The terrific south-wvsterly gale that ibiew all day Tuesday intensified toward evening. It was at its height between 5 and <3 o'clock. Fences and outbuildings in the western sec tion of the town were uprooted, and in many blocks trees fell with a
Anxious eyes followed' the progress of the tide, which was ?expected to be at flood peak at 10 p.m. .At S o'clock the water was only a foot below the wharf decking, and rising fast.
The gale meanwhile had abated a little, and there were fitful showers of rain. The gale got behind one of the huge hoppprs at the electri>; cranes on Smellers Wharf and car ried it. along its lines many yards. The water service at the Smellers wis interfered with.
At S.30 the first inkling of reol trouble came when it was reported that tlie pump house at the Smelters, from which the whole of the salt water service of the Works, is operated, was Hooded.
Investigation showed that the river water had nearly inundated the motors, and was steadily rising.
Shortly after 9 o'clock the tide rose .above the wharf level and be gan to flow into the town. That well known danger signal-St. Paul's Church corner-was at that hour showing a wide expanse of water, which coveted; the footpath.
At Solomontown Reach the tide rose until it washed into the front garden of residents' of beach road.
The telephone at. the corporation powerhouse was ringing continuously, with a man standing by receiving calls from the suburbs concerning line faults. The service lorry with all available men was out early, rac ing from one line fault to another, and gradually overtaking the volume of
calls for assistance.
The gale had played havoc with street services, and live wires lay on many footpaths. in places' four to six wires were torn at one, spot, ren dering the task of the electricians
In howling wind tiie men worked strapped to tho high poles, and when the gale subsided a little it was thought, that the worst of the trouble
It was Just the beginning!
First Signs of Flood
Anxiety became acute when at 9.30 persons leaving the town proper for Solomontown found their progress barred by a sheet of water that ex- tended- nearly to the police station from the beach end.
By this time the water had flowed over main road and had entered shops and residences on the western side.
Alarming reports came from the west that the waters had almost topped the embankment. Up to 9.30, however, residents in the Ellen dale area did not view their .position
Solomontown at that hour was in toe greatest trouble. Water had in
undated Waterworkstown and the main road area, and was flowing down Three Chain road.
Tim floodwaters steadily rose until the police station was awash. The residence of Mr. E. T. Cornish, on a low-lying block adjoining- the police station, was flooded to a depth of nearly five feet, and the occupants got out with difficulty.
Several drivers of vehicles, anxious for the safety of their families in Solomontown, made an attempt to breast the floods, which were flowing at an ever-increasing rate. They could not get far, and were forced to either turn back before the rowing sheds were readied or abandon their vehicles and wade back.
Mr. Reg. Maxwell, with a passenger in his sidecar outfit, made an at tempt to get through, but had to turn about, and push his cycle back to dry land.
At the Police Station
Within the police station all was confusion. The telephone bell rang incessantly. Heartrending calls for help were received from Solomontown end, but the officers, standing knee deep in thy highly situated station, were powerless. All that could be done was to endeavor to advice those in trouble.
"Come out to us. My wife and children will drown!" came a cry from Mr. Smith, who lives near the aerodrome.
There was no chance of procur- ing a boat without swimming for it, and the police officers took the next best course and harnessed a horse to a trap and made an effort to get through to' Solomontown, without
Mr. H. Walts (licensee of Railway Hotel) was in a car with Messrs. L. Rodda and J. Donnelly. The car was driven to the front of the hotel, where Mr. Watts had to plunge into a waist-high flood to reach his wife and daughter. His two companions were rescued by the police trap.
People in the streets were first curious and then alarmed when the footpath under Mr. G. Mezzino's shop verandah rose and a fountain of water commenced to rush out. This sub terranean flow, carrying dirt with it, choked the watertables, and water
mounted over the footpaths in Alex-
A quick survey of the gale damage before the real flood arrived revealed fences and hoardings blown down in many parts. Almost the whole of the western side of the Shell depot Iron fence was down, the verandah ol' Pantheon Club, in Florence street was torn bodily from the building, a high fence at the rear of the Har bors Roard Office was levelled.
Portion of the roof of Moyles fac- tory wns blown off. dislocating the whole of the electric service in that vicinity. Fifty feet of the fence of Memorial Oval (eastern side) was down, and' the roof of Corporation stables was lifted bodily and hurled off. leaving the horses without
It is estimated that at times the
gale reached 70 miles an hour. The
shrieking of telegraph and electric overhead wires seemed to add to the fury of the tempest.