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As it happened: Tornadoes hit coastal towns

Friday April 26, 2013 - 14:57 EST

A series of tornadoes has ripped through Queensland's Wide Bay region, causing extensive damage to property and bringing down powerlines.

Wild weather is battering the state's south-east as ex-tropical cyclone Oswald continues to move down the coast.

In the town of Bargara, located 13km east of Bundaberg, one tornado tore roofs from buildings and two people were critically injured when a tree fell on a car.

At least four others have also been injured during the storms and authorities say there is widespread structural damage across the region.

A disaster situation has been declared north-east of Bundaberg and south of Gladstone.

The Bureau of Meteorology has warned of more damaging tornadoes and flooding rainfall in the Wide Bay-Burnett region tonight.

Look back at how the day unfolded. All times in AEST.





11.36pm: The latest for the Wide Bay and Burnett, South-East Coast and parts of the
Darling Downs and Granite Belt districts details:
Current conditions and radar imagery suggest the strong possibility of further tornado activity affecting areas through the Wide Bay and Burnett district;
Damaging winds, with gusts of around 110km/h are expected over the Wide Bay and Burnett, northern stretches of the Sunshine Coast and northern parts of the Darling Downs and Granite Belt district;
Six hour rainfall accumulations in excess of 100mm are likely. This could lead to rapid river and stream rises. Widespread 24-hour rainfall accumulations in excess of 250mm are likely;
The sea level is likely to rise above the normal tide and the exposed beaches will experience damaging waves and flooding of some low lying areas close to the shoreline;
Dangerous surf conditions, with significant beach erosion, are expected along the coast from Burnett Heads to the New South Wales border, particularly during Sunday and Monday. This includes Hervey Bay and northern parts of Moreton Bay.



11.25pm: Update from Queensland Police:

: 11pm Update: BOM suggest the strong possibility of further #tornado activity affecting areas through the Wide Bay and Burnett district.



11.19pm: The latest for the Central Highlands and Coalfields and Capricornia districts details:
Damaging winds with peak gusts of around 110 km/hr are possible over the southern Capricornia district;
Six hour rainfall accumulations in excess of 100mm are possible, possibly leading to further rapid river and stream rises in the area;
24-hour rainfall totals to 9am Sunday are likely to exceed 250mm;
This area of heavy rainfall is expected to contract south from early Sunday;
Water levels on the high tide Sunday morning are likely to exceed the highest tide of the year about coastal and island locations near and south of Gladstone.



10:57pm: Here's an update on the situation in Gladstone:

Gladstone Mayor Gail Sellars there is 7.1 metres of water flowing over the Awoonga Dam and it's still rising.

"We're purely and utterly in uncharted territory. We have never had this before."



10.48pm: There are widespread power outages across south-east Queensland due to the weather. Energex says 6,000 customers are without power in Brisbane and on the Sunshine Coast.



10.20pm: Police and Community Safety Minister and local member Jack Dempsey says the damage in Bargara is "catastrophic". He said:

"One hundred and fifty houses have been damaged and two houses have severe damage to them."

10.01pm: Flooding emergency alert issued for Biloela. People in low-lying areas of town are advised to move to higher ground or the Civic Centre. 

9.59pm: Torrential rain is causing severe flooding around Lowmead, north of Bundaberg. Earlier tonight residents near Baffle Creek were told to move to higher ground. ABC Local Radio caller Fiona says almost 700 millimetres of rain has fallen in the past three days.

"I've had a lot of friends, their places have gone under water and the tavern's gone under again. Even our local Lowmead hotel has gone under water too. If we can get our boat in we can sort of get around a little bit and help people out, but it's a bit sca

9.50pm: Here's an update on the situation in Gladstone:

About 400 homes have been evacuated near the mouth of the Boyne River as floodwaters rise swiftly. Gladstone Mayor Gail Sellars says about 800 residents of Boyne Island, Tannum and Benarby are moving into an evacuation centre. She says water flowing over the Awoonga Dam has risen more than one metre in under four hours.

