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North-west Queensland hit with heavy rain, flooding after long-awaited downpour

Sunday March 4, 2018 - 08:22 EDT
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Roads in Mount Isa have been cut off due to flooding from heavy rain. - ABC

Severe weather warnings remain in place for parts of north-west Queensland, with heavy rain and damaging winds expected to hit the region for the rest of the weekend.

While a downpour of more than 100mm , others will have a clean-up on their hands in the coming days.

, roads have been cut off and some graziers have endured a sleepless night with cattle stranded in high water.

On Saturday afternoon, the slow-moving low pressure system was sitting about 75 kilometres south-west of Mount Isa, but the Bureau of Meteorology expected it to drift back towards the town during Sunday evening and Monday.

The BOM warned the heaviest falls would be between The Monument and Winton, with six-hour rainfalls in excess of 90mm possible.

Earlier on Saturday, Mount Isa was split in half with water overflowing at the Monie Holt crossing.



Panic spread to the town's supermarkets, with customers clearing shelves of fruit, bread, bottled water and meat.



Truck driver Stephen Wood, who normally delivers bread from Townsville to Mount Isa, said he was stuck in Cloncurry because of the flooding.

"We got as far as here and got unloaded in Cloncurry and the policeman said we can't go any further. We're blocked, until he says so," Mr Wood said.

"It hasn't happened in a couple of years that I know of.

"It doesn't do any harm, it's better for the country to have rain than not have rain. Cows don't get fat when it's dry."



Cloncurry Mayor Greg Campbell said the town's disaster group had decided to raise the awareness level from "Alert" to "Lean Forward", so residents would be prepared if conditions deteriorated.

"We're going around closing a number of local roads that [have] got water over them. They're keeping a good eye on the dam, it's full and overflowing," he said.

"The weir's overflowing, and the river is running quite strongly, so at this stage it's a waiting brief, keeping an eye on how everything's tracking and we'll reassess how everything is going at 4:00 this afternoon."



Cane growers south of Giru, the township which saw record flood levels this week, said they were counting their blessings to have had the big wet.

"Since last year's Christmas, we haven't had any rain. January was dry and February was dry, so we were waiting for the rain," farmer Gary Stockham said.

While some of his crop had been flattened by the storm, Mr Stockham said he was confident it would bounce back once the sun came out.



The Wolters family was nearby pedalling along the Bruce Highway, as part of a charity ride to raise awareness of Motor Neurone Disease.

They have encountered severe weather for three weeks, all the way from Bundaberg on the eastern coast.

"The kindness from the country folk is unbelievable," Diana Wolters said.

"We got to Proserpine and a lovely school teacher asked if we'd like to stay in her house for two nights. Then we asked a farmer if we could stay in his yard and he said we could stay in his house."


- ABC

© ABC 2018

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