by Bob Wonders
Powerboat-World did not set out to become a weather reporting service, but across the South-East Queensland and NSW Northern Rivers regions weather is the primary talking point.
Not boating weather
Cyclonic and low pressure weather systems stretching from Western Australia’s North West Cape, across the top end and the gulf country, around Cape York and down the Queensland coast have seen the areas hammered by incessant rainfall.
The boating industry has been among the worst affected, with marinas and boat ramps deserted, charter boat and boat hire services facing numerous cancellations, boat detailers and shipwrights ‘sitting on their hands’, fuel sales negligible.
Steve Sammes, general manager of the Gold Coast City Marina, said the facility, largest on the coast, was 'all but deserted.' 'Our forklift, which launches boats from our dry storage racks, is unused,' he said.
'People are just not going out, it’s as simple as that. From what I’ve heard, it’s the same situation the length and breadth of the coast.
'I was speaking with some people at the Southport Yacht Club and they say their marina is totally devoid of boat owners, they’re staying away in droves,' he added.
Rain began falling on December 28 and has been virtually non-stop since, with occasional deluges adding to the problems.
Beaches, from Kingscliff, in Northern NSW, through to Coolum, north of the Sunshine Coast, are closed due to dangerous surf and the pounding waves, up to 4.0-metres, have caused significant erosion.
All five rivers in the region, the Tweed, Nerang, Coomera, Logan and Albert have been issued with flood warnings and low lying homes and caravan parks have already been subject to evacuations.
Gold Coast radio stations are broadcasting evacuation points every hour on the hour for those affected.
More than 200mm fell on the Gold Coast as torrential rain lashed the region on Friday (January 4) night, while 300mm was recorded south of the border with Lismore and Murwillumbah the worst affected.
So far, there have been no reports of damage to major marinas.
At the Hope Island Marina, on the northern Gold Coast, Tim Catanese, proprietor of dealership Going Boating, did see some good news in the deluge.
'This is usually our quietest time of the year, but here on the marina, with absolutely no one going out on their boats, people have been coming into speak with us and many are hot prospects,' he explained.
'We have sold boats and that in itself is unusual for this time of year.'
Local Chambers of Commerce say the conditions could have a serious effect on the economy of the Gold and Tweed Coasts.
Rain keeps boaters on land
Accommodation providers have been hit with numerous cancellations, construction sites, both commercial and residential, are shut down, car washing businesses are idle and many beach front stores are struggling with a lack of custom.
Cinema chains and shopping malls are about the only organisations benefiting from the constant downpours.
Weather forecasters are not performing too well, either.
The forecast changes almost daily; on Friday morning (January 4) the weekend forecast was for 'clearing conditions', yet the coast awoke to heavy rain fall and another forecast for 'afternoon thunderstorms.'
If the Saturday (January 5) forecast is correct, the next dry and sunny day for the region will be Friday, January 11.
That will have translated into 14 days straight of consistent rainfall.
It has had a good side; the Hinze Dam, its water level prior to the downpour at just over 60 percent, is now above 80 percent.
|Caloundra||142 / 9|
|Coomera||160 / 8|
|Gold Cst Seaway||150|
|Miami||253 / 9|