"It's just increasing. We're still getting heavy falls in the catchment area in the Boyne Valley and the dam is still rising. We're purely and utterly in uncharted territory. We have never had this before."

9.15pm: In NSW, extra emergency services are being stationed in towns along the coast as Queensland's extreme weather makes its way down the eastern seaboard.

The storm front is expected to dump up to 200 millilitres of water along the coast over the next 24 hours.

The SES has brought in swift water rescue specialists to areas at risk, and the Bureau of Meteorology has for NSW coastal valleys.

9.05pm: Here's a recap of the emergency situation in Queensland's Wide Bay region:
A series of tornadoes ripped through Bargara, Burnett Heads and Coonar.
At least six people were injured; two critically
Roofs were torn off homes and trees were uprooted
Thousands of properties are without power
Disaster situation declared north-east of Bundaberg
More tornado activity expected to affect areas through the Wide Bay and Burnett 


, north of Bundaberg



8.50pm: shows forecast rainfall every five hours over the Australia Day weekend.



8:10pm: This just in from the photo desk, courtesy of ABC Open producer Brad Marsellos:



7.30pm: Update from the Bureau of Meteorology via Queensland Police.

: BOM warning: still strong possibility of tornado activity affecting areas through the Wide Bay and Burnett district.



7.23pm: A storm tide emergency alert has been issued for the Moreton Bay coastal region, with a watch-and-act warning for a dangerous tide at 10am tomorrow.

Authorities say the tide will be half a metre higher than today.

People in the affected areas are being asked to take action and warn their neighbours.



7.13pm: Update on number of homes still without power in Rockhampton.

: 1,500 customers still without power in Rockhampton area. Power restored to 1,863 today. #bigwet

7.07pm: Burnett Heads was hit for the third time at 6.30pm in the vicinity of Hunter Street. Police say two houses have roof damage and powerlines are down.

7.02pm: Queensland Police say two people are believed to have been injured in the second Burnett Heads tornado.

7.00pm: Energex says 2,000 customers are without power in Queensland's south-east. The Sunshine Coast is the worst-affect area, particularly Maleny and North Maleny.

6.50pm: The weather bureau says there may be more tornadoes in the Wide Bay region tonight and tomorrow.

Forecaster Ken Kato says warm unstable east to north-easterly winds are feeding into ex-tropical cyclone Oswald and that is causing the tornadoes.

"When you get that and you get a lot of moisture and you get winds that increase strongly with height, that's the type of environment that's favourable for tornadoes."

6.45pm: A fifth tornado has been confirmed in the Wide Bay area.

6.40pm: An update from Gladstone:

No homes have been forcibly evacuated in the area but residents are on alert and ready to leave. Dozens of low-lying properties have already been flooded at Boyne Island and more than five metres of water is rushing over the spillway at Awoonga dam, south of Gladstone.

6.38pm: A flooding emergency alert has been issued for Winfield, north of Bundaberg. The Department of Community Safety says nearby Baffle Creek is expected to rise above the 1971 record at high tide. Properties in this area are likely to experience flooding.

6:30pm: Queensland Police says a second tornado appears to have hit Burnett Heads at 6.05pm.

6.11pm: The Bureau of Meteorology says radar imagery suggests there is strong possibility of a tornado about 30km west of Maryborough, moving south south-west at 50kph. .

6.00pm: The injury toll from the Bargara tornado now sits at six.

5.52pm: This just in from the photo desk, courtesy of ABC Open producer Brad Marsellos:



5.40pm: Ergon Energy says 10,000 customers are now without power in Bundaberg, the Bargara coast and parts of North Burnett. It says residents may be without power for up to 48 hours.

5.14pm: There are reports of tornado damage in the outer suburbs of Bundaberg.

4.58pm: Check out this amazing photo of a trampoline stuck on top of a power pole - the aftermath of the tornado that ripped through Bargara.



