King tide causes damage at Parham

By Alvin Jenkin, Parham resident

Monday May 9 resulted in some excitement for residents and visitors to settlements on the Eastern coast of St Vincent Gulf as strong North West winds, combined with a seasonal high tide of 2.7 metres at about 6pm, united to create extremely high tidal levels.

For the first time residents received messages on their landline and mobile phones from the State Emergency Services warning them of the potential for flooding and other damage.

The District Council of Mallala deployed staff and equipment to respond to any weaknesses in levees, and instructions were issued to evacuate Middle Beach before the access road was closed by floodwaters.

An evacuation centre was established at the Two Wells Oval.

At Port Parham the campground was evacuated as a precautionary measure with campers being accommodated in the car park of the Port Parham Sports and Social Club, and the toilets of the club were made available to the campers.

Residents of Port Parham looked on anxiously as the tide rose at a more rapid rate than in recent experiences of similar events and there appeared to be a potential for the levees to be over run.

Then a slight abatement of the wind at about 5.30pm caused the water to stop rising and peak at a level slightly less than the level experienced in the last major event of this type on 25 April 2009.

In 2009 the levees were overrun in three places, being at the southern end of the town, the boat ramp, and near Second Street. Council subsequently carried out restoration and improvement works in these areas resulting in them being more than adequate to withstand the tidal rise.

Webb Beach Road was closed for a couple of hours as the tide overtopped the causeway, but residents were not subject to flooding.

Whilst there has been sand ridge restoration to the south of this location, which has been adequate to meet such events, the Ridge has not been restored north of the fence, resulting in the flooding.

This event was fairly unique as the peak occurred during daylight, usually peaks on king tides have been after dark.

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