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Raleigh woman survives perilous Australia floods

Posted January 17, 2011

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— A Raleigh woman vacationing in Australia during an historic flood is safe Monday, bracing for more rain while rushing waters claim dozens of lives in what emergency crews have described as an "inland tsunami."

Heavy rains caused by a La Nina weather system have poured from the skies along Australia's eastern coastline, unleashing flash floods that have claimed many lives, and washed away homes and businesses, leaving nothing but debris in its wake.

The death toll continues to rise as the nation prepares for more rain in its southern regions. 

Jean Trott of Raleigh flew into Brisbane, one of the hardest hit areas, a week ago. 

"As you can imagine, I could see just water everywhere. It was pouring down rain," Trott said. "So many of these people, they have no flood insurance. So they've lost everything."

Trott said media coverage of the flood's impact does not begin to tell the whole story. Video shows horrific images of death and devastation, but the smell is something that cannot captured for an audience across the world.

"The putrid smell of the flood waters – that's what everyone is talking about," she said. 

The smell is the result of severe water contamination, just one of the floodwater's many dangers.

"Not only are there sharp objects... Australia has very poisonous snakes, and so the water is full of snakes," Trott said. She added that she's even heard reports of a shark swimming through the streets of downtown Brisbane.

Trott managed to leave Brisbane before floodwaters forced the airport there to close, and she is currently 1,200 miles away in Melbourne, where rain is expected soon.

"There's a lot more to come. They're calling this the 200 year flood," Trott said.

There are two weeks left in Australia's rainy season.


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  • rebekah816 Jan 18, 2011

    So, I suppose a native North Carolinian living in southeast Queensland doesn't deserve to have their comment published? As I said before...
    I live about 50kms south of Brisbane and Aussielady is right. The reports of bull sharks in the streets was in Goodna, not in the city. Goodna is situated next to a canal that is well known for bull sharks, so when the canal flooded, it's quite possible that some of the sharks went with it.
    The only way I could see that she would have been in any real peril is if she were in Toowoomba, which is where what they've been calling an 'instant tsunami' hit... a huge wall of water tore thru the city and quite a few people were caught up in it and died. Still got quite a few missing.
    Otherwise, it was just steadily rising water which necessitated the city and surrounding areas being evacuated. Alot of damage, but nothing life-threatening, as long as the people didn't refuse to leave for their own safety.

  • BigUNCFan Jan 18, 2011

    "so what danger did she "survive" exactly? I dont think that was the right word. bad headline writing here."

    She might have missed her 4 o clock tea. That could be really dangerous if you have a caffeine addiction.

  • FromClayton Jan 18, 2011

    so what danger did she "survive" exactly? I dont think that was the right word. bad headline writing here.

  • nrosie09 Jan 18, 2011

    Yes, scubagirl, others have noticed that it takes someone either US-associated or local for any news coverage in other parts of the world (even under the "world" tab). My housemate is a Kiwi and we never heard anything about the NZ earthquakes until we got Christmas greetings from his sister. Felt quite stupid. NZ has had multiple quakes of magnitude 4 and 5+ on both islands--and do we hear anything about it? At least when I was in school, geography was taught as being important,and we heard and read news about things happening around the globe...this was of course in the 50's and early '60s; I imagine we as a nation become more near-sighted as the years have passed unless the event directly affects our fortunes.

  • Scubagirl Jan 18, 2011

    I agree, why did it take someone from Raleigh to make this news? It's news in it's own right and I hope things dry up over there soon. It's a beautiful country, hate to see it ravaged.

  • southernborn24 Jan 18, 2011

    I don't understand why some of you people even bother to come on WRAL-TV...if you are not going to have any faith in what they say and can only be critical, why don't you just go somewhere else!

  • notagain1903 Jan 18, 2011

    A Raleigh woman vacationing in Australia during an historic flood is safe Monday

    Another of the local news reporters sensationalizing the story. Did she really"survive" the flooding from har hotel room while on vacation??? Lets get real and tell the true story here!! It is not about some raleighite being on vacation but about the devastation from the flooding!!!!!!!!!!

  • Aussielady Jan 18, 2011

    If WRAL had bothered to research this article they would have found that the shark was not swimming through the streets of downtown Brisbane, it was in fact in Goodna. It is apparently common place to see bullnose sharks in the river in Goodna and the shark just naturally followed the water when the banks of the river overflowed.

    I also don't know anything about a 200 year flood. The last flood they had of this proportion was in 1974 and it also devestated the Brisbane and Ipswich areas. I lived in Ipswich at the time and saw it first hand. The areas in Victoria that are now experiencing flooding are going through a 200 year flood.

    It's a shame it took a local to bring the disaster to the forefront in the news. The area of Queensland that was flooded was larger than the state of Texas, or approx the size of France and Germany combined. Approx. 75% of Queensland has flooded and those floods started back in November with the larger cities being flooded in the last couple of weeks