2007 Hunter Floods

In June 2007 a severe storm swept through the Hunter and Central Coast regions of New South Wales. The storm surge caused the bulk carrier MV Pasha Bulker  to run aground at Nobbys Beach, Newcastle. Heavy rains, exceeding 300mm in some areas, fell throughout the Hunter catchment causing extensive flooding. The then New South Wales Premier, Morris Iemma, declared the region a natural disaster area and State Emergency Services (SES) personnel from across Australia were called in to control the rising waters and minimise further damage. Facing power outages and damaged infrastructure, the SES needed high quality spatial information to determine how to best manage the region.

On receiving a request from Emergency Management Australia, Geoscience Australia initiated a satellite capture program. To acquire satellite imagery takes anywhere from a few minutes to 36 hours, depending on the positioning of satellites and prevailing weather conditions. In the case of the Hunter flooding in 2007, optical imagery was captured within a day using the ALOS ANVIR-2 sensor. This imagery was then processed and compared to archived imagery of the region (see below).

From these images various products were released to aid emergency services in the preparedness, response and recovery phases. Conventional ground based methods of gathering information may not be efficient, or even possible, during a catastrophic event. Satellite based data provides clearly defined information to disaster management agencies during such circumstances.

Topic contact: earth.observation@ga.gov.au Last updated: October 27, 2011