We had quite a storm yesterday. In less than 24 hours, we got at least 4, possibly as much as 6, inches of rain. Late in the afternoon, as the rain started slacking off, the boys discovered that the creeks were overflowing into the paddock our cows, chickens and turkeys live in. The cows were locked onto higher ground in one corner, and the chickens are on high enough ground to be safe; the turkeys free-range, and they were all fine. Mr. Imagination came running home as soon as they saw the water, to get his camera, and when Elijah went down, he took some pictures with his camera. Several locals said they had never seen the water this high. Part of the problem was that gravel had washed under the bridge, backing up the water into the paddock on the other side of the highway from us. There were also several log jams downstream, which also backed up the water.
The water in this picture is usually several meters away from where the cows are standing. This is a small creek that comes from a culvert that goes under the highway just to the right of the picture. It’s usually a wide, flowing pool of beautiful, clear, shallow water.
The cows are on the high ground at the right of this picture. Normally, there is no water flowing across there! You can see, about in the middle of the picture, where our little creek flows into Orwell Creek. There was a log jam across the mouth of our little creek, which diverted some of the water from Orwell Creek and directed it into our paddock, as well as the little creek having a lot of water of its own. The other two times we’ve seen that overflow, both within the last year, all the water has gone into a drainage ditch that starts just there, near the left side of this picture.
To the right is the normal channel of the creek. The drainage ditch is just left of the middle of this picture. This time, the water went right across the paddock to the left!
Look at all that water! The drainage ditch to the far right normally flows with a couple of inches of water at the bottom of a 2-meter ditch. The other drainage ditch, on the left, is normally just a swampy strip of water that might flow a little but not much. It got a good clean-out this time, though!
The turkeys are unimpressed with the weather. See what looks like a small lake in the distance? Some of our neighbors have fences set up there and have been grazing three ponies there this winter. We were glad to see they got the ponies out and up here to their house before that area was flooded too badly.
This is just across the highway from the gate to “our” paddock. Because of the gravel built up under the bridge, Orwell Creek was backed up into the paddock and around the neighbor’s house.
The boys were pretty impressed with this whirlpool. It goes down into the culvert that goes through into our paddock. They said the mouth of the culvert was about a meter, maybe three feet, below the surface of the water.
After checking out our paddock, the boys went around the block to where Orwell Creek crosses a road at the bottom of the hill on which Ahaura is built. The railroad parallels the road at this point, and this is what they saw at the two bridges:
Two hours later, this is what they saw:
By this time, the water was over the road bridge, and level with the train bridge–and a spot downstream just a little ways was washing out. There is normally no gap under the track here, but the water that went over the road washed it out pretty badly. Simon called Kiwirail to report the washout, and they sent a crew out this morning to fix it. We went past on our way home from church this afternoon and the track was safe again!
Several of the boys took video clips of what they saw, so I’ve put them together here. The power of moving water is amazing! There’s a little bit of fun here, too, at the end; Mr. Sweetie and Mr. Imagination rode their bikes at top speed past James, through puddles.