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Cyclone Ita: Several rescued from floodwaters in far north Queensland

Saturday April 12, 2014 - 12:40 EST
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SES workers stop at the scene of fallen powerlines on Captain Cook Highway, south of Mossman. - ABC

Emergency services have rescued several people from flooded roads in far north Queensland.

Tropical Cyclone Ita was downgraded to a category one storm at 10:30am (AEST) this morning .

Many of the roads north of Mossman are flooded today and Cape Tribulation Road is also cut in several places.

An State Emergency Service (SES) swift water team rescued two adults and three children from a flooded road south of Cooktown.

An SES spokesman says the family were trapped between the Annan River and Keating's Lagoon.

Emergency Management Queensland spokesman Daryl Camp says the swift water team battled treacherous conditions.

"It was quite deep and rising - 100 millimetres in 20 minutes that they'd been there," he said.

"They managed to get across that with the assistance of their inflatable work platform and the flood boat.

"They located the people and it turned out that there were two adults and three children."

In another incident, SES volunteers had to rescue a woman who tried to drive through a flooded roadway near Mossman, north of Cairns.

She tried to turn back to Mossman but the water was too high.

A cyclone warning is current for coastal areas from Cape Flattery to Cardwell including Cooktown, Port Douglas and Cairns, and extending inland to areas, including Mareeba and Chillagoe.

The weather bureau says damaging winds with gusts of up to 120 kilometres per hour are possible south of Cooktown to Port Douglas.

Power has been cut to 1,200 houses in the Mossman area and powerlines are down.

Authorities say people should stay indoors.

Daintree River flood fears

Meanwhile, residents in the Daintree Village, north of Port Douglas, are being urged to go to higher ground, with the Daintree River expected to exceed 1996 flood levels within the next few hours.

Flood forecaster Jess Carey says a major flood warning is in place for the Daintree River, with a peak of 15.2 metres recorded upstream at Bairds Crossing.

"We're talking sort of 10-plus metres above what we're usually seeing, so it's a very large volume of water and it's probably breaking out onto the flood plain," she said.

"I'd be expecting quite widespread traffic difficulties and in terms of inundation of residential areas, it's possible."


© ABC 2014

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