Imbil as the Major Flood of January 27-28, 2013 recedes

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Imbil experienced major flooding in Yabba Creek in January 2013, the peak on Sunday 27th January being the 3rd highest flood known. Earlier floods in 1893 and 1955 were higher, but the floods of 1999 and 1870 were eclipsed by this flood.

This oblique aerial photo was taken on the afternoon of 29 January, two days after the peak. During the flood the Imbil Town Bridge (lower left corner) was inundated, its northern approaches scoured, and sections of the pedestrian railings and pavement torn away.

Three residences and two business premises were invaded by flood waters.

The Yabba is a fast flowing river in flood. During significant floods in 2010 and 2011, many river bank trees were removed by those floods which meant that this flood moved more quickly, scoured banks especially on bends, and carried less debris than in most other major floods.

A large plastic tank carried from a homesite upstream was carried by the flood passing down the flood channel which is seen at top of photo, shortening the course at the bends. As the tank came down that channel it collided with a power pole carrying the main electricity supply for the district. The pole was snapped like matchwood and power supply was lost. This was costly for dairy farmers in the area who could not store their milk as they usually do through a flood event.

Such a tank (say, 23000L has a mass of 23 tonnes) carried in the flood can be a destructive object. In this event, the tank brought down the powerline, snapped off the tops of riverbank trees and, on colliding with the Imbil Town bridge, snapped off 2 sections of steel safety railings, whereupon the tank burst and remains a pathetic sheet of plastic on the river bank immediately downstream of the bridge.

There are lessons to be learnt, such as the need to regulate the siting of this new generation of tanks in relation to flood levels.

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Comments (5)

bdeh on February 7, 2013

Beautiful aerial picture Ian, not much damage at this picture. Greetings Berend

Ian Stehbens on February 7, 2013

This is home now, Berend. Greetings from Imbil.

Near centre of picture, you will see 2 sets of 3 homes separated by a bowling green and tennis courts, located between the main road and the river. The last of these is our home, and from the high bank we look down onto the river where the flood channel rejoins the main river. If you enlarge the image you will see our driveway and gardens and our trees.

The town is 'well-adjusted' to flooding, partly because the super flood of 1893 happened about 20 years before the town was surveyed and the town settlement began.

But we must be ever vigilant, for as new people arrive who don't know the flooding possibilities, mistakes can be made. But floods are to some extent unpredictable, each behaving differently, and records can be broken.


bdeh on February 8, 2013

You're living in a beautiful area Ian. Greetings Berend

ebi lutze on February 9, 2013

Hi IanFrom the Group A1-Unique Australia. It looks so tranquil now, almost unbelievable that the Yabba Creek did so much damage. Great areal picture. L. Regards Ebi

Ian Stehbens on February 9, 2013

Hi Ebi. Thanks for your interest and encouragement. Because it follows a faultline here, it is so straight and therefore floods move very quickly through this section. It meanders, both upstream and downstream from the Imbil section.


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Photo details

  • Uploaded on February 7, 2013
  • © All Rights Reserved
    by Ian Stehbens