Parkes Shire Council crews, the Police, the Lachlan SES and Essential Energy responded quickly to a number of recorded incidents across the Parkes Shire, following the severe weather event which occurred on Saturday 2nd January. The storm has been described as a supercell thunderstorm and dumped up to 100mls of rain in under an hour and produced damaging winds of 150KM/hr.

Parkes Shire Mayor Cr Ken Keith OAM said, "The rainfall intensity that we experienced was greater than a 1 in 100 year event and when you consider the amount of drains that were blocked by hail and other debris, the flooding event would well exceed a 1 in 100 year event. The heavy rain, hail and strong winds caused widespread damage across the Shire. My thoughts are with everyone who was affected during the storm, including property and business owners.

“Council will be applying for a Natural Disaster Declaration to assist with recovery works and insurance claims. Our community is resilient, and once again over the last few days we have seen evidence of this with everyone out and about helping each other. A big thank you to our emergency services who worked tirelessly to assist residents and business owners after the event, including our local police, Essential Energy, the Lachlan SES and staff from Parkes Shire Council,” added Cr Keith.

To assist in the clean up of properties, the Parkes Waste Facility will be accepting green waste and storm damage material free of charge until close of business Friday 8 January 2021. For those that can't get their waste to the tip, you can safely pile the green waste on your verge and Council crews will carry out collection over the coming week.

Parkes Shire Council's Director of Infrastructure Andrew Francis said, "For 132 years (1889-2012) the Parkes Shire has been collecting rain data from the MccArthur Street rain station. The Parkes Shire has received an average of 559mm over 66 rain days annually.

"However, over the last 29 years whilst the average annual rain fall measured at the Parkes Airport has seen a slight increase in yearly average rain to 614mm, we have seen a significant decrease in the number of rain days, reducing by nearly half to 35 annual rain days. This shows that rain events are becoming less frequent but more intense.

"The weekends rain event can be described as greater than a 1 in 100 year event. Our design of urban storm water systems is standardised by the Bureau of Meteorology’s Australian Rainfall and Runoff Guidelines and is designed for up to the 1 in 100 year event. However, we know based on the data that we need to be continually improving our system which was originally designed in the 1960s. Currently, we have a four-pronged approach with an emphasis on:

  • Ongoing maintenance - Council has recently upgraded the storm water network along Victoria St
  • Capture, detain or divert major flows - an example of this is the work that has recently been completed at Pac Park
  • Extend and upsize the above ground and underground network, such as the upgrades of detention basins and upsizing major drainage infrastructure, including in Bogan Street
  • Improve Planning and Development Controls - Council is currently working with new developers to decrease the impact of intense storm events and Council has committed $80,000 from its existing 2020/21 budgeted funds for a driveway, kerb and gutter interface improvement program. The program will see council officers work with landowners to design and construct new, compliant kerb-to-property-boundary sections of driveways that will appropriately exclude the natural flow of stormwater from the property and keep it within the roadway as it is designed. Properties targeted for this program will be those with pre-existing stormwater impacts on downstream properties due to the insufficient construction of the existing driveway

Council endeavours to manage urban stormwater according to the principles of best practice to reduce impacts on waterway health, minimise stormwater flooding and provide an alternate water source.

You can also share your rainfall and stormwater information with Council to assist in ongoing monitoring and planning - just click on the link below.