The Mirror News

Flash flood for Foster

A DRAMATIC thunderstorm dumped as much as 27mm of rain (more than an inch in the old scale) on Foster in a matter of minutes last Sunday afternoon. Accompanied by a spectacular sound and light show, the deluge included huge hailstones. Starting around 3pm, it lasted for only about 15 minutes, but the rain was so heavy it left a trail of damage, as gutters filled to overflowing and drains simply couldn’t cope.

The mail room of the Foster post office (which recorded a total of 33mm of rain over the weekend) flooded, along with half a dozen other businesses.

At Ando’s Bakery water poured in through the rear door and cascaded in through the roof. The bakery was closed at the time, but staff came in to mop up and ensure business as usual on Monday.

Foster Newsagency was one of the worst affected premises. Proprietor June Eddy said the alarm in the shop (which was closed) went off, presumably sensing movement as a section of the roof caved in. “I understand the gutters filled with hailstones and there was nowhere for the rain to go. The sheer weight of the water caused part of the roof to collapse,” said Mrs Eddy. With water damage to carpet and stock and repairs required for the ceiling and roof of the store, the damage bill will not be small.

Both local supermarkets were inundated to some degree, but remained open while staff mopped up. Foster Foodworks proprietor Chris Bettles said the drains in the car park behind the supermarket couldn’t cope with the sheer volume of water, and with nowhere for the water to go it poured into the back of the store. He and other staff members rallied to mop up, and no serious damage was caused to shop or stock.

The rain got into Foster IGA, as well, but the inundation was confined to one corner of the shop and the water was quickly mopped up, with minimal damage.

Worse off was Evans Petroleum’s BP service station, where the danger posed by a wave of water flooding through the shop meant the manager had to turn off the power. As a result the service station was closed for several hours while mud, water and muddy water were removed from the premises.

The box gutters of Foster’s Exchange Hotel were no match for so much rain in such a short time. Patrons in the bar were treated to an indoor ‘water feature’ as the rain showered down through the ceiling. The damage to the pub’s carpet is still being assessed.

The rain was widespread across the district on Sunday, but Foster appears to have copped the heaviest falls in the shortest amount of time. Down at Yanakie, which has been inordinately dry in recent months, Alex Moon was pleased to receive about 25mm of rain on Sunday – and not in one flooding burst as happened at Foster. “That rain, combined with a similar amount on Saturday night, meant we had a bit of run-off for the first time for ages,” he said.

Finally, you have to pity any campers staying at Wilsons Promontory National Park over the weekend. Tidal River recorded 83mm of rainfall between Saturday morning and Sunday morning, while a jaw-dropping 120mm rainfall was recorded at the light station on Saturday through to Sunday. Remarkably, the rain caused only minor damage to tracks at the Prom.

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