Rains have been inundating communities since Thursday, but parts of the east coast tipped into crisis on Saturday as a major dam overflowed, adding to swollen rivers and causing flash flooding.
On Monday, New South Wales (NSW) Premier Gladys Berejiklian announced that nearly 18,000 people have been evacuated from flood-hit regions in the state, and locals took to social media to show that thousands of animals have been on the move, too.
Matt Lovenfosse has been posting Facebook updates from his family’s farm in Kinchela Creek, including the photo above.
“All the brown you can see is Spiders trying to beat the flood water,” he wrote in the caption.
Lovenfosse grew up on the farm and told CNN he experienced similar flooding in March 2001 and March 2013. On both occasions the flood waters pushed spiders toward the house, which is the highest point on the property.
“It’s still raining here and the flood water is still rising, the water is getting closer to our home,” said Lovenfosse. “In the morning it should be inside and the spiders will be all over the house.”
However, Lovenfosse plans to stay put in his two-story home.
“My family has lived here forever, I have grown up here and we feel safe here,” he said.
Spiders aren’t the only animals seeking refuge from the water, Lovenfosse added.
“The trees are full of snakes,” he said. “If you take the boat out over the paddock they swim towards it trying to get on something dry, same with the spiders.”
That might sound like the stuff of nightmares for some, but Lovenfosse is unperturbed.
“I grew up here on the farm so I have always been around snakes, spiders and all the other animals so they don’t bother me and usually we don’t cross paths too often but when the flood comes they have to find somewhere to get dry,” he said.
“So many SPIDERS from the floodwater,” she wrote, alongside a video of hundreds of arachnids crawling over what look like garage doors.
“They will climb up your legs to get shelter as well,” the caption reads.
The wet weather is set to continue, and Berejiklian predicts more people may be evacuated.
“The situation is evolving, the heavy rainfalls are going to continue and we are now seeing alerts issued for weather warnings for the Illawarra and south coast,” she said.
“I don’t know any time in our state’s history where we had these extreme weather conditions in such quick succession in the middle of a pandemic,” she added. “So these are challenging times for New South Wales, but I think we have also demonstrated our capacity to be resilient.”