters subside.
Currently, the depth of the Brisbane River about four and a half meters (about 14.7 feet), which is less than the peak in 1974, when another flood caused massive damage and deaths.
Still, officials foresee a massive and drawn-out recovery.
"This is going to be a long recovery. This morning as I look across not only the capital city, but three-quarters of my state, we are facing a reconstruction effort of post-war proportions," state Premier Anna Bligh told Australian radio."
Australia has been heavily affected by climate change, seeing both higher-than-normal temperatures for the past few years and record rainfall in some regions. Interestingly, until 2008 Brisbane had been facing a severe drought, and its residents were mandated to conserve water.