It is again our painful duty to record one of those disastrous floods against which the miners have had to contend so frequently of late though in point of magnitude, and in the extent of damage done, this latest freak of the weather excels anything thai has hitherto occurred. The oldest residents concur in stating that such a humid season has never yet been known in this district, and that in ordinary times all communication with thc < outer world is generally cut off long before the winter is so far advanced, by snow and ice, which lowers those golden-bedded mountain streams 011 which so much capital and labor has been expended, to a minimum. From the noon of last Saturday, the rain has been pouring down, almost without intermission, | till Thursday evening, though for the first two , days but little apprehension was felt of a flood, as the superabundant moisture appeared to be deposited in the more elevated parts of the ; district in the form of snow. On Tuesday, howi ever, the terapeiature sensibly increased, and the snow becoming melted on the ranges, converted mere rills into rushing torrents, and every gorge and gully into a watercourse, all tending to one point—the scene of so many hopes and fears, of sturdy labor and bold enterprise—the Shotover I river. To describe the scene would be impossible —scarcely can it be imagined. Issuing from narrow gorges, the angry flood burst with the force of a cataract upon the low-lying beaches, bearing everything before it, and driving the miners to seek for safety in the upper terraces and mountains, where they were forced to endure the pitiless torrents of rain, and see the fruits of months of hard labor torn away and destroyed before their eyes.
At Maori Point the river rose rapidly, and on Thursday morning attained its maximum, which was between 25 and 30 fret above its former level. About 11 o'clock on Wednesday night, the river rose sufficiently to swamp the lowest tents and huts, and men might have been seen rushing in ali directions with lights, assisting one another in rescuing what was possible of their provisions, mining implements, etc. The time allowed them was short—the merciless pursuer was close upon their trail, and forced them to abandon their efforts to save their proper.y, in order to preserve life itself. The tents and stores on tlia higher levels were crowded with men, anxious to obtain some kind of shelter from the furious storm, which raged continuously tiil the next day, the deluge of rain being accompanied by vivid flashes of lightning and deafening peals of thunder, forming with the roar of the toirent and the ceaseless patter of rain, a chorus of sounds truly diabolical. By the time that morning dawned, a melancholy, though withal grand sight was presented—everything was submerged, and only here and there could an occasional glimpse be obtained of the ridge of a hut, standing above the water. Of the largest and most substantial races and mining works not a trace was of course to be seen—they were swamped en tnasse, and the water was some feet above them. At Stapleton's Beach the flood has made a complete sweep—huts, provisions, &c., being entirely washed away. Wilson's Beach has suffered comparatively little ; but every one of the numerous workings on the Shotover will feel the effects of this fearful visitation more or less, and long remember this second Black Thursday of the colonial calendar. From Stony Creek and Skipper's we have as yet received no accounts but there is every reason to believe that the destruction there has been equal to that above recorded on the other workings of the Shotover. At Arthur's Point the flood rose from 30 to 40 feet,and deluged everything; and even the Kawarau was unable to carry off the water poured into it—of which some idea maybe formed when we state that at the Falls, which have a clear descent of about 20 feet, the river was so choked with the stream that it was absolutely forced back into the Lake, raising that large volume of water perpendicularly some three or four feet above its former level, and floating off timber and boats drawn up on the bank.
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ANOTHER FLOOD., Lake Wakatip Mail, Volume I, Issue 21, 11 July 1863
ANOTHER FLOOD. Lake Wakatip Mail, Volume I, Issue 21, 11 July 1863
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