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Live: Flood disaster unfolds as weather wreaks havoc

Friday April 26, 2013 - 15:03 EST

Queensland's Emergency Service Minister says a catastrophic event is unfolding in Bundaberg as the city becomes an island.

Authorities there will work through the night to evacuate residents from areas left flooded by ex-Tropical Cyclone Oswald.

Elsewhere, waters are no longer rising in Gympie and the Lockyer Valley, but thousands of residents in Ipswich and Brisbane are preparing for flood peaks.

The extreme weather has claimed four lives, and as the system moves south it has stranded thousands in northern NSW is expected to cause severe weather as far south as Sydney.



Here are the key details:


Lockyer Valley residents told to evacuate to escape floodwaters
Record flood levels affect 2,000 people in Bundaberg, with mandatory evacuations in the city's north.
Ipswich waiting anxiously to see if the Bremer River peaks at the predicted 15 metres.
Three people killed in floodwaters; numerous swift water rescues.
Three-year-old boy killed by falling tree at Gordon Park in Brisbane.
The Mary River at Gympie peaks at just under 21m.
Floodwaters could inundate up to 3,600 homes and 1,250 businesses in Brisbane.
More than 250,000 homes and businesses in SE Queensland without power.
available from the Brisbane City Council website.
is available on the council's website.
The SES says more than 7,000 people are cut off by floodwaters on the NSW north coast.









11:10pm:

Here is the latest update on predicted flood peaks for south-east Queensland from the Bureau of Meteorology:

Ipswich: Major flood peak near 15.0 metres during Monday night.

Moggill: Peaking below the minor flood level (10.0m) at about 9.5 metres overnight Monday.

Jindalee: Peaking near the minor flood level (6.0 metres) early Tuesday morning, about 7.0 metres below the January 2011 flood.

Brisbane: Multiple minor flood peaks above 2.0 metres will coincide with the peak of high tides between Monday and, at least until, Thursday, with the most significant of 2.6 metres about 11am Tuesday.



10:57pm:

The swollen Bremer river at Ipswich is continuing to rise slowly tonight, despite expectations of a flood peak at 6pm on Monday. The council predicts the river will peak before midnight.

Ipswich Mayor Paul Pisasale says he is hopeful the river will peak about one metre lower than expected, saving hundreds more properties from water damage.

"Well the difference between the 14 metres and the 15 metres, why I'm so excited about 14 metres, we'll have a lot of people where it's just been lapping, compared to 15 metres which is another metre - which will go inside their homes.

But I'm hoping if we stabilise the peak tonight which I'll know in the next hour or so then we could be into the difference between a very sad city and a very happy city."



10:50pm:

The ABC's David Spicer gives Lateline an update on the situation in NSW, as storms and floodwater travel through the state's north, causing flooding in several cities:





10:45pm:

Brian Cox, the Director of Disaster Management Services at Emergency Management Queensland, sums up the situation with floods in Ipswich, Bundaberg, Gympie, Lockyer Valley and Brisbane.





10:40pm: Energex says it aims to restore power to at least 100,000 homes and businesses in south-east Queensland by 6pm on Tuesday. Their latest figures show about 232,000 homes are still without power.



10:35pm: Bundaberg Mayor Mal Forman explains the latest flooding situation to Lateline:





10:18pm: Police confirm a three-year-old boy has died after a tree fell on him and his mother earlier today at Gordon Park, Brisbane.

The boy and his 34-year-old mother were watching the floodwater from the Kedron Brook bikeway when the tree fell this morning. They were both taken to hospital in a critical condition, but the three-year-old died of his injuries tonight.



10:15pm:

Lateline gives an overview of some of the flooding events in Queensland and New South Wales today:





10:00pm:

Arveen Singh has sent us in this picture of a tree that has collapsed onto a Forest Lake house in Brisbane's south this morning. Please take care. Trees can fall due to soggy ground even after the rain has passed.





9:48pm:

Bundaberg Mayor Mal Forman tells Lateline the river peak at Bundaberg could reach 9.5 metres when catchment water flows down on Tuesday evening.

This would be the highest flood on record, he says.

He says approximately 3,000 people in Bundaberg have evacuated and about 100 of those needed to be rescued.

"We have ongoing rescue and evacuations happening tonight. We have a number of choppers up in the air still. There's approximately five still operating tonight. It's ongoing."



9:15pm:

Telstra says it has fixed a network problem that stopped people for being able to call Triple-0 in parts of Queensland.



9:10pm:

Residents in Laidley in the Lockyer Valley are being advised to boil their drinking water to make it safe to drink.

Queensland Urban Utilities says bottled water is available at the Laidley State High School.

The town's centre has been swamped by floodwaters and some residents have been forced to evacuate.



9:05pm:

Here is a collection of phone conversations with mayors from News South Wales and Queensland towns from today:





8:54pm:

Seqwater have given an from the Wivenhoe Dam in the Brisbane region:

Controlled gate releases have ceased temporarily to allow flood peaks emanating from Lockyer Creek and the Bremer River to pass into the Brisbane River.

Once the peaks have passed, releases from Wivenhoe Dam will re-commence to allow the flood waters stored in the dams to be drained. 

Twin Bridges, Savages Crossing, Colleges Crossing, Burtons Bridge and Kholo Bridge are currently closed. These crossings are expected to remain closed for several days. Brisbane City Council and Ipswich City Council have been notified.

Mt Crosby Weir Bridge and Fernvale Bridge may be closed overnight due to uncontrolled flows from the Lockyer and from catchments below the dam. Seqwater is liaising with councils regarding this.



8:45pm:

The wild weather is heading south and is expected to hit the Hunter Valley, Sydney and the Illawarra tonight.

SES Deputy Commissioner Steven Pearce says it will hit Sydney city around dawn.