4.49pm: The two people injured when a tree fell on a car in Bargara are in a critical condition and have been transported to Bundaberg Hospital. It is likely the pair will be transferred to Brisbane.

4.38pm: Authorities have confirmed a third tornado has crossed the coast at Coonar, 20km south of Bundaberg. Police Minister Jack Dempsey has told ABC Radio that at least one house has been damaged.

4.35pm: Queensland Police say about 150 homes appear to have been damaged in Burnett Heads.

4.25pm: The Queensland Ambulance Service says at least five people were hurt in the Bargara tornado. As reported earlier, a tree crushed a car with a man and woman inside. They sustained serious injuries.

4.20pm: Check out this footage of tornado-hit Bargara.



3.58pm: Reports from Burnett Heads, 16km north of Bundaberg, say a tornado has caused extensive damage to the town. It is without electricity, with powerlines down everywhere.

3.50pm: Here's another photo of tornado damage in Bargara, courtesy of the ABC's Melinda Howell.



3.47pm: This tweet from Queensland Police Media a short time ago warned of a tornado threat to Burnett Heads.

Connfirmed tornado at BURNETT HEADS. Residents should REMAIN INDOORS.

3.45pm: Bargara resident Sandy Hortin says the tornado only lasted for 45 seconds but it smashed the town.

"I'm looking at the bowls club now - it would be about 50 yards away from me. There's no roof left - it's gone. Decimated. How people survived living in there, drinking in there? It's Australia day mate - you're going to hide inside and have a beer. You don't expect this, it's a rainy day."

3.32pm: If you missed it, here is Premier Campbell Newman's update on the weather situation in Queensland.



3.20pm: Ergon Energy says 5,600 homes are without power in the Bundaberg/Bargara area. It says crews are assessing damage to the electricity network and restoration will begin once it is safe.

3.18pm: There are reports that another tornado may be headed for Bargara area.

Residents urged to stay indoors in the ,  region. More Tornados occurring according to radio report live from Bargara

2.59pm: Bargara resident Judith McNamara says a tree speared through a car in her yard during the tornado.

"I was standing here at the kitchen and all of a sudden this big vacuum sort of came like that through here. I looked up and the next thing the tree went flying through the air, that tree and the car went up. "

2.50pm: This just in from the photo desk:



2.45pm: The ABC's Melinda Howells is in Bargara and says while it's been very windy, she didn't realise the extent of the damage until she drove around town.

"A lot of power lines down [are down] so it's difficult to get through. Roofs have been torn off homes and also some of the businesses. The local bowls club - quite a large building - has had its roof ripped off. Also at the local supermarket [there is] damage there, the shade sails on the car park as well."

2.30pm: ABC reporter Melinda Howells has sent in this photo of the tornado aftermath:



2.20pm: Police say two people - a male and a female - were injured when a car was crushed by a tree in the Bargara tornado.

Queensland Police Commissioner Ian Stewart says the tornado hit the Bargara area about 1:00pm.

"It's cut a swathe of damage - housing, shopping centres, the bowling club have all been damaged. We know at least one car was crushed by a tree and there have been injures and we're waiting and update on the injuries to the people."

2.15pm: Premier Campbell Newman and emergency authorities are giving a media conference on the Queensland weather situation.

"I think people need to psychologically, in those catchments - Maryborough and Bundaberg - prepare for flooding. People in south-east Queensland need to prepare for local creek flooding, inundation of low-lying areas because of the high tides as well."

1.47pm: Tornado update - Winds of more than 100kph are lashing the coastline with trees falling on homes, cars and powerlines. Businesses and homes in Bargara have been flooded.

Police are still trying to determine how many people have been injured in Bargara. Senior Sergeant Grant Marcus:

"We've got several reports of persons coming in ... the number and the extent we don't know yet."

1.40pm: This just in from the photo desk:



1.35pm: A tornado has reportedly hit the town of Bargara, located 13 kilometres east of Bundaberg.

A report from Police of a tornado in Bargara. Traffic should avoid the area & let emergency crews through.  

