Hundreds of Queensland residents have fled to higher elevations or been rescued from flooding, while thousands remain alert as severe thunderstorms pelt the southeastern state.
A huge low-pressure trough in the Brisbane, Ipswich, Lockyer Valley, Darling Downs, Moreton Bay, Sunshine Coast, Wide Bay-Burnett, Bundaberg, and Gladstone regions has dumped heavy rain – up to 160 millimeters in six hours.
On Friday evening, the system moved north between Caboolture and Gladstone – including Maroochydore, Gympie, Bundaberg, Cooroy, Nambour, and Rainbow Beach – with a severe weather warning for those areas.
The Bureau of Meteorology has issued major flood warnings for the Condamine, Logan, and Bremer rivers and the Warrill, Laidley, and Lockyer creeks.
Lockyer Valley residents are threatened by flooding
BOM senior forecaster Laura Boekel emphasized that the Flood was moving across southeastern Queensland, with heavy rain that could trigger flash flooding and landslides.
“Then the situation could become life-threatening,” she said Friday.
More than 700 roads have been affected by flooding, including the Bruce Highway at Gin Gin, and Queensland Fire and Emergency Services are carrying out 20 rescues in 24 hours.
The Gympie Regional Council has warned residents after heavy rainfall was predicted on Friday afternoon.
“This can cause dangerous flash flooding. Residents are urged to stay off the road.”
The worst floods are around Laidley, Gatton, and Grantham in the Lockyer Valley, west of Brisbane, south around Beaudesert, and in Warwick, Cecil Plains, Millerman, and Killarney on the Southern Downs.
Rapid water technicians from Fire and Rescue evacuated residents from homes in Warwick after being hit by flooding on Friday afternoon.
About 300 homes have been affected in Laidley, where the Lockyer River flowed through William Street, the main road, earlier on Friday.
The intensity shocked Shane Barnes, the founder of the South East Queensland UHF Emergency Service Team.
“I began my career in the emergency services and attended secondary school in Laidley. Never in my life would I imagine so much water in William Street,” he tweeted Friday.
The Scenic Rim Council has issued an emergency warning that the flooding of Logan River has cut several roads.
Prime Minister Annastacia Palaszczuk said the rain was not as constant and intense as the torrential rains that caused catastrophic flooding in February but would last longer than expected until Saturday.
“Please don’t worry,” she said Friday.
“The most important thing is to listen to the warnings, and we will keep everyone informed as much as possible.”
The Brisbane River was not expected to rise above a minor flood level, but the City Council opened sandbag stations Friday afternoon, and parts of Rocklea and Oxley were flooded.
Deputy Police Commissioner Steve Gollschewski urged people to keep in touch, heed warnings and flee at the right time.
He urged people not to drive through floodwaters, as there had already been several “avoidable rescues”.
“We have lost far too many lives on our roads this year and in previous events,” said Gollschewski.
A strong easterly swell and strong land winds have pushed up four-meter waves, warning the BOM of dangerous surfing conditions and possible coastal erosion between Fraser Island and the NSW border.
The unusual deluge is Queensland’s sixth deadly Flood since December, which scientists have attributed to a second La Nina weather pattern in two years.