Destructive weather system ‘will persist’ longer than predicted, residents of Lockyer Valley ‘urged to self-evacuate’ as Queensland’s record deluge continues,
The wet weather event hitting southeast Queensland will “last longer” than expected, the Bureau of Meteorology (BoM) has warned in an updated forecast.
Half a dozen emergency flood alerts have been issued across Queensland, with roads and homes at risk.
Alerts are currently in effect in Gympie, Lockyer Valley, Warwick, Millmerran, Mount Tarampa, Minden, Patrick Estate, Stanthorpe and Scenic Rim.
It was originally thought that today would mark the ‘peak’ of the weather system, which has caused chaos in Queensland’s outback, the far north and now the south.
“It’s an evolving situation,” a Bureau spokesperson said.
“This weather is likely to stay around today, and into tomorrow, tomorrow is now and we will start to see the clearing trend.”
The Bureau said large areas of the state received more than 100mm of rain.
The highest rainfall total was 290mm near Wilsons Peak on the Queensland/New South Wales border.
State Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said flooding is currently occurring in Gabbin and Laidley.
Around 300 homes in Laidley, in the Lockyer Valley, southwest of Brisbane, were flooded this morning when a nearby stream overflowed.
It is one of dozens of watersheds that overflow the banks. The watercourses of most concern are: Condamine River, Logan River, Bremer River and Warrill Creek.
A moderate flood warning is also in place for the upper reaches of the Brisbane River, while the lower reaches pose a minor flood risk.
Emergency sirens also sounded near Grantham to urge residents to head up high as the ‘unseasonable’ upper lower coast charged south.
Despite the threat, Palaszczuk said the intense rains the state is currently experiencing are not as heavy as previous floods in February, which caused many deaths and destroyed homes.
“This rainfall is actually more sporadic and less abundant,” Palaszczuk said.
“But we are still seeing cases of flooding and the rising of the river in particular areas.
“We’re asking people where possible, if you don’t need to be on the roads, please don’t travel unless you absolutely have to.”
Queensland Fire and Emergency Services Minister Mark Ryan said although it is an unusual time of year for flooding, emergency services remain prepared.
The rain has also forced the closure of many schools across the state and dangerous waves are pounding a wide swath of coastline from the Fraser Coast to the Gold Coast.
City engulfed in front of people’s eyes
Nine swift water rescues were carried out from 3pm yesterday until this morning and the SES received 150 calls for help.
Several rescues took place in Laidley as residents were trapped in homes in the south of the town as the waters rose rapidly.
Earlier this morning Laidley Creek broke its banks in Mulgowie and is now threatening lives in homes and businesses.
The city will be one of the hardest hit communities today, said Main Bureau forecaster Christie Johnson.
Eight evacuation centers are open there.
“I’m sad for the city. The city can’t take it. The businesses, the people. It’s sad. I always get over the last one,” said one resident.
Another said she was shocked at how fast the waters were rising.
“Last night when I was looking at the cameras, it wasn’t that high,” she said.
“It’s my first flood in Laidley so it’s a bit scary but I feel for the townspeople, business owners and all that.”
Grantham’s siren was activated earlier this morning ‘to give residents time to move to higher ground’ as saturated catchments overflow.
The council has asked residents of low-lying areas in the Lockyer Valley to leave this morning, ahead of official evacuation orders.
“In response to the latest weather forecast, all residents of low-lying flood-prone areas are advised to evacuate on their own,” the local council said, adding that the waters were rising rapidly.
Heavy showers will continue today with forecasts of up to 200mm across Capricorn to the NSW border.
9News understands SES staff are also going door to door in Grantham urging residents to leave.
Bizarre sight in flood waters after city was submerged in 20 minutes
‘Terrifying’: Emergency sirens sound across Grantham
An emergency siren also sounded throughout the city, which resident Linda Godley described as “terrifying”.
“We didn’t have sirens yesterday or the day before, so this is the first time we’ve had sirens,” she said. Today.
“We don’t know what’s going to happen. You know we can’t start over.
“It destroys our whole family. It destroys everything, you know, you can’t think, you can’t sleep, we’re so tired but you’re too scared to sleep.”
Colleges Crossing in Ipswich also sank, the second time it has been swallowed by floodwaters since February.
Earlier this morning, Millward observed “water coming up through the sewers” into the CBD.
Images from Transport and Main Roads Queensland also show extensive flooding around Somerset Regional Council.
A dangerous surf warning is currently in place from the Fraser Coast to the Gold Coast, with the Bureau warning of swells in excess of three metres.