1.30pm: The ABC's Paul Robinson says some residents in the Rockhampton suburb of Depot Hill are ignoring warnings about floodwaters.

We've had people driving through, and riding their bikes through. People have been walking down their streets, which look more like rivers.

1.10pm: Telstra says work is underway to fix a damaged fibre optic cable which is affecting phone and internet service in the region north to Mackay and west to Mt Isa.

1.00pm: Residents in the inland towns of Goovigen and Jambin are advised to evacuate to their local schools as water spills from the Callide and Kroombit Dams.

12.50pm: Rockhampton Regional Council Mayor Margaret Strelow says the Fitzroy River has risen to 7.3 metres, and is expected to reach 7.5 metres during the weekend.

She says people in the city are used to getting a certain amount of warning about rising waters.

"The river has crept up suddenly ... We haven't had the three days' notice that we normally get. This is really off the charts - not in the river heights, just the amount of local rain."

Here is a map which shows the possible inundation for a 7.5m river rise in Rockhampton.



12.36pm: Rockhampton airport is now open, with Qantas and Virgin both able to service the city.

12.05pm: The Bundaberg District Disaster Group says there is a serious flood threat with the region yet to experience its biggest rainfall totals.

More then 400 millimetres of rain is expected in next 24 hours and wind gusts of up to 100 kilometres an hour are expected along the coast.



12.02pm: The tides have come down only slightly at Gladstone's Tannum Sands beach.

Dozens of low-lying properties have been flooded but there does not appear to be any significant damage.

Strong gusts have brought down many trees though and there are branches scattered over most of the roads.

11.50am: Crews working to restore power across Queensland are trying to deal with challenges like damaged roads.

Ergon Energy tweeted this photo of damage to a road in Parkhurst, near Rockhampton.



11.36am: The weather bureau's Michael Knepp says the Gladstone region is set to receive another 12 hours of heavy rain:

"Still getting intense rainfall rates especially just south-west of Gladstone... a place called Boolaroo has had 485 millimetres to 9.00am.

"So not quite as high as we had yesterday south-west of Rockhampton but still nearing towards 500 millimetres in that area."

11.02am: A bit of good news from central Queensland.

One of two men from a fishing boat reported missing south of Rockhampton has been found safe and well.

Yesterday the skipper of an 11-metre boat reported he was taking water off Port Alma.

A friend of one of the men has told the ABC rescue crews have found a 60-year-old man on Egg Island.

The search is continuing for a second man, aged 64.

11.01am: An emergency alert has been issued for Goovigen, near Biloela in central Queensland.

An unprecedented outflow for the Callide and Kroombit Dams is expected.

11.00am: Queensland Police have warned people not to drive unless necessary, but they have a handy hint for those who do need to get behind the wheel:

#PROTIP: If you do have to be out on the roads, PUT YOUR LIGHTS ON. Invisible is cool in Harry Potter, not on the road.

10.55am: Here is thefrom Rockhampton to the New South Wales Border.

Flood warnings remains current for the Boyne, Calliope, Baffle and Kolan River catchments, the Upper Burnett, the Connors, Isaac, Don, Lower Dawson and Fitzroy Rivers within the Fitzroy catchment.

10.50am: Premier Campbell Newman says a disaster situation has been declared south of Gladstone as almost five metres of water flows over the spillway at Awoonga Dam.

The State Government will hold a disaster management meeting soon.

About half a metre of rain has fallen at Boolaroo south of Gladstone in the last 24 hours.

The weather bureau says it will continue for another 12 hours before slowly moving south and crossing into New South Wales on Monday.

10.38am: A for the Upper Burnett River after heavy rainfalls.

10.35am: A day-long search yesterday failed to find any trace of a fishing boat with two men on board, which was missing off Port Alma near Rockhampton.