"Gale force winds, anywhere up to 100 kilometres an hour for metro Sydney. Rainfall, 100 millimetres, up to 200 millimetres, now that will cause flash flooding.

It's going to be a very challenging 12 to 24-hour period."



8:30pm:

Energex says the number of homes in south-east Queensland without power has dropped from 250,000 to 232,000. There are almost 1,700 fallen powerlines.



8:25pm:

ABC's David Spicer has given an update to News 24 on the situation in Northern NSW.

He says Port Macquarie has been experiencing damaging winds of up to 100km/h down the main street and parts of the city.

The Wilson River at Lismore is expected to peak at 9.7 metres at midnight, and 500 residents are on standby to evacuate.

In Grafton, 7,000 people are isolated and 1,000 are on standby to evacuate.

Mr Spicer says an elderly man in Grafton had a close shave with death. The man was onboard a boat in danger of sinking on the swollen Clarence river, but he managed to reach a pontoon and watched as his boat was tossed about by the rough waters.

SES members then threw him a rope a dragged him to the river bank.



8:05pm:

Energex has given an update on the number of power outages due to the floods. They say about 250,000 people were without power as of 6pm (AEST).

Here is the list of power outages by council region:

Brisbane - 70,116

Gold Coast - 36,164

Gympie - 4,137

Ipswich - 3,333

Logan - 22,569

Redland - 9,860

Moreton Bay - 21,205

Scenic Rim - 6,433

Sunshine Coast - 25,582

Somerset - 354

Lockyer Valley - 438



7:59pm:

Bruce Grady from Emergency Management Queensland says a massive air rescue operation in Bundaberg wrapped up about an hour ago.

"About 1,000 people were airlifted in North Bundaberg to safety.

"I understand that the last rescue was being undertaken there, but those choppers will continue to fly over just to make sure that nobody's been missed."



7:42pm:

Ian Hatton has sent us this photo of residents in North Bundaberg evacuating by boat earlier today:





Emergency Services Minister Jack Dempsey says more than 200 personnel are trying to rescue those whose lives could be in danger.

"What we've got to be reminded is there are still people at risk and that they don't distract emergency services from doing their job."

The local council says it is too early to say how many homes will be flooded but says whole suburbs could go under water.



7:12pm:

Premier Campbell Newman spoke to 7.30 host Chris Uhlmann a short time ago:





7:08pm:

Ipswich mayor Paul Pisasale says he is still waiting to learn if the Bremer River has peaked.

The river was predicted to peak at 15 metres at 6pm - four metres below the devastating level of 2011.

Just after 7pm, the river had only risen to 13.8 metres.

Cr Pisasale says an extra metre in floodwater is the difference between a few or hundreds of houses inundated.

"I'm hoping it will stop at 14. If it stops at 14 we're going to be a very happy city.

"That means the pressures on our city and some of the houses won't be there.

"The next couple of hours as it peaks, it's going to be something we're all waiting for."

Jess Carey from the weather bureau says it is still forecasting a peak of around 15 metres overnight.

The bureau also says Logan, south of Brisbane, is also a concern.

The Logan River is currently at 16.31 metres and is expected to go even higher tonight.



6:45pm:

ABC reporter Matt Wordsworth has filed this report on the Queensland floods for 7.30:







6:15pm:

Federal Treasurer and Queensland native Wayne Swan says he has been monitoring the state's flood crisis.

He says he will deal with the cost of the disaster once everyone is safe.

"We have processes which we'll put in place which will deal with the recovery phase.

"It is far too early to be talking about putting dollars and numbers down on a piece of paper.

"What we're really concerned with at the moment is making sure that lives are saved and that property is saved."



6:10pm:

A disaster declaration for Brisbane was made earlier this afternoon.

The areas included in this declaration are Metropolitan North and Metropolitan South Regions and affects Brisbane City and Redlands Council areas.

Residents who need to evacuate from their properties are encouraged to make their own arrangements, including staying with relatives and friends.

An evacuation centre has been established at the Sleeman Sports Centre at Chandler.

If possible people have been asked to bring their own bedding, clothing, medications and non-perishable food.

More information



5:54pm:

Carl O'Loughlin sent us this photo taken today of floodwaters washing away road on the southbound approach to Essendean Bridge, north of Bundaberg.





5:46pm:

Mayor Tom Tate says compared with other areas, the Gold Coast has dodged a bullet.

"There have been no reports of fatalities and we want to keep it that way," he said.

He says all the major rivers are falling and there is no prospect of a major flood.

Roads are cut across the Coast and an estimated 35,000 consumers are without electricity.



5:39pm:

ABC reporter Lucy Carter has tweeted:

Situation getting worse in Grafton. Flood peak now of 7.9m, forced evacuations around low-lying areas north and south of the city.



5:30pm:

Queensland's State Library has offered some advice for repairing or salvaging water-damaged photographs.

Read that advice





5:27pm:

Bundaberg resident Scotty Simmons, who has been helping with evacuations around North Bundaberg, spoke to ABC News 24 a little earlier:





5:14pm:

The SES is advising people in some areas of northern New South Wales to evacuate as ex-Tropical Cyclone Oswald brings more rain overnight.

There's a close watch on rivers between the Tweed and Manning, with increased flooding predicted across the region this evening.

Evacuation centres have been sent up across the north coast with the Bureau of Meteorology warning it is not able to predict peak heights for some rivers because of the continuing rain.

Around 20,000 properties are without power.

The SES is doorknocking around 500 people in Lismore with fears the Orara and Wilsons rivers could come within half a metre of the levy's limit around midnight.

Localised flash flooding has affected roads on the Far North Coast, Mid North Coast and New England regions.

The bureau is warning ex-tropical Cyclone Oswald will pass through the Hunter and Sydney overnight and reach the Illawarra around dawn.

