It was a beautiful afternoon as they made their way to town and Amy was glad to use a supermarket trolley to support her damaged back as Lucas sped around grabbing things off the shelf and coming back to where Amy was slowly progressing around the aisles. They ended up with much more in the trolley than Amy had listed but were happy with their accomplishment. James and Joy Spencer were delighted when they turned up unannounced at the family home. Joy did her best to try and persuade her children to stay over with them during the cyclone but finally gave up when she understood they were prepared for the event.
James turned to his wife. “We better check out whether we need to stock up on supermarket items tomorrow. Everybody will be stocking up around town as supermarket deliveries will be impacted by this cyclone. I know already some of the businesses in areas that may flood are beginning to move their vulnerable stock to store sheds higher up. It’s always a mess cleaning up after floods recede, but everyone chips in to help and we are ready for it this time.
Monday was a sunny day and Lucas went to work ready for a full-on day. By evening he noticed clouds beginning to form in the distance and the breeze began to pick up in speed. Tuesday was overcast and winds were beginning to gust, so Lucas decided to shut up shop and put a sign up to indicate he’d be closed for the duration of the cyclone giving his phone and web address for those who needed assistance. Lucas with his substantial knowledge of electronics had all the equipment available on his property to handle emergencies with power outage and his communication tower on top of the hill was sturdy and had a direct unhindered view of the communication towers in town to pick up strong signals. His satellite dish was well anchored and protected to withstand the strongest wind pressures. The house was built cyclone proof and though sitting on top of the hill had roof reinforcements he was confident in. If all else failed the underground basement and double car garage built into the hill and water sealed would protect them. The workshop and barn were built into the hill so were well protected there too. He departed for home feeling the strong push of wind against his car causing him to hold tight to the steering wheel as the wind sought to drive him to the west side of the road. He eyed the creek as he crossed knowing that with the intensity of flooding rain predicted that cement bridge would probably become submerged, and access cut off from the main road to town. Not a problem as who would want to venture out in that wind and rain anyway. He was glad his vehicle and farm equipment would be well protected.
The full force of the storm hit on Thursday and Lucas watched in alarm as he peered from his veranda while trees on his property bent almost horizontal bowed to the force of the wind. His eyes strained as he peered through the driving rain to try and see how his young fruit trees were faring. Wooden shutters he’d managed to anchor over all windows creaked and groaned under the fury of rapidly circulating winds and he was becoming drenched standing on the veranda so used all his strength to open the door being anchored in place by force of wind. He went to the bathroom and changed into dry clothes. Lights went out momentarily and the emergency engine started up powering refrigerator and freezer and limited supply to house lights and TV. But atmospherics affected TV reception and he and Amy had to huddle around the radio to get uninterrupted broadcasts about the progress of the storm and damage caused.
Mealtimes came and went without much enthusiasm from the besieged couple. The storm moved slowly lingering to dump its deluge on the valley as it made its way inland slowly dissipating in strength over days. The radio reported there was major flooding in the lower sections of Springdale and Lucas and Amy remembered in their growing up years visiting flooded areas of town with their father the mayor as he directed flood mitigation efforts. They wondered what was happening in town and what damage was being done to their parent’s home property here.
Eventually the winds died down as the cyclone lost its strength and Lucas was able to put on farm boots and raincoat and cap and work his way through muddy fields to inspect the outside of the home and sheds. They’d survived well. He went downhill to inspect his trees. The lower trees had survived well while trees higher up had had branches torn from them or been shattered and needed major repairs or a replant. The tall eucalypt trees down from the house had shed many branches but were largely intact while other native trees were in sad shape but would grow again. Native birds looked down on him pleadingly looking wet and bedraggled.
He moved down the long road to the bridge to inspect it and to his horror he noted portion of the dirt roadway connecting with the bridge had been washed away significantly. He’d have to phone his father and ask for repair on the main roadside of the bridge by council contractors before he could drive on it and as the creek was still running high just under the cement bridge there was no way for a safe crossing to the other side yet. Broken trees were piled up against the bridge. He’d have to use his farm equipment to scoop up earth and fill in the approach to the bridge from his property and press the soil down sufficiently to gain temporary access to the bridge.
Now that he knew of that vulnerability, he’d have to take out a loan to build a more stable cement roadway from his side of the bridge to a point further up the hill so this would not happen again. It would take time to remove all that rubbish piled up against the bridge too. He groaned as he thought of the amount of money this would probably require. Many of the businesses in town suffering flood damage would probably be seeking money and the services of contractors too so he needed to get back up the hill and have his father begin working on the council road responsibility before others claimed priority. Suddenly, his little hobby farm out of town didn’t seem like such a good idea but once these things had been fixed, he’d be able to handle future storms better when they came.
Amy watched him plod up the hill through the mud in his farm boots and tried to study his face for hints of the damage.
“Will we be able to get into town Lucas?”
“Not for a while Amy, once the ground begins to dry out a little, I’ll need to get the farm tractor and begin to fill in the washout this side of the bridge so we can get onto it. We will need contractors to cement the road leading to the bridge from this side eventually and that will take a lot of money. I’m going to phone dad now and see if he can get the council workers working on the bridge approach from the main roadside. It’s washed out too and it’s a council expense. Otherwise, we are stuck here for a long time without road access unless I can go through farmer Bill’s property on the other side of the hill and link up with the road there if his road access is still available after the flood. Probably no access there until the ground dries out too. Too bad we don’t own a helicopter, Amy.”
Both laughed while Lucas discarded his muddy boots and walked barefoot up the stairs to make a phone call to his father.
Amy gave him a hug. “You’re just going to have to put up with me all day for a couple of weeks now Lucas.”
“I couldn’t think of a better person to share my day with Amy!” He gave his sister a kiss on both cheeks then headed for the phone.
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