Cyclone Debbie Recovery Response

    Thursday, April 06, 2017

    Cyclone Debbie Recovery Response...

    It has been less than a week since Cyclone Debbie wreaked a path of destruction across Queensland and Northern NSW. Tragically, there have been a number of lives lost and billions in damage to property and infrastructure and it is not yet over for many.

    There has been record or near record rainfalls and flooding across the region but fortunately, the cyclone coincided with low to moderate ocean storm surge conditions which prevented flooding being far worse than observed. (check out the time lapse satellite view of Debbie's path)

    As an example, In the 36hr period between 6pm 29 March and 6am 31 March, Upper Springbrook ALERT rain gauge recorded 888mm of rain. Using Bureau of Meteorology (BOM) statistical Intensity Frequency Duration (IFD) data at this location the Average Recurrence Interval (ARI) of the recorded rain is in the order of 100 years.

    Cyclone Debbie crossed the North QLD coastline near Bowen as a Category 4 tropical cyclone bringing with it torrential rain and severe damaging winds and seas. The cyclone traversed inland and down the line of the great dividing range affecting many communities including city regions. As the cyclone was downgraded and exited land out into the Pacific Ocean off the Tweed Coast, extremely intense rainfall was recorded in the Logan/Albert, Coomera, Tweed, and Wilsons River catchments. Major level flooding has occurred within these catchments of which has caused wide spread damage to both private and public infrastructure. The Nerang River catchment, however was less intense with only Minor level flooding recorded and observed. Smaller southern Gold Coast catchments including Mudgeeraba, Tallebudgera, and Currumbin with headwaters being close to Springbrook escarpment experienced Moderate to Major level flooding.

    The recovery has begun and will comprise not only a massive amount of cleaning up and rebuilding damaged infrastructure, but much effort will also be directed toward analysing and better understanding the event and improving our communities resilience and protection from future similar events.

    Burchills engineers and scientists are doing our small part in contributing to this recovery effort and have been already been responding to calls for infrastructure assessment and replacement in North Queensalnd down to NSW including the Gold Coast and Tweed.

    We are also collecting data and inspecting a number of flood affected sites to aid flood damage and claims assessment. With the fullness of time we will be working with councils and authorities to help improve flood and disaster planning and resilience.

    Events like these require a whole of community response with everyone doing what they can to help. The Burchills team has all the experience necessary to assist both public and private sector clients to assess damage and get back in shape as quickly as possible. Services that we can offer include:

    • Site inspections and dilapidation reports by flood, civil, and structural engineers to assess, record and catalouge damage and report on rectification design and construction works required;
    • Hydrological and hydraulic assessment to determine the magnitude of flooding including associated modelling and determination of source of flooding;
    • Flood data collection and coordination of surveyors to ascertain flood mark levels
    • Flood recovery works design and documentation (civil and structural) for instance building and bridge damage, reinstatement of washed away road sections and culverts, reinstatement of washed away or damaged pontoons and jetties; and
    • Flood disaster and resilience planning and management including flood emergency management plans (FEMP's).
    • For a full description of our range of services please visit

    Within our team we have a number of Chartered Engineers (CPEng/RPEQ) that can be utilised to certify all findings and documentation.

    If you are an existing client of Burchills and your site was flooded and you would like an inspection or formal damage assessment please do not hesitate in contacting your Burchills Project Manager to arrange.

    For all enquiries into our flood engineering and response support services please contact:

    Mr Jacob Franklin
    Manager – Water and Environment
    M : 0414 515 806
    T : (07) 5509 6400
    E :


    Jacob Franklin
    Manager - Water & Environment

    Philip Bell
    Principal Engineer and Certification