As much as 100mm of rain is forecast to fall across parts of Sydney overnight.

Read the bureau's severe weather warning





4:59pm:

The Queensland Police Media Unit has tweeted:

A new evacuation point for Bundaberg residents has been established at Agro-Trend, near Bundaberg airport #bigwet



4:55pm:

The floodwaters have steadied in Gympie but the State Emergency Service says 143 businesses and at least 25 homes have been flooded.

Many businesses in the city centre were swamped overnight.

Mayor Ron Dyne says the waters rose faster than in previous floods.

"It's such a vicious increase in height and we've been trying to keep ahead of it ever since."

The Mary River is thought to have peaked just below 21 metres this afternoon.





4:51pm:

The mayor of Lockyer Valley Regional Council, Steve Jones, has told ABC News 24 the latest floods to hit the region have been very trying for local residents.

There has been flooding in the towns of Laidley, Gatton and Grantham.





4:39pm:

ABC reporter Kathy McLeish has given an update on the situation in Ipswich, where the Bremer River is expected to peak at 6pm.

"People have been sandbagging. As you drive through the main part of town, a lot of businesses are sandbagged, plastic up against their windows.

"It's not expected they will flood. As you can understand people are on high alert and they're taking every precaution.

"The mud army is ready and willing to go. A lot of people are helping friends and neighbours move furniture up out of the way.

"Evacuation centres, those kinds of things are only recently still being geared up."

Ipswich City Council has asked that anyone attending one of the evacuation centres to ensure they bring enough bedding and towels for all family members.



4:32pm:

The ABC's Chris O'Brien is reporting that all 131 patients at Bundaberg Hospital could be evacuated.

He says Emergency Management Queensland is planning for that but no final decision has been made.



4:30pm:

Lismore mayor Jenny Dowell has told ABC News 24 that the region has seen flooding this bad but the storm damage has made conditions much worse.





4:26pm:

Coffs Harbour mayor Denise Knight has told ABC News 24 that the rain there has eased considerably this afternoon.

"It was pelting down this morning and overnight. We were predicting between 100mm and 150mm today. I think we've probably reached that.

"We haven't had to evacuate. We're prepared.

"Fortunately, we put in some retention basins after the 2009 flood - they're helping us out a lot. All the creeks were cleared."



4:21pm:

Electricity provider Energex says there are around 222,000 homes and businesses without power in south-east Queensland, with almost 2,000 fallen powerlines.

It says many areas will not be restored until tomorrow.



4:16pm:

Deputy Prime Minister Wayne Swan has tweeted:

40 QLD Local Government Areas now eligible for assistance under the joint Federal/State NDRRA arrangements - more here 



4:11pm:

Queensland's Department of Education, Training and Employment has released a list of schools that will be closed tomorrow.

The department says parents and staff should monitor morning radio reports about the status of schools in any flood-affected areas.

Concerned parents can also contact their local principal or education office for updated information about access to their children's school and classroom arrangements.

The decision to open or close individual schools will include many factors such as current and predicted weather conditions, river and flood levels as well as road and access conditions.

The list of schools is available



3:41pm:

Here is video of Campbell Newman's press conference earlier this afternoon:







3:29pm:

Pilot John McDermott, who is helping airlift flood-affected people in Bundaberg, took this photo:







3:14pm:

Our ABC colleagues in Wide Bay have tweeted:

Helicopters are flying over #Bundaberg looking for anyone remaining on rooftops. Current evacuation centres are Oakwood and Burrum schools.



3:09pm:

Police officers get a surprise as a bus and car emerge from foam washing across an esplanade on Queensland's Sunshine Coast.





2:58pm:

Brisbane City Council has released maps showing which streets and properties are expected to flood this week. Use interactive versions of the maps below to get a detailed view.



2:45pm:

Below is a link to the latest flood warning from the weather bureau for the Burnett River at Bundaberg.





2:29pm:

The NSW State Emergency Service has received more than a thousand calls for help as floodwaters continue to rise along the east coast.

Heavy rain and strong winds have damaged homes and businesses from the Queensland border to the Hunter region.

More than 2,000 people are now isolated and 19 have been rescued, including a family of four from the roof of a car in Grafton.

SES Deputy Commissioner Steve Pearce says the damage is extensive.

"The Tweed Hospital lost part of its roof with the child intensive care unit, where the patients had to be relocated.

"These winds are in the destructive category, with gusts of up to 140 kilometres per hour, which is extremely strong winds."

Members of the public can call a public information and inquiry centre on 1800 227 228 for information on the flood and storm operation across NSW.

ABC reporter Lucy Carter filed this report earlier this afternoon:





2:15pm:

There are reports that the evacuation centre in Bundaberg is being evacuated.

Around 2,000 properties have been affected by flood as floodwaters pass 9 metres.

Local resident Col Reynolds says he has been through several local floods and says he has not seen anything like it.

"There's pockets of North Bundaberg, pockets of east and around the CBD area which are traditionally flood areas, but it is now going into uncharted waters.

"That's the scary part, so people who have been safe in all those previous floods, and there's generations of families that have been safe, are now having to move."



2:04pm:

Premier Campbell Newman holds a press conference on the latest developments on the Queensland flood crisis.

Mr Newman says there is great concern for the people of North Bundaberg, where mandatory evacuations are in effect as floodwaters are estimated to be moving around 40 knots.

"We are also very concerned that the velocity of the water and the rise in water levels means that literally houses, particularly in North Bundaberg and maybe other locations, could be actually swept away.

"This is a very real prospect. In the 1893 floods in Brisbane, houses were literally lifted off their stumps and swept down the Brisbane River and that is a real prospect this afternoon, or tonight in North Bundaberg."

