SMALL waves rolled across the bitumen strip in front of the Lake Conjola Post Office and store last week then trickled up to the front step.
Inside, in semi-dark after the power cut out, owners Darrell and Marilyn Stewart already deduced they hadn’t experienced a flood like this in their 42 years in the village.
As they both snapped away on their phones getting pictures through the store windows, down the street their 42-year-old son Brad and mate Dale Steven who run the bottle shop agreed.
“In the ‘91 flood I had 600 millimetres in my lounge room, today it’s three-quarters of a metre,” Mr Stevens said and as if on cue, the insurance assessor arrived to look at the damage in Brad Stewart’s place behind the bottle shop.
Most of Lake Conjola had been part submerged through Monday and Tuesday, the inundation also coming from the southern side of the village as Pattimores Lagoon raged beyond its banks.
By Wednesday morning the surge had largely receded but large sections of the village were still ankle deep under sheets of water.
Just along the boardwalk from the entrance boatramp a large tree fell, smashing through both wooden guard rails.
Residents were wandering the streets taking stock, starting to clean up after doing what they could through the night to prevent the interiors of their homes flooding, some owners of two storey residences built more recently to flood risk specifications among the luckier ones.
The occasional rubber neck drove through, windows wound down, eyes popping.
Power was restored at 12.50pm Wednesday.
“Lucky I had a load of ice in, or the freezers would have floated away,” Darrell Stewart joked an hour earlier, pointing to them outside the boatsheds which had been under a metre of water.
“There were waves up the lake and the big seas just kept rolling in.
“It caught everyone by surprise,” he said as a pair of lorikeets hopped along the sodden grass and stuck their beaks into the boatshed cleanup he, Marilyn and daughter Sammi Massey had started.
During torrential rain on Monday night, the lake entrance was closed but the force of the flood swept it open at 7.30am Tuesday morning, before it peaked just over two metres, 12 hours later.
“Either way whether it was open or closed the lake would have flooded,” Mr Stewart said.
By Thursday morning frustration had boiled. Some residents were talking up a weekend public meeting to discuss a class action against Shoalhaven City Council over this flood and several years of disagreement about how it should have managed the lake entrance.
A count of 105 people attended the meeting at the Entrance caravan boat ramp on Sunday morning to express their views.