No, not the Lakes District in the UK, but the occasional one that arises near Mirboo North after a few days of heavy rain. The valley that runs just west of Mirboo North to Leongatha in the south, is fed by the Tarwin River West Branch and when we have heavy rains for several days, as we’ve had this August, the tributary creeks from the hills add to the flow and the valley floods to form rather picturesque lakes. Though I’m not sure the farmers see it that way.
The current flooding is actually a lot less than it has been in the previous two years, but we are still experiencing further rain, so it could increase. I’ve been meaning to take photographs of the flooding for some time, but when I have had the chance, the weather has been miserable and it’s been pointless to go out. Then when conditions are somewhat better, the water has subsided considerably. So this year I decided to get what I can and at least have some sort of record. I started from just above Leongatha, the most southerly point where the visible flooding terminates near the Strzelecki Highway, and then drove north to try and capture the water lying in the paddocks.
The Tarwin River West Branch isn’t an overly wide or deep river, so when there’s a lot of water coming down, it rapidly overflows it’s banks. With such a low and relatively flat valley, it’s easy to see why ‘lakes’ form so easily. But just as fast as the lakes form, they disappear without a trace when the rains cease. Some of the better views are found deeper in the farmers’ properties, as they can just been seen from the roadside, so one day I’ll have to introduce myself to the landowners to see if I can gain access to better vantage points.
When it really pours, even Mossvale Park floods and is completely inaccessible, but for the moment it’s just soggy, with some small ponds forming in the lowest areas. When I say soggy, I’ve just bought a pair of gumboots for when I take the hounds for a morning run, as the ground can be almost a bog in places after a good rainfall and, from the people I’ve met, I’m not the only one that’s realised that gumboots are a must at Mossvale Park in Winter. But what a difference a few days of steady rain makes, as Mossvale Park slowly begins to resemble a lake itself.
I’ve included a photograph from June 2012, showing how Mossvale Park can appear when we really get a downpour for several days. If you look closely and move your eyes down from the open sky on the left of the panorama to the waterline, you’ll see the spot shown in the first photograph in the previous series (click on the photo for full size). The tree with the worn spot on the base is just visible (it’s worn because people use it as a seat when taking portraits). I often wonder how the residents that live on the other side of the park get in and out during such floods.
Spring is nearly on our doorstep and it doesn’t look like we’ll get flooding like in 2012, though you can never tell with the way the weather patterns move about in the locality. But, more often than not, we don’t seem to suffer the worst of the rains that move across South Gippsland as they tend to flow well north of us, further south, or both. However, only time will tell. That said, some cop it even worse.
Update. And what a difference a few weeks makes. Shortly after NSW received its dumping of rain we got hit with several days of torrential rain that had the roads awash with water and the valley really flooding.