A few weeks ago Taylor and Tim Peers were starting discussions about whether they were ready to buy their own home.
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This week they find themselves living temporarily with Tim’s parents Ian and Vicki after their rental property was left inhabitable after Wednesday’s rain event.
Not only suffering from rain water inundation, Taylor says they have been advised the over floor flooding in their Wilkinson St home was from “category three waste water”.
It has meant that 95 per cent of their belongings have had to be thrown out, including all their white goods.
As they were in the process of changing between contents insurance policies, leaving them without cover at the time of the storm, the cost of replacing all the items lost will now prevent them from entering the real estate market in the near future.
And because of a long term rental squeeze in Deniliquin, finding a suitable long term rental for themselves and their three children is proving difficult.
The State Emergency Service has said the Peers’ home was one of “about four or five” to suffer what they describe a “significant” impacts from the rain event - specifically, over floor flooding.
There were 26 properties impacted in total, with the majority only suffering impacts to sheds, verandahs, under flood flooding and some water damage due to holes in roofs.
The Peers’ say they realised the extent of the flash flooding about 7am Wednesday, when they looked out the front window to see the road and their front yard was under water.
“After taking a couple of photos thinking this would be as bad as it got, we started trying to get our three kids ready for the day,” Taylor said.
“But five minutes later the water had risen quite fast and was now into the car port and getting closer to the house. It was in the house by 7.30am.
“The kids were screaming that the water was coming in through the walls, and the water just came up quickly in all the rooms at once.
“It would have been about a foot deep - it was messy and chaotic.
“One of our dogs was running and jumping around, and swimming in it.
“Our youngest, who is about 14 months, was a bit oblivious to what was happening. She was in the high chair and we just kept giving her snacks to keep her occupied.“
At the time this all occurred, Taylor was on the phone to the SES requesting assistance and sandbags. But it was too late.
Initially they decided to wait at the home until someone arrived to help, but with the water continuing to rise Tim made the decision to evacuate his wife and children about 9am.
“At the time we left, the water was up to my knees in the driveway,” Taylor said.
“But now we have to virtually start all over again, and a lot of the items we have lost have sentimental value.
“I also had to throw out our Christmas tree, which we had only just set up.
“If it had just been rainwater, some of our things might have been salvageable.”
Taylor said she and Tim are lucky to have a great network of family, friends and neighbours who have offered help. Among them are Taylor’s parents Chris and June Grummett, who drove six hours from Warrnambool.
A friend of the family has since started a Go Fund Me page to assist them, and the Peers’ say they had offers of financial donations before that.
But Taylor admits “we don’t know how to say yes (to the help); we’re in a bit of shock still”.
Also suffering over floor flooding as a result of the rain event were Rebecca and Michael Simmons.
They purchased their home in Wood St - between Napier St and Edwardes St - about two years ago.
At the time they went to work about 6am on Wednesday, the water was covering the road - which is not unusual for Wood St in a heavy rainfall event - and was part way up their driveway.
But just after 7am their children - aged 18 and 15 - called them in a panic saying the water was getting into the house.
“It came in through the front door and side laundry door, met in the middle and then spread,” Rebecca said.
“Multiple rooms flooded at once.
“When we went to work the water was about 10m from the front door; we never thought it would get as far as it did.
“The water was ankle deep in the house, and based on the water marks out the back, it would have been at least a foot deep over the top of the pool and in our bungalow.“
Rebecca and Michael are both part of the Coles Deniliquin team, and when they ran the two blocks home through the rising water and rain they were followed by about five or six of their teammates who offered to help in any way they could.
“Having the work team come over and help us get as much stuff up off the floor as we could probably saved a lot of of our things,” Rebecca said.
“But it was all a bit of a blur.
“We did have trouble getting a hold of the SES because their helpline disconnected us, so at one stage we could do nothing but stand out the front and wait for help.
”During this time, we were concerned at the number of people who were ignoring the road closed signs and driving through the floodwaters - causing even more water to enter our home.
“Most of them were just looking, but we were thankful for one of them. Bryson Godfrey was just driving around town with sandbags seeing where he could help, and he stopped to help us out because none had made it to us yet.”
Carpets were being removed from the Simmons and Peers home on Friday, but a full assessment of the lasting damage at both homes is yet to be finalised.
The Bureau of Meteorology’s official rain tally for the 24 hours to 9am Wednesday was 106mm, but the SES did say they had reports of up to 140mm in some areas and the Pastoral Times has seen photos of rain gauges which show falls of about 190mm.
Even the lower, official total recorded by the BoM is a record for Deniliquin, with the previous record daily rainfall for November being 57.2mm recorded on November 18, 1889.
Edward River Council CEO Phil Stone said the town’s drainage and stormwater systems could simply not keep up with the torrential downpour.
While most of the flooding in the lagoons system - part of the town’s storm water system - and on road had dissipated by Thursday afternoon, standing water is expected to be a continuing problem in the short term while the water continues to drain away.
The pumps organised by the SES will remain in the community for as long as needed.
With the emergency of the situation passed, the SES said this responsibility was handed over to Edward River Council on Friday morning.
Damage to local roads is yet to be fully assessed, but council has warned a number of small sink holes have appeared and have been cordoned off for safety until they can be addressed.