The search operation is continuing today.

joining the search for missing vessel south east of Rockhampton. Two people unaccounted for

10.15am: Rockhampton is beginning to clean-up as rain eases. ABC Open's Lisa Clarke took this photo of debris covering a bridge at Frenchville:



10.06am: Reporter James Kelly has updated ABC News 24 on the weather situation in south-east Queensland:

"Basically, the Weather Bureau is saying that there's going to be heavy rain this afternoon in the Brisbane area, the Gold Coast, later in the day.

"People in the south-east of the state are certainly preparing for a big dumping of rain in the next couple of days.

"Late yesterday afternoon, the local councils here issued warnings to people to get ready, to start sandbagging their properties if they live in low-lying areas.

"They're not saying that the Brisbane River is going to do what it did two years ago and burst its banks. It's more that low-lying creeks, rivers and streams [may flood]."



10.04am: Gladstone Mayor Gail Sellers has spoken to ABC News 24 about the situation in her town:



10.02am: The floodwaters in Rockhampton have damaged one of Telstra's key fibre optic cables, cutting phone services to parts of central Queensland.

A Telstra spokeswoman says part of the cable may have been washed way.

Crews on board helicopters are inspecting the damage.

And Ergon Energy says thousands of properties across central Queensland remain without power.

It says helicopters will be used to take crews to inaccessible areas.

10.00am: State Community Safety Minister Jack Dempsey says emergency crews have been very busy across central Queensland.

"The last 48 hours we've had over 1,000 SES activities.

"Last night alone we had we had another six swift water rescues that were activated and thankfully they were all very successful outcomes."

9.49am: Some good news out of Gladstone, where an emergency flood alert has been in place since this morning.

The high tide has hit, and homes in low-lying areas of Boyne Island and Tannum Sands appear to have escaped major flooding.

Even so, local disaster co-ordinator Mark Holmes says the threat is far from over, with many low-lying public areas underwater and more wet weather on the way:

"Unfortunately for us we've still got another day of rainfall ahead of us.

"And we're still expecting an issue on high tide tomorrow morning and even this evening depending on the rate of increase in the dam and also the rate of increase in the rain."

9.36am: This picture shows the storm surge overview of the Boyne Island and Tannum Sands region near Gladstone.

The green areas show the Q100 flood area, while purple identifies a development line which allows an additional metre.

Click on the photo to see the map in full.



9.30am: West of Brisbane, SEQWater has increased its releases from Wivenhoe Dam.

It is up from 300 cubic metres a second to 400.

The precautionary measure will see College's Crossing closed.

9.17am: This image shows the Bureau of Meteorology's total forecast rainfall for the next eight days.

Looks like Queensland and New South Wales residents should strap themselves in for a wet week.



9.10am: A 4.2-metre high tide has just hit Gladstone, putting hundreds of homes at risk of flooding.

Boyne Island resident Sam McKee says flooding is nothing new in the region, but this may be more serious:

"Every summer we get one-off events overnight where we get the typical tropical storm but they normally sort of create flash flooding.

"This one appears to be possibly a larger event over a wider area."

8.55am: Gladstone Mayor Gail Sellers says the region is in unchartered territory with rain still bucketing down:

"Boyne Island has 400 homes that are on alert for possible evacuation. We're not moving them out at this time.

"We're in unchartered territory.

"Last night we had between 250 and 300 millimetres in the catchment area in the Boyne Valley so we're at the highest levels ever crossing the Awoonga Dam."

8.49am: Here's a NASA satellite image showing what the remnants of Oswald looked like over Queensland earlier:



8.37am: Reporter William Rollo, who is in Gladstone, told AM the situation is changing quickly.

"In the city itself, the power is flicking on and off. I'm in the car at the moment and out the window I can see the traffic lights are currently off.

"Police and SES are apparently having a hard time getting through to landlines, so right now they're door-knocking homes around the Boyne Island and Tannum Sands area to alert everyone of the situation before the high tide."

8.25am: South of Gladstone, more than 4.8 metres of water is gushing over the spillway at Awoonga Dam and into the Boyne River, which flows to the beach suburbs of Tannum Sands and Boyne Island.

