Wild weather brings havoc to homes, buinesses

October 25, 2017

Water gushes down Sanger Street out the front of the Royal Hotel.

Flooding was extensive around the back of John Street, Corowa.

Floodwater covers the walking track at the back of John Street, Corowa.

Floodwater rises in Bronwyn Lutz’s backyard.

Corowa resident Russell Mitchell took a photo looking out of his front window and onto his front yard and driveway, which was completely underwater following the wild weather on Thursday.

In just half an hour, 48 millimetres of rain was unleashed on Corowa in the late afternoon last Thursday.

There were periods of heavy rain throughout the day but a torrential downpour caused flash flooding and some rain damage to businesses and houses later in the afternoon, including one home in Gordon Street where water came into the front bedroom and another room at the back of the house, leaving carpet and floorboards to now be replaced.

Russell Mitchell, who lives in Gordon Street, said the water flowed rapidly down John Street like a river.

“You couldn’t see our driveway it was completely underwater and no one could drive into our street,” he said.

“The water came in through our driveway and into the backyard and shed.

“We actually thought our back fence was going to go because of the build-up of water.”

Mr Mitchell said water also got into the front bedroom and a back room, damaging carpet and buckling floorboards.

“The floors will have to be replaced, we have storm insurance and have already reported it,” he said.

“It all happened so quickly, in a matter of half an hour and there was nothing we could do.”

His next-door neighbour, Bronwyn Lutz, described a similar scene with about 20cm of water pooling in her backyard, but fortunately no water entered the house.

“The drains that come down from John Street just can’t hold that amount of water in a heavy storm,” she said.

“Looking out the window, it was like looking at a lake because the whole street was flooded.”

Ms Lutz said the drainage in John Street had been an issue for more than 40 years.

“Our property has been flooded from stormwater many times, because the drainage in John Street is unable to carry the water,” she said.

“This time we had water backed up to our garage and front verandah at a height of approximately 20cm.

“Consequently this water went through our garage and carport areas and then into the adjoining neighbour’s backyard.

“That neighbour also got flooded from the water in the drains at the back of her place, because the drainage is inadequate from the railway line.”

Ms Lutz said she had not inspected the garden shed yet but had water running through the garage, which did some damage to tools and other machinery.

“We were lucky enough to be able to move the car that was in the driveway,” she said.

“Federation Council need to fix the drainage problem as a matter of urgency.”

A Federation Council spokesperson said council received a high volume of calls following the extensive rainfall throughout the Federation region last Thursday.

“Council is currently investigating a number of these requests and dealing with matters of public safety as a high priority,” the Federation Council Spokesperson said.

Brunella Schoolwear in Sanger Street was hit hard by the flash flooding.

Owner Elissa Parish arrived early on Friday morning to find water had leaked through the roof and onto the shop’s cash register, stock and a sewing machine, causing up to $6000 worth of damage.

“The cash register and sewing machine are damaged beyond repair,” she said.

“There’s also water damage to our carpet floor and some of our stock that is being aired out and will have to be laundered.

“It’s an inconvenience more than anything and you couldn’t do anything to stop it because it was a freak storm.”

To add to the disappointment, the businesses empty shop front further up in Sanger Street, where the shop will be relocating to, was also damaged by rain.

Floodwater got in under the door and damaged some of the skirting boards.

“We haven’t floored it yet, the carpet would have been destroyed if it had been laid,” Ms Parish said.

Target Country reported rain leaking from its roof and were fortunate that none of the floodwater came in under the front door.

Meanwhile, the Royal Hotel had to close its kitchen on Thursday night and was mopping up after parts of the hotel sustained water damage.

The NSW State Emergency Service received three call-outs to help sandbag homes, with the threat of floodwater entering properties in Gallipoli Street, Church Street and Federation Avenue.

Tree branches and other debris were left littering footpaths and roads early on Friday morning, with residents seen out and about helping to clean-up.

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