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“It’s going to be a long night” Upper Colo residents prepared as flood waters continue to rise

Mar 6, 2022


We’ve been talking to some of the folks in the Upper Colo area as flood waters there continue to rise – the level has gone up sharply in the last few hours and the river is raging.


They’re prepared as best they can be and we’re told there is a calmness amongst residents, with those who wanted to leave already out of the area to safety.


Alice Voigt and her family are staying and have moved to a neighbours on higher ground and taken their 40 chickens, 3 dogs, 2 geese and a goat.


“We have great waterfront views,” says Alice drily.


She believes they will be fine and says the flood level seems to be lower than last year but higher than 2020.


The Voigt family home as seen this morning from the RFS rescue chopper


“Almost exactly a year ago today the Colo River raged so ferociously that it ripped the 100 year old bridge off its pile one. Today we will just have to see what devastation is left behind,” she says.


“Landslides everywhere are being reported on local Facebook community groups, people’s houses are inundated with water and those that have stayed update those that can’t get back.

“With every access road in and out closed the residents of Upper Colo are expecting evacuation orders, but where can they go?


Alice Voigt’s water view


“We are a well prepared group, this being the third major flood in as many years, but it’s always nail biting and an anxious wait,” said Ms Voigt.


Resident Kristi Bryant told the Post this afternoon, “the river came up quite quickly today and I imagine there’s a bit more to come. The Monday-Tuesday forecast is for more rain. We’ve moved everything above the ‘78 flood level given the predicted conditions.”


Endeavour Energy turned power off before the valley was flooded so the residents have been without electricity for 3 days.


“Despite most residents having a store of fuel for these events, most will need refuelling by now,” says Ms Bryant.


She says Hawkesbury SES has been in contact with residents and is urging locals to contact them directly for assistance if required.


Ms Bryant says there is confusion among residents about the Bureau of Meteorology reports for their area, which doesn’t help.


“They are giving predictions and warnings for the Colo at Putty Road, I imagine for road closures, but using the Upper Colo gauge for info. There is no gauge visible for Colo at Putty Rd.”


Paul Bryant, who is Kristi’s husband and Captain of the Upper Colo RFS, has been up in the RFS helicopter today having a look and checking properties.


“We’re seeing a sharp rise in the water level,” he said this afternoon. “It’s the biggest rise over a short period of time.


“This is the third bump we have seen [in water levels], normally it’s two.


“People who have remained are really well prepared this time. The community really take care of each other,” he says.


“The river is unpredictable and furious,” says Ms Voigt, “and being without power for 3 days now we know there is much longer to go. For now we sit and watch and continue to plan for the absolute worst, but hope for the best.”


She says her family should be fine but if they have to reach higher ground, “there is clear access up the hills behind us. It’s a slog carting all animals up but we would make that call before dark.


“It’s going to be a long night.”


Thanks to Alice Voigt for the pictures


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