In about an hour, there will also be a 4.2-metre high tide.

Local disaster co-ordinator Mark Holmes says it is an unprecedented situation that could affect thousands of homes.

"It won't affect the dam but it'll certainly affect the floodwaters coming over the dam and through the main township of Boyne Island, Tannum Sands, where the mouth of the Boyne river is."

People in low-lying areas have been told to evacuate, and the Boyne Tannum Community Centre is open for those needing refuge.

8.21am: Here's the Bureau of Meteorology's rainfall projection map for today.

Rain is expected to pick up in Brisbane later today.



7.38am: Here's an update on one of the dam releases happening in Brisbane:

SEQWater expected to cease releases from Nth Pine Dam at 8.15am. Youngs Crossing Rd expected to reopen to traffic around 9am.

7.34am: The wild weather is keeping emergency services across the state busy:

Wow! More than 650 requests for assistance in the 24hrs to 5am today. If you require storm/flood assistance, call 132 500. #bigwet #SES

7.25am: More than 400 millimetres of rain fell in Rockhampton over the past two days, but the heaviest rain has now moved away from the city.

But although the rain has eased, emergency crews face a massive clean-up.

The weather caused widespread damage and left pot holes on roads. In one street in suburban Frenchville, large slabs of bitumen peeled away.

Crews will also have to clean away trees and branches brought down by strong winds.



7.10am: Reporter Andree Withey has told ABC News 24 that although the threat to the south-east has been delayed, rain is still bucketing down in central Queensland:

"South of Gladstone, there's 4.81 metres going over the top of the Awoonga dam.

"There's a watch-and-act message for residents there that may might have to move.

"They're saying there's no risk of the dam collapsing but with a high tide coming up in a bit over an hour, it could have flooding implications there."

7.01am: Queensland Rail says train lines remain cut between Cairns and Rockhampton.

Tilt Train, Sunlander and Spirit of the Outback services have all been cancelled.

7.00am: A swift water rescue has saved a person from the roof of a car at Smoky Creek, west of Gladstone.

The person got stuck on the roof after being caught in floodwaters last night.

6.46am: Callers to are painting a picture of how the floods are affecting livestock in the region.

Caller on ABC Wide Bay telling about cows being washed downstream into her paddock. :( #bigwet

6.10am: Communities in the Moreton Bay region are continuing to prepare for a possible tidal surge that could flood homes.

You can .

The council has also released

Beachmere and surrounds:



Toorbul, Donnybrook and Bribie Island:



Redcliffe and surrounds:



6.05am: Reporter Marlina Whop has updated ABC News 24 on the situation in Gladstone, where a has been issued:

"Police and the SES are worried the Boyne River will break its banks today so they have been doorknocking homes in the area. They are asking residents to prepare their homes for possible inundation.

"If they're in a low-lying area, residents there should go to their friend's house or maybe a family's house that is on higher ground. The Gladstone regional council is also in the process of setting up some kind of shelter where residents who want to leave their homes they can go to that shelter."

Whop also says communication issues are also causing problems:

"A lot of people haven't been able to use their mobile phones at all and internet connections have also been affected.

"That's affected how the airport has also been able to process passengers, if at all. A couple of flights were able to leave yesterday but then the airport was forced to close.

"I know in Gladstone that a lot of land lines are also down so police there are advising people to listen to their local radio station if they need updates and they can't access any updates on the internet or if they're without power as well."



6.01am: The Bureau of Meteorology has issued a severe weather warning for parts of New South Wales, which are expected to feel the brunt of the storm later this weekend.

The warning, for very heavy rain in the Northern Rivers, Mid North Coast and Northern Tablelands, .

5.54am: Forecasters say the low-pressure system associated with Oswald remained almost stationary north-east of Emerald in central Queensland overnight.

It has dumped more than 370 millimetres of rain at Boolaroo, south-west of Gladstone, since 9.00am yesterday.

Much of the Gladstone region has had between 200 and 250 millimetres of rain.

