The Blackwood River
On the 18th, 19th and 20th of January a slow-moving storm system dumped a lot of rain in the Lower South West. Over three days, Nannup received approximately 100mm of rain while Pemberton recorded 163 mm in a 24 hour period. A lot of water ran into the Blackwood River Catchment and it took just under a week to reach us here at Nannup.
The river peaked at a height of 5.61 m at 11:50 am on 25 January 2016, which was very close to the 2004 flood level. It is interesting to note that the big 100-year flood of 1982 took place on Australia Day of that year.
At 5.61 metres, which qualifies as “minor flooding,” a carnival atmosphere prevailed among locals and visitors, who gathered along the old railway bridge (now part of the Timberline Trail for hikers and cyclists) to enjoy the spectacle. “Minor flooding” in terms of Nannup means that the billabongs fill up but nobody gets their feet wet, so it’s cause for celebration rather than concern. By the next day, the water was receding.
On Australia Day, the river was dropping in Nannup but rising at Jalbarragup. The old river crossing (as well as the fire warning and marron advisory signs) where only three evenings prior, residents had gathered to watch an outdoor movie, was well under water.
The river level peaked on Australia Day at the same height as the 2004 winter flood – again, “minor flooding” which led the locals out to the bridge to view the river, chat with friends and take photos.
By the next day, the river levels had fallen again. The summer flood – the first summer flood since the big one of 1982 – was a brief and exciting affair and no property was adversely impacted that we know of.
Living along the Blackwood, we get to see this magnificent river in all its moods, from a gentle trickle in the dry summer to the mighty roaring floods of winter. Nannup is such an awesome place!