"Now because the water has gone to unprecedented levels, we now have a significant group or significant number of people who are in danger of being trapped in areas in North Bundaberg.

"Essentially they are about to be, if not already, isolated on at least one island."



There are concerns that the city's hospital will flood and 60 patients have been moved from the ground level.

Mr Newman says 14 aircraft are available to aid in the emergency and he is trying to get more.

"There are 12 civilian aircraft and two Black Hawks. Those aircraft will be flying from picking people up at North Bundaberg and these locations and taking people to the nearest place of safety."







2:00pm:

Here is the latest for Sydney, with heavy rain and damaging winds of 100kph expected later tonight.



1:57pm:

St John Ambulance has provided this advice for people looking to join in the clean-up efforts.

Treat everything touched by floodwater as contaminated, wash hands freqtly & wear protective gear 2 stop potential spread of illness





1:52pm:

The Lockyer Valley Regional Council says reports are coming in that floodwaters look to have peaked in and around Glenore Grove.

It says without further rain, water is not expected to get any higher.

The council says Laidley Creek is draining very slowly in that area, however, and the Warrego Highway at the crossroads is expected to remain closed for many more hours.



1:48pm:

South Bank Corporation chief executive Jeff Weigh has issued the following statement regarding the recent severe weather and its effect on the South Bank precinct in Brisbane.

"As of 12 midday, January 28, Clem Jones Promenade has been closed due to severe weather.

"The Parklands remain open but it's advised that visitors use caution if coming to the precinct."



1:41pm:

Low-lying areas of Brisbane are already flooded ahead of tomorrow's expected peak.

One of the worst areas is around Roy Street in Milton.





1:39pm:

The Fraser Coast Disaster Coordination Centre has provided a in the Hervey Bay and Maryborough areas.

The flood is expected to peak at 11 metres around 6pm. Levels are currently about 10 metres.



1:36pm:

The weather bureau says conditions will ease tomorrow as the low pressure system moves out to the Tasman Sea.

Ex-Tropical Cyclone Oswald is moving down the east coast slower than expected.

Forecaster Julie Evans says rain will continue on the NSW mid-north coast for several hours, and the system could bring destructive winds to coastal areas of Sydney and the Illawarra overnight.

But she says there is relief in sight.

"As this low tracks southwards, the rainfall is clearing from the north.

"So for example, the low is expected to be near Sydney overnight tonight, a little bit later than we expected.

"So the peak of rainfall in Sydney may be overnight, but once it all clears out on Tuesday, there's no significant rainfall expected."



1:26pm:

North Burnett mayor Don Waugh says the flood damage in the region is devastating.

He says homes have been inundated and there is widespread citrus crop damage at Gayndah.

Councillor Waugh says a large dairy farm at Mundubbera has been wiped out.

"That dairy property has a milking operation, milking 400 head of cattle.

"That has been totally inundated, the cattle washed away and there's nothing left."



1:21pm:

The flooding in the Lockyer Valley at Laidley has been estimated to be about a metre higher than in 2011.

ABC reporter tweeted this picture of the town







1:08pm:

Queensland Police Commissioner Ian Stewart has repeated the message for residents in North Bundaberg to leave now.

People of Nth Bundaberg must take responsibility and evacuate now to Oakwood State School. Do not wait. Move now. Yr life depends on it!



1:06pm:

The Southern Downs Regional Council is preparing for homes in Warwick to be inundated after revising its predicted flood peak.

Authorities are now expecting this afternoon's peak to split the town and inundate more than 100 homes.

The council is opening a second evacuation centre at the Slade Campus in Warwick in addition to the Warwick Indoor Recreation Centre.



1:04pm:

Hundreds of Brisbane residents have begun moving their possessions to higher ground ahead of tomorrow's peak of the Brisbane River.

Catherine Esler, who lives in Milton in the city's inner west, lost almost everything when the first floor of her home went under water two years ago.

She has been told the floodwaters will inundate the ground floor of her house this time around.





12:57pm:

Dozens of businesses have gone underwater in Gympie.

Businesses owner Robert Nimo says he is waiting for the Mary River to peak.

"We think at least probably waist deep, so maybe on the window sill, something like that will be maybe at the 21 metres thereabouts," he said.

"We've got about a foot to go before it reaches the floor that we're standing on, so yeah we'll be out of business for maybe at least a week by the time we clean up."



12:33pm: This was the scene at South Bank a short time ago as the Brisbane River began to rise.





12:25pm: Queensland Police have just issued an update on flooding at Toowoomba.

Acting Superintendent Joe White says flooding in the Plainland and Laidley areas will prevent motorists travelling between Brisbane and Toowoomba today.

He says Laidley residents should remain at home and keep themselves safe.

Keep up to date on the .



12:21pm: URGENT

Residents of North Bundaberg are being urged to evacuate now as the Burnett River breaks its banks.

The Queensland SES says Maryborough residents who think they will be affected by floods need to evacuate immediately ahead of an expected 11m flood peak.

The local council has established an evacuation centre. Call the Local Disaster Management Coordination Centre on 4190 5794.









12:17pm: These locals made it to a bridge in Bundaberg this morning and described desperate scenes as people took refuge in house roofs.

"Horrible, there's people on rooves yelling out when we were in the boat to come and save them... people lined up for the SES to come and save them... people with children sitting on window sills just yelling out."



Queensland Police media says anyone with spare lifejackets in the Bundaberg area should bring them down to the evacuation centre at North Bundaberg State School.





12:03pm: Two ADF Black Hawk helicopters are being sent from the Oakey Army Aviation Centre to support emergency services in the Lockyer Valley, .



12:00pm: Paul Pisasale and Campbell Newman speak about the flood threat in Ipswich





11:53am: Gale-force winds are proving to be the biggest problem on the Gold Coast, with doors and windows being ripped off high-rise buildings.