5.45am: Queensland Police have some wise words for all the boat owners in the south-east:

A heads up for boaties in SEQ if you haven't already now is the time to check those moorings or anchors! #bigwet

It's good advice considering the damage caused to many boats further north, including this one, which was ripped from its moorings at Airlie Beach:



5.30am: A , in central Queensland.

A record amount of water is spilling over the top of Awoonga Dam.

People are asked to take the necessary action to prepare their properties and if necessary evacuate to higher ground.

5.20am: The Bureau of Meteorology has issued a severe weather warning for people in the Wide Bay and Burnett, south-east coast and parts of the Darling Downs and Granite Belt forecast districts.

It warns of winds up to 100kmph, as well as flash flooding and high tides in some regions.

.

5.10am: A local disaster coordination centre was activated on the Sunshine Coast this morning.

Mayor Mark Jamieson says the region is bracing for strong winds, heavy rain and king tides.

Mr Jamieson says people should only travel around the region if they have to.

"I don't want to alarm people, but we certainly want to be prepared," he said.

"We've been advised that there is some very heavy rain coming, and indeed some intense cells within that heavy and constant rain.

"So people need to just think about their own safety and don't go out in the weather unless it's absolutely necessary."

Further south on the Gold Coast, Mayor Tom Tate has issued a similar call for safety:

"Tourist-wise it will be one of the biggest weekends and that's why I really want the message to get out there and share it with the tourists.

"If you're in the hospitality industry put some signs in the lift, as well, beware of the beach if it's closed don't even go in there.

"If you're driving out to the hinterland - turn around if it's flooded. Forget it."



5.05am: The Moreton Bay Regional Council is preparing for the possibility of major flooding later this morning.

Mayor Allan Sutherland says torrential rain coupled with strong winds are around 9:00am.

He says a predicted surge of 0.7 metre will cause minor and major inundation of homes along the coast from Bribie Island south to Beechmere:

"If that happens it will be significantly more than the highest tide at the beginning of the year, potentially [affecting] up to 1,600 homes.

"[The areas on alert are] Beachmere, Bellara Bongaree, Dohles Rocks, Donnybrook, Deception Bay, Goodwin beach, parts of Newport, Scarborough, Toorbul, sandstone point, hays inlet, most part of Bribie Island."

The council has cancelled all three of its Australia Day events - at Bribie Island, Redcliffe and Strathpine - because of the expected severe weather.



5.00am: The focus of the flooding has shifted from Rockhampton in central Queensland to areas further south.

The weather bureau's Rob Webb says the remnants of ex-cyclone Oswald will hit the region over the coming days:

"This low-pressure system now looks set to continue to drift southwards and cause a number of types of severe weather as it continues to drift south."

That has forced Queensland Water Minister Mark McArdle to order releases from Brisbane's dams to prevent flooding:

"We are giving the biggest buffer we possibly can."

SEQ Water will release 41,000 megalitres from Wivenhoe Dam and 8,000 megalitres from North Pine Dam.

Premier Campbell Newman says no-one wants to see the 2011 floods repeated:

"You can't be too careful, particularly given what happened only two years ago."

Residents of Callide Creek, west of Gladstone, have been advised to move to higher ground at the Jambin Hall due to an urgent flood release from the Callide Dam.

4.50am: Central and north Queensland is still reeling after being lashed by heavy rains and flooding.

Gladstone remains isolated by floodwaters with the Bruce Highway cut at Miriam Vale to the south, while water has blocked the northbound route to Rockhampton.

To the west, the Dawson Highway is shut at Catfish Creek.

There were dozens of rescues from floodwaters in and around Rockhampton on Friday.

One emergency worker risked his life to save a 14-year-old boy from a fast-flowing waterway.

Another nine people were helped to safety from the Wycarbah area.

A day-long search on Friday failed to find any trace of a fishing boat with two men on board, which was missing off Port Alma.

The operation will continue today.


- ABC

© ABC 2013

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