Emergency flood warnings declared in several south-east Queensland regions as wet weather set to continue
| 13.05,22. 06:39 AM |
Emergency flood warnings declared in
several south-east Queensland regions as
wet weather set to continue
Emergency declarations have been made in several flood-affected regions. (Nine)
Several emergency warnings have been issued throughout south-east Queensland as the region faces another flooding disaster, which set to continue over the coming days.
The wet weather system that caused carnage in the state's north has moved to the south-east, inundating creeks, blocking roads and triggering dangerous flash flooding.
Emergency alerts have been issued for North Burnett Regional Council, Gympie Regional Council, Killarney in the Southern Downs Region and in Mount Tarampa and Prenzlau by the Somerset Regional Council.
Residents are urged to avoid driving at this time and to stay up to date with local warnings and alerts.
The Bureau of Meteorology (BoM) has also warned of moderate flooding along Lockyer Creek, which may impact low-lying areas in Mount Tarampa and Prenzlau.
"A place of refuge has been set up at Lowood State High School hall (Prospect Street, Lowood) for concerned residents from 5pm today," a QFES warning read.
Somerset Regional Council confirmed Cressbrook Dam is currently 1.2 metres above the spillway, with Cressbrook Creek residents also on high alert.
Cooby Creek in Toowoomba has been put on alert with police warning the dam is spilling.
"Residents are asked to warn neighbours, secure property and prepare to move," police said.
Residents in all affected areas are urged to have emergency plans in place and to follow the advice of local councils and emergency crews.
They have been reminded never to drive through floodwaters.
More torrential rain is threatening to exacerbate existing flooding over the coming days.
"For Queenslanders, this is an evolving situation," BoM meteorologist Laura Boekel said.
"We still have a couple of days of rainfall in very saturated catchments so especially that south-east corner is very much a watch point.
"Within that rain band, we could also see thunderstorms which can produce damaging winds or even more intense rainfall."
QFES State Operations Centre Coordinator James Haig said flooding risk is not "just about the millimetres, it is about how wet the ground already was and where the water has to go".
"As soon as we get rain, rivers are rising quickly," Haig said.
"This is not over yet."
He said residents need to "pay attention to conditions" and "plan their routes carefully".
The Queensland SES has responded to 114 calls for assistance, the majority from the state's south-east.
Several schools were closed across the region as flooding remains a major threat to safety.
All ferry services have been cancelled in Brisbane.
More than 7000 megalitres of water has been released from Wivenhoe dam so far, the equivalent of 3000 Olympic swimming pools.
Queensland man missing in flood zone found
A man reported missing in Gympie this morning has been found.
Police coordinated a search and rescue mission after the 36-year-old went missing at an Imbil campsite, south of Gympie last night.
He was last seen chasing his dog around 11.30pm.
"He was reported missing at approximately 10am this morning after he failed to return or make contact with anyone," police said.
"The campsite is currently isolated from foot and road access due to several flooded river crossings."
An RACQ Lifeflight helicopter and swift water rescue crew searched for the man near the campsite, which was isolated from the floods.
He has since been located safe and well.
The Mary River in Gympie has swelled to 10 metres, with predictions the river will rise to 12 to 13 metres over the next 24 hours.
Gympie mayor Glen Hartwig said residents, now facing another flood disaster are still weary from February's flood event.
"I suppose a little bit of edginess, the last event was significant, the highest flood in living memory," he said.
This morning, another man was rescued from floodwaters in Bundaberg, after his car was swept into floodwaters.
The man, in his 50s, had been driving around 11.30pm when he was forced to escape his vehicle.
The man managed to cling to a tree in the current and was stranded in flood waters all night.
This morning, the man was discovered by a group of farmers conducting morning checks on their land and was brought to safety.
An RACQ Lifeflight rescue helicopter was called around 7.30 am this morning as there was no access to the property due to heavy flooding.
"The QAS Flight paramedic treated the patient for hypothermia and other existing medical conditions, before he was flown to Bundaberg Hospital in a stable condition, for further treatment," a Lifeflight spokesperson said.
Yesterday, a 31-year-old woman was found dead in her vehicle, after becoming swept into floodwaters north of Mackay.
Two of her passengers managed to escape, however the woman was found in the submerged vehicle still wearing her seatbelt.
More flooding in North Queensland
While the worst of the wet weather has now hit the south-east, North Queensland is still battling the aftermath of the rain event.
The deluge has closed roads and flattened crops, but communities further west have rejoiced at the downpour.
Around Townsville, residents are still seeing extremely wet conditions.
An hour south in the Burdekin, sugarcane farmers are anticipating a wet harvesting period.
"It's obviously going to delay the crushing probably two to three weeks, and when we do get going it'll be wet, and difficult, but we will get going," farmer Phil Marano said.
"Everyone's predicting it's going to be a wetter than average year, there's not much you can do about it but hope it doesn't turn out that way."
In outback regions like Winton, the rain has been welcomed.
The outback region makes up two-thirds of the Sunshine State, with parts of the central interior region seeing above-average rainfall for May.
"After many years of heart-breaking drought, it is great to see all our waterways and surrounding areas come to life," St George Tourism Manager Kim Wildman said.
"With each of our seven towns – Bollon, Dirranbandi, Hebel, Mungindi, Nindigully, Thallon and St George – located on a river or creek, water is our region's life-blood.
"Rivers have come to life with activity, the bird life is flourishing, wildflowers blooming, crops are being harvested and there's an extra spring in everyone's step."
South Johnstone, Hughenden in the outback, and Townsville in the far north were among the hardest hit towns yesterday.
South Johnstone, in the Cassowary Coast Region, received 313.2 mm in 72 hours.
"This includes 191.4 mm in 24 hours, which is the highest daily total for May since 1964," Weatherzone said.
"(There was) 102 mm in 24 hours at Townsville Airport, three times the May monthly average and the 2nd wettest May day on record."
Gold Coast beaches closed
All beaches have been closed on the Gold Coast for a second day as large swell batters the coast.
Powerful surf is expected from Friday, Saturday and Sunday, raising the possibility beaches may be closed until Monday.
Beaches on the Gold Coast were closed yesterday as the coast was battered by rough swell.
"Around six metre wave heights have been recorded off Stradbroke Island and here off the Gold Coast beaches," 9News journalist Mia Glover said.
Wind gusts of 60 to 70km/h are tearing through the Gold Coast adding to the dangerous surf conditions.
New South Wales is also copping a deluge as the system makes its way down the coast.
The Bureau has warned there's a threat of significant rain for the Northern Rivers.
Sydney recorded the biggest rainfall totals in five weeks and another soggy weekend on the way.
It comes as the Insurance Council of Australia revealed this year's deadly flood crisis in NSW and Queensland is set to become Australia's costliest flood ever; the damage bill is estimated at almost $3.35 billion.