The Nerang River has broken its banks at Budds Beach and water is now lapping at the entrance of some high-rises.

Police in Surfers Paradise have blocked access to roads where large pieces of debris are flying around in the wind.



11:47am: Helicopters are working to rescue people trapped in the Lockyer Valley, west of Brisbane, as floodwaters continue to rise.

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

Mayor Steve Jones says they didn't have access to helicopters overnight, hampering efforts to help locals.

More than 100 people spent the night in an evacuation centre in Laidley, as floodwaters swamped part of the town.

Low-lying parts of Grantham have also been cut by floods.

Regional Council Mayor Graeme Lehmann says flooding in the region will be higher than in 2011 and is urging people along the Lockyer Creek to evacuate.

The latest BoM information about the Lockyer Creek advises that moderate to major flooding is expected to start peaking at Gatton and further downstream Lyons Bridge today.

A major flood peak is expected downstream at O'Reilly's tomorrow morning.



11:43am: Laidley Creek has cut a 2.2km path across the Warrego Highway between Brisbane and Toowoomba.

ABC reporter Matt Wordsworth took this picture:







11:30am: The rain has eased in Brisbane as the system associated with ex-tropical cyclone Oswald tracks into northern NSW.

Read the latest snapshot from the Bureau of Meteorology .
At 10:00am ex-tropical cyclone Oswald was 15 kilometres west of Dalby.
Wind gusts of 125kph have been recorded south of Brisbane, with gusts in excess of 90kph still occurring regularly in south-east Queensland.
The damaging winds are expected to contract gradually south of Brisbane towards northern NSW throughout the afternoon.
Dangerous surf conditions with significant beach erosion will continue along the coast from Double Island Point to the NSW border this afternoon.





11:26am: Strong winds have torn part of the roof off the Tweed Hospital in northern New South Wales.

SES controller Brian Sheehan says part of the second floor roof has been lost.



11:07am: Photo: The Brisbane River is choked with debris as pontoons go under at St Lucia.





10:55am: Water is waist-deep in Torwood Street in Milton, inner Brisbane, now. The street is one of the lowest-lying streets in Brisbane.



10:53am: Ipswich Mayor Paul Pisasale has told ABC Local Radio that the flood peak at Goodna has been revised down to 10m, which will only affect 10 homes.

But he says more than 700 properties, including some 350 homes, are in danger from flooding across the city as a whole.

The Bremer River's 15m peak is now expected at 6:00pm today. That's 4 metres below the 2011 floods.

The evacuation centre at the Ipswich Showgrounds is open now.

Councillor Pisasale says people who lost everything in 2011 are devastated by the thought of losing everything again.

For more information on which areas of Ipswich are expected to flood, .



10:48am: Brisbane City Council says there will be no CityCat or ferry services today or tomorrow. Shuttle buses will operate instead.

At Wynnum on Brisbane's bayside, local Councillor Peter Cumming says the esplanade is under water:

"The water's right across the esplanade and threatening the shops - the fish and chip shops - along the esplanade.

"There might be some low set houses where people need assistance as well.

"I've never seen anything like it and I've been a councillor for 18 years."





EMERGENCY ALERT

10:40am: The Ipswich Disaster Management Group has issued a new emergency alert for the Bremer River and Ipswich City region.

People in flood-prone or low-lying areas should consider evacuation or seek higher ground now.

An evacuation centre has been established at the Ipswich Showgrounds.



10:35am Queensland Premier Campbell Newman says schools which have not flooded will be open tomorrow.

The State Government will make an announcement about closed schools this afternoon around 3:00pm.





10:27am: Residents are reporting damage from very strong onshore winds on the New South Wales far north coast.

Kingscliff caravan park operator Richard Adams says the wind is relentless at 45 to 50 knots, close to 100kph.

"The seas are in turmoil, there's spume coming in, flowing into the park and we've had a fair bit of structural damage to a number of caravans and annexes.

"We've got some trees down, we've got some structural damage to some of our amenity buildings."



Heavy rain and strong winds are expected to hit Sydney by midnight.



10:04am: More residents are being told to leave their homes at Maryborough on the Fraser Coast. Mayor Gerard O'Connell says the predicted flood peak tonight has increased from 9.7 metres to 11 metres.



BREAKING NEWS

9:55am: Police have found the body of a motorcyclist swept off a bridge in the Brisbane suburb of Greenbank overnight.

He disappeared when he let go off his bike to grab a rope thrown by witnesses who tried to rescue him about 11:30pm last night.

Police are yet to confirm his identity.



9:45am: The Bureau of Meteorology says rainfall rates have eased across the Brisbane River catchment in the last 3 hours, and no further significant flood-producing rainfall is expected over the next few days.

Laidley Creek: Major flooding continues between Mulgowie and the Laidley Showgrounds, with river levels to remain steady throughout Monday before an easing overnight.

Lockyer Creek: Minor flooding is easing in the upstream tributaries of Lockyer Creek, with moderate to major flooding expected to start peaking at Gatton and downstream to Lyons Bridge during Monday. A major flood peak is expected downstream at O'Reillys during Tuesday morning. River levels along Sandy Creek at Grantham have fallen to moderate flood level and continues to ease.

Bremer River: Major flooding is continuing along the Bremer River and Warrill Creek upstream of Ipswich. Major flood levels developed overnight Sunday, with river levels continuing to rise along Warrill Creek at Kalbar, Harrisville and Amberley and on the Bremer River at Rosewood and Walloon. Ipswich is presently passing through its major flood level (11.7m) and is expected to peak near 15m by Monday evening, about 4 m less than the January 2011 flood.

