An Aberdeen-born woman has been caught up in horror floods in Australia – which have seen crocodiles brought inland.
Tracey Robertson, 38, was brought up in Airyhall before emigrating to Townsville, Queensland, 10 years ago.
For the past 10 days, Tracey and her neighburs in the city have been blighted by floods, including rainfall levels of 3ft 8in (1.16m).
The area was dubbed a “disaster zone” by Annastacia Palaszczuk, the Premier of Queensland, last Thursday.
Tracey said: “The flooding started about 10 days ago, and they always have rain round about this time of year because it’s the monsoon season.
“This one is just a weird event, because usually it moves past the cities, but it hasn’t this time – it appears to be hanging around over Townsville.
“In the past 10 days, we’ve had one year of rainfall.
“It’s not something I’ve ever experienced before. Townsville hasn’t experienced anything like this either.”
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Residents were put on water restrictions, similar to a hosepipe ban, because of a lack of rainfall.
The nearby dam was operating at just 67% capacity, but has since climbed to 245% following the rainfall, forcing the council to open the spillways, ejecting water into the nearby Ross River.
Croc out the front of my dads place in mundingburra, O’Reilly street, Ross River Road end. Cannot stress it enough to stay out of the water
The flooding has seen crocodiles and snakes roaming the streets after being brought inland by the rainwater. Tracey said: “We’ve heard a few people saying there are snakes around and I heard about one person who had a crocodile on their front steps.
“People here are laid back about this kind of thing. They say ‘well it’s only a freshwater one, that’s fine’, because the saltwater crocodiles are supposed to be more aggressive.”
Luckily, Tracey, a teaching assistant, and her family managed to miss the most extreme flooding, with only her driveway being covered in water.
She said: “When it was really intense rain, there was what could only be described as a river flowing down our driveway and into our garage, then out the back into the garden.
“Our driveway has been underwater for about five days now and we actually have tadpoles living in our driveway.”
— Josh Bavas (@JoshBavas) February 4, 2019
However, the water has hampered deliveries of food and other supplies to local supermarkets and most people have been forced to stay in their homes.
Despite the adverse weather, Tracey and her Liverpudlian partner Kevin McGregor, 41, managed to keep their youngsters, Lewis, 9 and Lilly, 7, and Liam, 6, entertained with a taste of home – an Aberdeen-themed game of Monopoly, courtesy of Tracey’s mum.
She said: “They’ve been off school for the past few days, and the schools are meant to be closed again tomorrow, so they’ve been playing Aberdeen Monopoly my mum sent over a while back.
“While they’ve been off school, they’re learning about the streets of Aberdeen.”
Tracey also praised the reaction of the local community, as well as the council. She said: “We’ve had lots of help from the council, they’ve been really good.
“They gave us a lot of advanced warning and told anyone concerned about flooding to get to the higher ground.
“There’s also been a really nice community feel and lots of people have been donating things and filling up sandbags for people who can’t get them.
“There are six evacuation shelters in the area, which are all pretty much full, and there have been so many people donating things like blankets and toys for the kids that they’ve actually had to ask them to stop.”
Tracey was even in the process of gathering up supplies to donate when she was told there was no need.
Despite the flooding, Tracey still isn’t sure if she would prefer to be in the snowy north-east.
She said: “I’m not sure if I’d rather be back home with all the snow you’re getting, or over here with the floods. It’s a hard choice.”