Waves crash in for Sapphire township

RESIDENTS at Sapphire were jolted awake by a sound described by one new mother as waves crashing on an ocean.

Tania Paulson was at home with her family and seven-week-old daughter Amber Rose, when the banks of Retreat Creek crumbled and sent a torrent of water surging through the town’s lower-lying areas.

The first drops of what eventuated as more than 200mm of rain started falling on Thursday afternoon, and the volume of water through the creek system saw Blue Gem caravan park evacuated at 3am, along with nearby homes and camps.

By first light, the water had covered the headstones at the town cemetery.

“It really did sound like being at the beach, with the water flowing that hard it sounded like the ocean,” said Mrs Paulson.

“It rained so hard on the Thursday night and everybody said the banks went over a lot sooner than they normally do.”

The Gemfields had more than 200mm of rain in November and then 200mm more in last week’s rain event.

The ground is sodden, and a storm on Monday night jangled already frayed nerves. Food has been in scarce supply with the local shop raided as soon as it took another grocery delivery.

“Everybody’s on edge right now because of this week’s storm and it’s left them trying to get prepared for whatever might happen,” Mrs Paulson said. “There’s been a lot of talk this time that no-one has come out to help us and a lot of people did get flooded – not to the extent of 2008 – but still it has been through their houses.”

“Everybody’s on edge right now because of this week’s storm...”

Tania Paulson

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