Lower Brisbane River: Minor flooding is expected along the lower Brisbane River downstream of Moggill. At the Brisbane City gauge, minor flood levels are expected on the peak of the high tides from Monday morning to Thursday morning. The highest level of 2.6m is expected on the high tide at 11am Tuesday, about 1.9m lower than the January 2011 flood.



9:38am: Helicopters are being sent into the Lockyer Valley as floodwaters continue to rise.

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

Mayor Steve Jones says they did not have access to helicopters overnight, hampering efforts to help locals:

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





9:30am: A pregnant woman and a child have been hospitalised after a tree fell on them at Kedron Brook in Gordon Park on Brisbane's north-side.

Police say the woman has a broken leg and the child has head injuries.

Tim Burke witnessed the unfolding drama.

"The ground was so wet the large tree's just fallen on top of them," Mr Burke said.

"They got the little boy out but the mother was still trapped in there."





9:25am: The latest update from ABC News 24's reporters on the ground:









BREAKING NEWS

9:16am: This photo shows emergency service workers as they try to free a pregnant woman trapped by a tree near Kedron Brook at Gordon Park on Brisbane's north-side.

The tree fell on the woman and her child as they were flood watching around 8:30am.











9:12am: An exceptional amount of foam is washing across the esplanade at Alexandra Headland on Queensland's Sunshine Coast.

Authorities are not sure what is causing the unusual event.







9:07am: There are now 34 government areas that can apply for financial assistance under Natural Disaster Relief and Recovery Arrangements.

Residents in nine local councils are eligible to apply for individual assistance. Those areas include Banana, Bundaberg, Fraser Coast, Gladstone, Gympie, Moreton Bay, North Burnett, Rockhampton, Sunshine Coast.

Individuals can claim $180 for personal hardship and distress, while couples and families can receive up to $900.

Go to the for more information.





9:00am: Bundaberg woman Linda Brough has told ABC reporter Kerrin Binnie that she has lost everything in the town's devastating flood.

Ms Brough tied off her houseboat to trees as the massive flood surge ripped down the Burnett River but says she fears it will be swept away by sunken boats later today.

"We weren't tied to the wharves, we're tied to trees so when the wharves collapsed, ours didn't go," she said.

"It's sitting on top of a tree which is holding it up, but as you can see there's boats here that have sunk that are probably going to take it out some time today.

"We slept in the car park over there - we've got nothing left. Our children have lost everything in the last 24 hours.

"If that [the boat] goes, that's it.

"The evacuation centres here are full, they won't accept any more. We just paid $11 for a cup of coffee."





BREAKING NEWS

8:53am: A tree has fallen on a family standing on the edge of Kedron Brook at Gordon Park of Brisbane's north-side.

A child has been taken to hospital and emergency crews are trying to free the mother.

Authorities have urged people to take cover and not travel unnecessarily.



8:31am: Rainfall totals since 9:00am Sunday:





8:20am: A yacht sits on the beach at Bargara after being blown ashore.





8:13am: SES commissioner Murray Kear says there are now 1,900 people isolated in northern NSW due to flooding.

He is urging people not to drive through flood water, irrespective of how shallow they think it is.

"The winds have picked up - we measured a gust at Cape Byron at 107km/h.

"The rain is still heavy in the northern river system. Some of the gauges, one up near the Tweed has shown 525 mm since 9:00am yesterday and the rain continues to fall quite heavily in that area.

"That low-pressure system is moving slowly at the moment but due to pick up speed over the next 24 hours. We could see rainfall 200-300mm right down as far as the Illawarra."



7:58am: Treasurer Wayne Swan discusses the Federal Government's response to the flood crisis.

He says a full range of assistance will be available:





7:53am: A man has been rescued from the roof of his car at Murwillumbah, in northern NSW.

The SES says the man tried to drive through a flooded creek but was forced to stop and climb onto the car's roof and call for help.

Libby Spash from the Richmond-Tweed SES says it was one of 10 rescues in the region.

"That person was driving through a flooded creek and as we have advised people we don't drive through, walk through or ride through flood waters and a good example of what can happen."



7.50am: The Pacific Highway on the New South Wales north coast is closed in both directions just south of Grafton due to flooding.

Drivers are advised there is a diversion in place via Clarenza that is suitable for all vehicles



7:35am: Residents in Gympie were surprised by how quickly water levels rose in the Mary River.

ABC reporter Eric Tlozek caught up with people in the area:





7:30am: The Red Cross has launched a flood appeal, which people can donate to or by calling 1800 811 700.

Red Cross volunteers has established nine evacuation shelters in south-east Queensland.

The Queensland Government has kick-started donations by making a $1 million contribution.



7:25am: Queensland Premier Campbell Newman is urging people to remain calm and stay across emergency updates.

He says flooding will affect areas of the south-east over the next week, but the most serious flood threat is in Bundaberg where authorities are expecting the worst flood ever recorded.

Mr Newman says there are still 30 people trapped on the roofs of their houses in Bundaberg:







7:00am: ABC News Online photo editor Giulio Saggin took this snap of downed trees in the Brisbane suburb of Grange:





6:55am: The body of a 27-year-old man who was reported missing in Gympie yesterday morning has been found in Widgee Creek.

The man died after the car he was driving was washed off the road.

Meanwhile, authorities are still looking for a man who is missing in the Brisbane suburb of Greenbank.

News 24 reporter Karina Carvalho says authorities hold grave concerns for the man:

"He was on a motorbike trying to cross a road. That road had been covered with water after a creek had spread out on to the road. He lost touch with the motorcycle and passers-by tried to put a rope out to him to draw him back but they weren't able to get that rope to him and he was swept away by water.

"When the authorities arrived they said it was too dark and too dangerous for them to enter the waters to look for the man."







6:51am: State Emergency Service crews are trying to rescue a man trapped in floodwaters at Murwillumbah in northern New South Wales.

