Snow Day? Flood Day.

Snow Day? Flood Day.

The other week, someone made an offhand comment about snow days. I remember there being a mythical temperature discussed at school, at which point we could all go home. Apparently no such thing exists. Which is ridiculous given my memories of being unable to work in demountable classrooms in high school. Anyway. That’s just what I think of shitty schools not having air con. Whatever.


The talk about  snow days made me think – clearly a snow day isn’t applicable in Brisbane (and if it was, I would be freaking the fuck out as I expect we would all be dying from extreme climate change). But what Brisbane should have are flood days. Remember my FUCKING HORRIFIC drive home in May 2015? Where I didn’t even blog the most terrifying part?


Well, I realised that my local council and Brisbane City Council both have their flood maps online (MBRC/BCC). I was snooping through them the other day and saw that nearly every single road impact that day is expected to flood. And while I don’t expect every single road to be floodproof, the problem I have is that so very often, main roads are cut. Main roads. Not tiny backstreets where only a handful of local residents are impact. Main roads.


If governments:

a) don’t want to fix it

b) can’t afford to fix it

c)  can’t fix it

Then there needs to be an alternative solution.


Snow Day? Flood Day.


  • Stay home on days where severe weather is expected
  • Work from home (for fuck’s sake, it’s 2016, catch up with the times – I know not everyone can do this but a lot more people can than do)


Is it practical to stay home? Brisbane can have a lot of wild weather for a lot of months of the year. It might not be practical. But if fixing the roads or reducing flood risks isn’t possible, then where does the negotiation between regular life and safety come in?


The other main thing I have found is that employees are subject to some pretty big whims about if it’s ok to leave. I’ve had people tell me that their bosses only realised a flood was serious when the flood impacted them (#lifehack: get a boss who isn’t so dumb). I’ve had bosses shitty at me for making the call about when I’m comfortable staying at work and when I decide I need to leave (because duh, I know the roads I travel on every day better than a boss who lives elsewhere).


Snow Day? Flood Day.


Like I said in my other post, I’m glad the “If it’s flooded, forget it” message was updated this storm season to include “It doesn’t matter what car you drive”. Hint hint, some segments on the population. But what I didn’t cover, and what kind of bugs me after my experience every time I hear the ads, is that they say “Have a plan B!”. Hahaha. When I’m in regular old suburbia, and I can’t get to another part of boring old suburbia because EVERY SINGLE ROAD is flooded, telling people to have a plan B is a bit of a joke. I would say it shows cheek but it’s too serious for that.


Yes, the storm I was in was a freak storm. It was unprecedented. But these roads aren’t new to flooding. A plan B is some bullshit that pretends only some roads flood, whereas reality is that many places turn into islands. A realistic plan B is sleeping in your car (with supplies) until you can get somewhere. And yes, I realise abandoning family who need you to sleep in your car overnight may not be what you’d first think of as realistic, but literally, what other option is there?


What do you think of needing flood days, in the same way as snow days exist elsewhere? 


14 Replies to “Snow Day? Flood Day.”

  1. Yes, definitely. You shouldn’t be expected to trek into work during flood or severe storm events. It’s dangerous for everyone involved and not worth the risk. I used to dream of snow days at school too. Then I wondered how hot it would have to get for us to be sent home. In high school, we had lots of bomb threats, so it was good to have some time out then 🙂 #teamIBOT

    1. Vanessa Smith says: Reply

      I remember a graphics class in the demountables in high school – woah. You’d draw a line, wipe sweat, draw a line, wipe sweat. I wonder how hot they used to be!

  2. I thought flood days WERE an actual thing? I know there is some kind of ‘day’ covering environmental disastery stuff as a QLD government employee. It’s a bit stupid if they don’t- we live in Queensland for chrissake! Land of the flood/cyclone!

    1. Vanessa Smith says: Reply

      I don’t know many of the details – basically I thought most places were ok once it had been declared a disaster/issue, but this is more about avoiding our classic 3pm deluge when they are expected to turn serious.

  3. The need for flood days seems totally logical to me.

    1. Vanessa Smith says: Reply

      Me too! But it seems to be ignored and not discussed. I think it’s a bit too important to be left up to the whims of employers.

  4. I can’t believe you don’t have them already given some of the flood disasters you guys have had over the years. It seems like a no-brainer.

    1. Vanessa Smith says: Reply

      I think it’s just so hard to tell what will be a regular bad storm vs what will be a semi-disastrous one.

  5. You are so right, flood days should be a “thing”. So glad I work from home nowadays!

    1. Vanessa Smith says: Reply

      That really would solve a lot of the problems!

  6. I actually worked in IT during the 2011 floods and we managed to get the firm up and working very quickly. Then everyone complained that the other law firms got days off, and they didn’t. Sigh.

    1. Vanessa Smith says: Reply

      Haha oh dear, you can’t please everyone! I was working in West End at the time so we were cut off for a few days but back up very fast. I was impressed by it!

  7. They absolutely should be a thing. Paul’s daughter got stuck in one last year because her boss didn’t let them go in time. Also, even though Rocky was hit by a cyclone last year, the schools were open on the Monday after it hit. None of the schools had power back on and most of them were still filled with fallen trees.

    1. Vanessa Smith says: Reply

      Oh wow, I didn’t know that about the cyclone and schools. That’s ridiculous. Play it by ear works in some situations, but I feel like there’s too much grey area with floods and that can have such a serious consequence.

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