"A one in one hundred year event" is how someone described it. Another likened it to an inland tsunami.
As if the floods experienced in the state of Queensland over the last week weren't enough, torrential rain fell in the last 24 hours on the highly populated area of south-east Queensland and turned a dire situation into one of utter disaster. Late yesterday afternoon, a raging wall of muddy water surged through the city of Toowoomba and then charged down into the Lockyer Valley below.
Small towns in the valley below were either badly damaged or wiped out by the wall of water. People have been drowned in their homes and swept away in their cars.
Scenes reminiscent of those witnessed in the 2004 tsunami have been broadcast across Australian televisions. Cars, houses and even small aircraft all thrashed about in a dirty, angry sea of rushing water.
As I write tonight, 10 people have died (at least half of them children), and 78 are missing. Grave concerns are held for the safety of another 18 people.
Calls for help in the past 24 hours have totalled 30000. There will be more. At least 6500 homes have been affected by water and a further 15000 in Brisbane and 3000 in Ipswich are likely. Currently, 20000 homes are without power.
Events changed rapidly in the course of the day. Predictions for river levels climbed continuously and water rose much more quickly than anticipated. Torrential rain continues.
Many who could not make it to higher ground to be accommodated with loved ones are being housed in evacuation centres. But even some evacuation centres have had to be evacuated.
Many wait for news of family. I am lucky. I know that my daughter and grandson are okay. I know that my son is safe.
My son lives in Brisbane. The city's CBD has closed down and the water is rising. Pontoons with luxury boats and yachts attached are careering down the Brisbane River.
My daughter and her family evacuated their home late this afternoon after being told by Emergency Services Officers to go .. and go now. They left with very few possessions ... just precious photos, some clothes, blankets and pillows. But they are safe.
I fear their house and their uninsured furnishings are not safe. The evening news brought aerial pictures and advice that their town, their little community of One Mile, Ipswich, was cut off by the rising waters. Further news indicates that their home is likely to be inundated tonight as the river level in Ipswich rises to a predicted peak of 22 metres (over 72 ft).
But they are safe. That is the main thing.
One of the 10 dead was a little 4 year old boy. Swept away in the waters as emergency personnel tried to rescue him and his family. Swept away out of their arms.
Mine are safe.
Thank God ... mine are safe.