SES crews say the man is sitting on the roof of his car surrounded by flood waters north of the town.




6:45am: The flood levels in Bundaberg are expected to surpass any peaks ever formally recorded.

Bundaberg Regional Council Mayor Mal Foreman says the floods will be "far worse" than 2011.

"[The flooding has] already exceeded the 1942 flood and we??re not far from the record flood of 1893 where it was 9 metres.

"The way the water is coming down, we may go over the nine metres - we don't know yet."





6:40am: Queensland Premier Campbell Newman says the flood situation in Bundaberg is "critical", with 30 people stranded on roofs.





6:29am: The Bundaberg Regional Council says more than 1,000 houses have been flooded overnight.

Residents in Bundaberg East and North are experiencing record flood levels with the Burnett River at 8.8 metres.

The SES is still assisting with mass evacuations out of the city.



6:20am: Major flooding is expected in Gympie this morning with the city's business centre and homes predicted to go under as the the Mary River peaks at 21m at 9:00am.





6:09am: Brisbane Lord Mayor Graham Quirk says the majority of the rain has passed, but the flooding will still have an effect because of the large amount of water in the catchment.

He says Brisbane will experience two flood peaks. The first of those will be tonight through Ipswich and Moggill; the second will be in Jindalee noon tomorrow.











6:01am: It is still raining very heavily in the Lockyer Valley, the scene of deadly flash flooding during the 2011 floods.

This morning, Lockyer Valley Mayor Steve Jones said flood levels in some creeks had already exceeded the 2011 levels by 1 metre.

He said the water had peaked around the town of Grantham, with residents in some low-lying areas spending the night in evacuation centres.





5:53am: The Brisbane Council has released maps that show which areas will be affected by flooding.



For more maps, go to Brisbane City Council's





5:49am: News 24's Karina Carvalho gives the latest updates on the situation in south-east Queensland:





5:44am: Ipswich mayor Paul Pisasale has described the emergency situation in south-east Queensland as "Groundhog Day", but the mistakes of 2011 will not be repeated.





5:40am: Network operations manager for Energex Mike Swan says there are 203,000 people without power in south-east Queensland.

"The main issue for us though is over 2,000 wires down reports that we've had over the last 24 to 36 hours.

"So safety says we have to check those first and one of the other things that's holding up being able to restore power to those 203,000 people is the fact that the weather is still bad."



5:25am: A woman and two children have been rescued from a house surrounded by floodwaters near Dalby on Queensland's Darling Downs. The Department of Community Safety says the woman and children, aged three and 10, were rescued from their home south-west of Dalby in the early hours of this morning. The house was isolated by rising floodwaters and the children had medical conditions needing attention.



5:20am: As the storm system moves south, New South Wales SES commissioner Murray Kear told News 24 that all of the rivers between Port Macquarie in NSW and the Queensland border have a flood warning in place. He says wind speeds will average around 100kph, with gusts of up to 140kph.

"The rain is expected with this low pressure system moving very slowly down the coast. We're expecting rain today all the way down to the Illawarra, so into Wollongong and further south. And that rain can be quite heavy, around 100 to 200 mm in most areas but even up to 300 mm local falls but the main issue is this wind that's going to accompany this low-pressure system.

"We've been sandbagging a number of towns up and down the coast over the last 24 hours including Coffs Harbour, Port Macquarie, Lismore, Yamba and many others. We've been door knocking, making sure people are aware of the flooding that could occur.

"Flash flooding is going to be the largest risks along with the largest risks along with the wind today and the other thing is people travelling, coming back from holidays."



5:15am: The Richmond-Tweed SES in northern NSW had three separate flood rescues when motorists tried to drive through flooded roads and causeways last night.

There have been 318 calls for help as the storm hit yesterday afternoon. Floodwaters have isolated communities at Uki, Tabulam and Upper Middle Arm. Wind gusts of up to 50 knots have uplifted trees and power lines across the region. Minor to moderate flooding is predicted for the Wilsons and Richmond Rivers today.



4:55am: Police say they are looking for a missing man who they believe was washed into a flooded creek at Greenbank. Witnesses say he was riding his motorbike on the Greenbank-Goodna Road last night before being swept off a bridge and into floodwaters.



4:24am: BOM UPDATE

Rapid rises and severe major flooding are being experienced in the Burnett Catchment. Major flooding continues at Bundaberg during Monday morning. Extremely large major flooding is also occurring at Mundubbera and Gayndah.

A flood warning is also current for the Lower Brisbane and Bremer Rivers, and Lockyer and Laidley creeks. Widespread rainfall totals of 75-150mm have been recorded since 9am Sunday across the warning area, with isolated totals of up to 350mm. The heaviest rainfall has been recorded in Laidley Creek, Lockyer Valley and Lower Brisbane. Further heavy rainfall is possible during Monday.

Matthew Bass from the weather bureau says the low has been moving slowly overnight and has started to track towards New South Wales.

"We have started to see the strong winds ease on the Sunshine Coast, and we should start to see an easing of winds in Brisbane over the next few hours. It will probably hang around a bit longer on the Gold Coast and around the border ranges.

"South-east Queensland should have experienced the worst of the winds by about lunchtime today.



4:10am: Police say the Telstra network has been disrupted in Gladstone, Rockhampton, Mackay, Townsville, Cairns, Mareeba and Mount Isa, with many people unable to call triple-0. Telstra customers have been asked to use alternative carriers to call triple-0 if possible. The Rockhampton Telstra exchange has a total outage and no calls can be sent or received. The Queensland Police website has .



4:07am: Queensland Fire and Rescue Service duty manager Richard Gory says rain and gale force winds uprooted trees, knocked down power lines and flooded homes and streets overnight. He says every available officer is on duty.

"Statewide, we have responded to 595 fire service calls. The Brisbane region had 239 calls.

