Brungle battered by storm

Fences were flattened and paddocks inundated with water after the storm.

Fences were flattened and roads damaged due to flash flooding on Tuesday due to a storm that dumped about 70mm around Brungle.

Between 2pm and 3pm on Tuesday afternoon, Brungle Creek rose by two metres with water levels reaching almost two and a half metres at its peak.

Creek waters overflowed onto the flood plains and surrounding roads, causing road closures.

Multiple roadways were left damaged due to the flash flooding with the Brungle, Jugiong and Harden areas worst hit.

Around the Old Gundagai and Rosehill Roads, to the west of Gundagai, 97mm fell in just 20 minutes and further downstream, the Muttama-Cootamundra Road was closed due to water over the road.

It was a similar story at Jugiong Creek, where during just 15 minutes, the water level rocketed by around one and a half metres at around 5.30am on Wednesday morning.

Muttama Creek at Coolac experienced a similar spike around the same time, with water levels going from just over half a metre to almost three metres in around 15 minutes.

The most devastating weather was seen slightly further afield at Harden, where some areas saw a whopping 180mm of rain fall in just one hour.

Tuesday’s onslaught of rain was highly sporadic and varied greatly across the region, with some surrounding areas receiving barely a drop.

Adelong got 28mm, Tumut received 4mm, 5mm fell in Gundagai and Cootamundra received just 0.1mm.

Snowy Valleys Council crews have been hard at work cleaning up some of the damage on the Gundagai Road near Brungle, and Rural Fire Service crews extinguished fires sparked by lightning strikes.

“It was a hell of a downpour,” Brungle farmer David McGruer said.

“We got 41mm and they got 70-odd two kilometres away. The Brungle Creek crossed the road in two or three places. We were lucky we didn’t get any damage here. The lightning lit a couple of fires at the top end of Brungle Creek, but the local RFS put them out.”

Unfortunately he doesn’t think it will do much good for the area.

“Rain like that comes down hard and fast and runs away, so storms like this do more damage than good. However, it is good for the river flats, because they have been looking pretty barren.”

Erin Kingwill and her family are thanking their lucky stars after their Darbalara home escaped the turmoil with minimal damage, despite a tank not far from their house travelling over 100 metres after being caught in a torrent of water.

Erin has lived at the Darbalara home for six years with her husband, Sam, and two children, three year old Georgie and 18-month old Dusty.

Both Erin and Sam were at work in Tumut when the storm hit and said they were relieved when they returned home to find only a small amount of damage.

“There was minimal damage to the house, but our shed next to the house has seen a fair bit of water through it and a tank next to the shed travelled around 100m or more in what would have been the torrent of water,” Mrs Kingwill said.

“There has been other minor damage such as fences being knocked down, however it is all easily fixed.

“We are considering ourselves extremely grateful for the minimal damage and are so appreciative of the help received from our families and neighbours.”

Mrs Kingwill said Tuesday’s events are unprecedented during their time at the Darbalara property.

“We have never had anything like this happen, however we have a raised patio which we could never work out the purpose of,” she said.

“We now realise that this may be to direct water away.

“The water came from the hill opposite us and is carried through a gully which runs alongside our driveway and is directed into a paddock beside us.”

Gundagai SES Deputy Commander Dave Crooks said he had not witnessed scenes like this in the region for almost a decade.

“It’s not uncommon to see severe storms at this time of the year, however the flash flooding is probably exacerbated by the drought conditions which leave bare earth hard and exposed,” Mr Crooks said.

“As a result there is no vegetation to slow the flow and it is extremely hard for the moisture to soak into the ground so it’s runs off very quickly.

“The last time we saw a run of storms like this occurring often causing extreme flash flooding was probably in 2010 after the long drought was finishing.”

Ray Billing, who lives 1.5km east of Batlow, recorded 20mm.

There may be more to come, as the Wagga Wagga office of the Bureau of Meteorology says a significant trough is crossing the area before moving away to the north-east.

“There is a high possibility of heavy falls and thunderstorms today,” Bureau technical officer Bruce Copplestone said.