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Flood crisis hits Lockyer Valley

Monday January 28, 2013 - 12:49 EDT

Rescue helicopters are being sent to the Lockyer Valley as floodwaters continue to rise.

More than 600 millimetres of rain has fallen in the Lockyer Creek catchment since yesterday morning and some creeks are peaking higher than the flood in 2011.

Mayor Steve Jones says local authorities did not have access to helicopters overnight, hampering efforts to help residents.

"This morning for the first time now helicopters are going in to rescue people and that's a great relief to us,' Councillor Jones said.

"Last night we had two firemen have to go in and rescue someone in very dangerous conditions in the water.

"When these sort of things happen it's great that these people do these brilliant things but you're always worried about them."

Residents living in flood-prone or low-lying areas near Lockyer Creek have been told to move to higher ground.

More than 100 residents spent the night in evacuation centres worried about a repeat of the devastating floods in 2011 which took 12 lives.

Councillor Jones says anyone in low-lying areas should move sooner than later.

"All up we've got a fairly serious situation on our hands today," he said.

Mr Jones says flood waters are starting to drop in the Grantham area which was badly affected yesterday.

However, heavy rain has continued throughout the night and the town of Laidley has been cut off by floodwaters.

"We've now got a circumstance of extensive flooding in Laidley those areas downstream from Laidley, down through Glenmore Grove and through there," he said.

The council says it has been given advice that Lockyer Creek at Glenore Grove is in excess of 14 metres and still rising.

That is more than a metre higher than the 2011 flood and Mr Jones says it is difficult to predict how many homes are threatened.

"We'll be out and about very soon to try and get a bit of an idea, and hopefully we'll get some sort of an idea from there," he said.

"But certainly [it will be] a lot of houses."

The weather bureau says the headwaters of Laidley Creek which feeds into the Lockyer Valley has had 620 millimetres of rain since 9:00 am (AEST) yesterday.

Laidley resident Christine Jones says she had to move twice in the middle of the night when water started rising up under her house.

"The water is underneath the house, the shed is gone, my back neighbour has got two sheds [and] one has disappeared," Ms Jones said.

"I evacuated to my brother's house - we then evacuated from there because the water was coming very fast through his yard and he was getting concerned for his kids as well."

Evacuation centres have been set up at the Fernvale Community Hall and the Lowood Showgrounds.

Mr Jones says the focus is on getting people out of areas of risk as soon as possible.

"Where possible we want people to leave anywhere there could be any risk and make sure they do it early so we minimise the impact of a late evacuation.

"It's all about making people safe."

Fernvale residents north of Geoff Fisher Bridge on the Brisbane Valley Highway are being advised to stock up on essential supplies today including food, water and baby formula.

The bridge is expected to be cut by floodwater tonight or early tomorrow morning and residents could be isolated for several days.


- ABC

© ABC 2013

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