"In the Brisbane region, we have responded to seven swift water rescue incidents which involve life rescue. Twenty-four persons were rescued in the Windsor area as waters were rising.

Meanwhile, police are still trying to confirm reports of a man being swept away in floodwaters at Arana Hills on Brisbane's northside.



3:50am: Gympie Mayor Ron Dyne says the Mary River is currently about 19 metres, but authorities are waiting for floodwaters to peak at Dagan.

He told residents who need to evacuate there is still space at the Gympie Civic Centre and the Showgrounds Pavilion on Gympie's southside.

"Once it's peaked in Dagan we'll be able to get more accurate modelling from the Bureau of Meteorology. We're anticipating 21 metres at this stage between 9am and 12am.

"Speak to your neighbours, help each other, we need to work with each other and help each other, we're all in this together."



3:35am: There are many reports of roads being cut off by floodwaters and fallen trees. The Queensland Government has on its website.



2:56am: BOM UPDATE on Stanley River and Brisbane River above Wivenhoe Dam.

Minor to moderate flood levels have peaked in upper reaches of the Brisbane and Stanley Rivers.

Major flood levels continue in Cressbrook Creek at Rosentreters Bridge.

Further rainfall is possible across the Upper Brisbane River catchment during Monday.



2:50am: Energex spokesman Nathan Hatch says there are 160,000 properties still without power across south-east Queensland, down from 230,000 last night.

But he says it could take up to 48 hours before power is returned to some homes.

"As soon as it gets light our crews will really get out there and restore as much power as they possibly can, safely of course.

"The weather has been so extreme. There's been flooded rivers, trees across roads, it could be quite a while. We'll know a lot more once it's light tomorrow."



2:13am: The situation in northern NSW is now deteriorating, as ex-cyclone Oswald tracks south.

An estimated 1,300 people are isolated by floodwaters this morning.

SES volunteers have been sandbagging homes and business along the north and mid-north coasts, with severe weather expected to continue through the night.

Becky Gollings from the SES says there have been five floodwater rescues, including a couple near Murwillumbah who were trapped in a car.

Flood warnings have been issued for six river systems in the state's north, and waters are rising in Bellingen, Lismore, Murwillumbah, Mullumbimby and Kyogle.

There are currently 6,000 people without power in the region but officials say many customers won't have power until later this morning.



2:00am: Here's the latest radar image showing rainfall over the south-east.





1:21am: Apart from the flood warnings, the weather bureau's senior forecaster Pradeep Singh says there's still the possibility of tornadoes forming in the south-east tonight.

"We can expect tornadoes to spin out anywhere in the south-east district and probably in the Darling Downs and Granite Belt areas."



1:14am: BOM UPDATE on Mary River levels.

Major flood levels continue to rise strongly at Gympie. Flood levels are likely to exceed the January 2011 peak of 19.45 metres early this morning, with a peak up to 21 metres expected.

Major flooding continues at Miva and Tiaro. River levels in excess of those recorded in January 2011 are likely during Monday and Tuesday.

Moderate flood levels continue to rise at Maryborough, where at 11pm Sunday the river level was 9.2 metres. River levels are forecast to reach 10 metres during Monday.



1:03am: Authorities are urging residents in parts of the Lockyer Valley west of Brisbane to evacuate immediately due to rapidly rising floodwaters.

The Lockyer Creek at Glenore Grove has reached 14 metres and is continuing to rise.

The council says it cannot predict when floodwaters from the creek will impact on residents in the region, but local Mayor Steve Jones says anyone in low-lying areas should move sooner than later.

"Laidley Creek and the Lockyer Creek obviously - there are still some problems around Grantham... and of course those two creeks meet below Glenore Grove.

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

"It's all about making people safe.

Evacuation centres have been activated at Lowood Showgrounds and Fernvale Hall.



12:58am: The Bureau of Meteorology's says further tornado activity is possible in the south-east coast district today. 

Rainfall totals since 9am Sunday include:
427mm at Mt Castle (near Cunningham's Gap)
380mm at Mudgeeraba
336mm at Mt Nebo
306mm at Mt Tamborine



12:53am: As it has for the past couple of days, the Moreton Bay Regional Council has issued an alert for this morning's high tide.

The high tide event is expected to impact around 10am. Properties in Beachmere, Donnybrook, Meldale, Toorbul may be affected.



12:35am: BOM UPDATE on Burnett River levels.

At midnight Sunday, the river level at Bundaberg was at 8.45 metres and rising.

The Burnett River is expected to reach 9 metres during Monday morning. Further rises are likely later on Monday and on Tuesday as peak flows arrive from upstream.

The December 2010 flood level at Bundaberg was 7.92 metres. The 1942 flood reached 8.59 metres.

The weather bureau says major flooding will continue in Bundaberg during Monday morning. Major flooding is also occurring at Mundubbera and Gayndah.



12:24am: An emergency alert has also been issued tonight for major flooding of Laidley Creek and Lockyer Creek in the Lockyer Valley.

Evacuation centres have been activated at Lowood Showgrounds and Fernvale Hall.



12:17am: A flood warning has been issued for the Condamine River. The weather bureau says minor flooding has commenced downstream at Warwick, with at least moderate flooding expected during later this morning.

The is also minor to major flooding occurring in Myall and Charleys creeks.



12:14am: While the focus remains on south-east Queensland tonight, the weather bureau has also issued for rivers across northern New South Wales, where heavy rain is continuing to fall.



12:01am: Bundaberg is preparing for flooding tonight with the Burnett River expected to reach 9.4m. The peak in 2010 was 7.49m.

In Gympie, the Mary River is set to peak at 21 metres around by 9:30am later this morning.

Businesses and homes are going under tonight and there have been numerous rescues.


- ABC

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