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Flood warning: Ingham residents told rising river will isolate communities, inundate properties

By Sally Rafferty, Tom Major, and staff, Friday March 9, 2018 - 06:46 EDT
ABC image
The Herbert River is rising in Ingham ahead of a forecast peak of more than 14 metres. - ABC

Residents in the north Queensland town of Ingham are bracing for the town's worst flood in nearly a decade, which is expected to inundate properties and cut off communities for days.

Hinchinbrook Shire Council Mayor Ramon Jayo urged residents to prepare for a major flooding event when the Herbert River peaks Friday morning at 5:00am.

"This is a serious flood," he said.

"If the river gets to 14.75 [metres] as anticipated by the BOM, it is bigger than the 2009 flood.

"If the levels reach what the BOM is telling us, yes, Ingham will be cut off."

Emergency Services Minister Craig Crawford said two extra swift water rescue crews would be sent to Ingham.

"The BOM have advised that flooding in Ingham will reach the major level overnight, and is likely to reach the 2009 flood level early tomorrow morning," he said.

"This will cause properties to be flooded.

"A major flood warning is also in place for the Tully River — this is likely to result in impacts to roads including the Bruce Highway.

School children in Ingham were sent home early to beat the rising waters, while emergency services remain on high alert.

The communities of Halifax, Lucinda, and Macknade in the northern beaches area are expected to become isolated.

Hundreds spent the afternoon stocking up on supplies should they be cut off by the rising waters.

Cr Jayo said people would need to stock up on enough food, water and fuel for three to four days.

Supermarket shelves have been stripped of fresh food, with several roads already closed around the town leaving rural communities stranded.

More than 350 millimetres of rain has fallen in the catchment over the past 36 hours and further heavy downpours are expected.

Roads cut

The Bruce Highway is closed north of Ingham at Cardwell and to the south at Mutarnee.

Enzo Craperi has lifted his freezers off the ground at the Kennedy Roadhouse north of Ingham as he awaits the peak of nearby Kennedy and Whitfield creeks.

"I've seen it over the road during Yasi," he said.

"I haven't looked at the map but I reckon we'll be right, my business main building is raised."

"It's got to the second step before once, that's as high as I've seen it."

The Murray and Tully Rivers are flowing over local roads and parts of the Bruce Highway near Euramo, south of Tully.

Further north rescue teams prepare

Swift-water rescue teams are being sent to Innisfail in far north Queensland, as heavy rain prompts major flood warnings across the region.

SES regional director Wayne Coutts said there had been more than two dozen calls for assistance, mainly residents requesting sandbags.

"People are wanting sandbags, leaking roofs, gutters overflowing, water through a few shops, the typical thing from stormwater drains that are overflowing with drains backing up and across into home," Mr Coutts said.

"Fire and Rescue were certainly putting a swift-water rescue team into the Innisfail area to be readied, to boost local resources and they're also preparing to send a four-person team up to Port Douglas in case the weather moves further north, later on."

He said there have been no reports of homes being flooded at this stage.


© ABC 2018

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