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Queensland weather: flooded road catches Ipswich woman by surprise, multiple rescues across south-east

By Lily Nothling, Kristian Silva and staff, Tuesday February 27, 2018 - 16:30 EDT
Audience submitted image
Emergency services carry out a swiftwater rescue at Bellbird Park Monday night. - Audience submitted

Swiftwater rescue crews have pulled more than a dozen people from fast-rising floodwaters across south-east Queensland, after the region was hammered with heavy rain.

At Bellbird Park in Ipswich, Kat Fisher and her three children aged five, seven and nine, were forced to wade through fast-flowing, waist-deep water after becoming caught by flash flooding while returning from a scouts meeting.

Ms Fisher was in tears as she recalled their narrow escape on Jones Road.

"I was just driving home and vision was gone and by the time I realised we were in floodwaters it was too late — coming in the door," she said.

"Then I just told the kids to get out. I put one on one hip and one on the other and we just kept walking.

"I didn't realise it was this bad at all.



"There was someone else in the water, a van behind me but they didn't get out.

"I knew I had to get out of the water with the kids."

On the Gold Coast, a man in his 20s was rescued after spending more than two hours trapped in his car at Clagiraba.

At Oxley in Brisbane's south-west, firefighter Jason Mannix said crews were travelling from another job when they spotted a woman in trouble on a flooded causeway.



"She was on her own and was panicking and had said that she can't swim and she can't open the car or anything because the water was too fast and too far up on the door," he said.

Mr Mannix said while the crew carried out the rescue, they located a man trapped in a car on the same flooded causeway.

Meanwhile, emergency services performed three more rescues in the neighbouring suburb of Durack.

Mr Mannix said it all happened in a 30-minute timeframe within a one-kilometre radius, in an area known for its tendency to flood.

He said it was lucky no-one was injured in the fast-moving water.

"They were obviously a little embarrassed, and [it was] a good lesson for them," he said.

"There are plenty of campaigns around informing people not to drive through flooded causeways — but obviously a lot of people still haven't heeded those warnings."

Should motorists be punished for driving in floods?

Emergency Services Minister Craig Crawford said he was fed up with drivers who ignored warnings and endangered themselves and rescuers in unpredictable flash flooding.

"Frankly, I'm getting sick and tired of seeing these reports on a daily basis, about incidents where our emergency crews are having to put their lives are risk rescuing people who have tried to drive through floodwaters," Mr Crawford said.

"It doesn't matter what kind of car you drive, how experienced you are, or how badly you need to get across that road: if it's flooded, forget it."



Ipswich resident John Hall said it was the heaviest rain he had experienced in a decade.

"I wasn't expecting anything like this — the first thing I noticed is there was a river coming in the back door," he said.

Mr Hall said water poured through his home quickly, with some carpeted areas resembling a "pool".

"I set up some towels to try to prevent the water from getting through into the bedrooms … the carpets are absolutely drenched," he said.

Fellow Ipswich resident Liam Teeboon said the stormwater drain in his street backed up and his home flooded.

"We had about 30 centimetres in our house and the backyard was well and truly flooded," he said.

"We've been here since 1993 … it's the highest we've ever seen the water come up.

"We've gotten little bits of flooding in the backyard, but we've never ever had it to the point where it's come in the house this badly."

Footbridge wiped out by flooding



In central Queensland, storm and flash flooding damaged roads and a footbridge at Springsure.

More than 150mm fell in early morning storms and caused flash flooding in a creek which runs through town.



Forecaster Sean Fitzgerald said a number of areas received more than 80 millimetres of rain in a short period of time.

"Toowoomba got 91, Blackbutt got 95 and many parts of the city exceeded 50mm so quite rainy as that storm moved through," he said.

"But the good news is that now that that storm and that change has come through things are going to be fining up."

Blackbutt, in the South Burnett, had a massive heaviest deluge, with 83mm recorded.

Forestdale and Hillcrest in Logan both recorded hourly totals of 71mm, while Forest Hill in the Lockyer Valley experienced 69mm of rainfall.

But he said the heavy falls have not been contained to the southern corner.

"Wooril Road, near Fraser Island had 104mm, a place called Roddal's Lookout, that had 151mm, that's up in the Capricornia. In fact places outside of the south-east can probably expect further heavy rainfall today generally north of Gladstone in areas near like Mareeba, Townsville, Charters Towers," he said.


- ABC

© ABC 2018

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