Severe Weather Update: heavy rainfall and flooding in northern Queensland, 6 February 2019


Hello from the Bureau, with the latest on the flooding situation across Queensland. I’m Jonathan, one of the forecasters here at the National Operations Centre. I’m joined by Claire Mills, one of our hydrologists. As the focus across large parts of Queensland now shifts towards recovery, at the Bureau our thoughts are with those not only affected by the devastation but also the emergency crews and everyday people that have worked tirelessly to keep communities safe. Over the past 24 h we’ve continued to see
very heavy rainfall along the coast— particularly the stretch between Cardwell and towards the south of Mackay. Some places have recorded in excess of 2 m over the past ten days—including Paluma and Bluewater. And Claire, what is the flooding situation along the coast? Thanks Jonathan. We’re continuing to see numerous Flood Warnings across Queensland, as well as very significant river levels through much of Queensland. I’ll start with the Ross River: So we’re currently seeing the river levels are easing at Aplin Wier within Townsville. They’re currently at ‘moderate’ and are falling. Over the next 24 h we do expect those to continue to fall, but with further heavy rainfall it is possible we could see them rise again. So the Queensland Flood Team will be monitoring the situation closely and be in contact with the agencies in those areas. And any other Flood Warnings in that area? We do have several other Flood Warnings across much of the Central Coast catchments: Other areas include the Lower Herbert River, where this morning we saw heavy rainfall which resulted in major flood levels at Halifax on the Lower Herbert. We also have the Major Flood Warning continuing in the Burdekin River: So in the Upper Burdekin River at Sellheim we’re seeing river levels over 4 m above Macrossan Bridge. Downstream of Burdekin Dam/Falls, we’re seeing river levels rising in that area and expecting moderate flood levels to continue to rise during the week. And across western Queensland, the rain continues to fall, with places like Julia Creek and Richmond receiving more than 100 mm a day. And some places have recorded even a half a metre of rain over the past ten days. What’s the situation across western Queensland? Yes, that’s right. So the other area of main concern is those catchments in the Gulf area. So we’ve got major flood levels continuing to rise on the Leichardt River, as well as flood levels rising in the Upper Flinders catchments for Richmond, and flood levels continuing at Julia Creek—and that has been going on for several days now. In the Lower Flinders we’ve got flood levels continuing to rise at Walkers Bend, and we expect those to rise for the next week at least. Yes, and looking at the kind of rainfall over the next 24 h, we could see heavy falls continuing along the coastal parts as well as further towards the west, on the southern flank of this low pressure system. Over the coming days, we will see the rain start to ease towards the west, as the low pressure system moves into the Coral Sea, but we could see heavy falls continuing along the coast— with warnings for damaging winds as well. And so with this rain about, and a lot of flooding continuing across large parts of Queensland, it is important to stay up to date with any forecasts and warnings from the Bureau website or app; and as always, follow all advice from your local emergency services.

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