- Monday 23 February 2015
6PM: Sunshine Coast Mayor Mark Jamieson has congratulated the community for heeding warnings and staying safe throughout the recent severe weather.
Mayor Jamieson, Sunshine Coast Local Disaster Management Group (LDMG) chair, said a combination of factors ensured the community was alerted and the LDMG was very well prepared for ex-Tropical Cyclone Marcia on Saturday morning, which arrived hot on the heels of the rain depression.
“The LDMG’s decision early last week to go into Alert status and then Standing Up status meant all agencies were at Council's Nambour chambers on Thursday,” Mayor Jamieson said.
“We immediately put in place plans to prepare for the worst case scenario if a severe weather event occurred - heavy rainfalls, damaging winds, dangerous road and surf conditions – and the subsequent danger to the community and damage to property.
“Skills acquired during regular exercises ensured all processes, including communications between agencies and with the community, were mapped out.
“Staff were rostered to provide 24/7 coverage from Thursday morning.”
Mayor Jamieson said the event provided the first opportunity to test the recently developed online Disaster Hub which incorporated weather warnings, road closures links to airport updates, traffic cameras, flood mapping, and Council’s news updates and social media.
“Once the LDMG went on alert, Council's website was redirected to the Disaster Management Hub giving residents immediate access to that important information,” Mayor Jamieson said.
“The Disaster Hub received more than 64,000 hits on Friday and Saturday, alone.
“I cannot stress enough how important it was that people heeded the message to stay indoors and stay off the roads.
“I am sure that contributed to the very low number of motor vehicle accidents and allowed our emergency services the opportunity to attend to other situations.
“I also congratulate the media for the manner in which they reported on the event, providing timely and factual information which contributed to the safety of our community.
“Our thanks also to the community for accurately reporting flooded roads across the Coast, allowing the Disaster Hub to be updated as soon as information was confirmed.”
LDMG Coordinator Andrew Ryan said the Sunshine Coast escaped major damage as the rain had eased off just in time.
“Any further heavy deluges and we would have had wide spread flooding,” Mr Ryan said.
“Minor flooding in the Mary Valley isolated the Kenilworth township until mid-afternoon on Saturday and there were minor landslips around Dulong and Bald Knob near Maleny, a few trees down and debris around, but no reports of major damage.
“As soon as the weather conditions allowed, Council had 24 crews assessing and inspecting roads, parks and beaches to ensure they were safe.
“Our crews are still assessing road closures and are focused on removing signs and updating the Disaster Hub so our residents can have every confidence that the information is accurate, especially travelling to school and work tomorrow (Monday).
“As the roads dry out, we expect pot holes to appear and would appreciate the community contacting Council’s call centre on 5475.7272 so we can prioritise road and any other infrastructure repairs.
“Some roads across the Coast remain closed due to flooding and we reinforce the message– if it’s flooded, forget it.
“I urge parents to keep children away from waterways and drains as the water is still moving extremely quickly and is very dangerous.”
Maroochydore and Bulcock beaches remain closed due to debris making conditions unsafe for swimmers.
Sunshine Coast Council’s Disaster Hub can be found at: www.disaster.sunshinecoast.qld.gov.au.
Mayor Jamieson said his thoughts were with the communities to our north who were still dealing with the destruction caused by Tropical Cyclone Marcia.
Fast Facts – Why such a good outcome on the Sunshine Coast
- The public heeded safety advice.
- Early decision to set up disaster management control centre
- Regular disaster management training exercises ensured skilled response team
- LDMG agency staff rostered on 24/7 throughout the event
- Sunshine Coast Council’s Disaster Hub provided accurate, timely information.
- Media outlets published and aired LDMG communications and their own journalists’ reports in a timely manner
- The rain eased off at the right time, limiting further flooding.
- Damage assessed quickly and repairs prioritised.