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Queensland weather: Heavy rain eases across south-east, disaster package announced

Saturday February 24, 2018 - 15:13 EDT
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A 4WD crosses the flooded Clagiraba Creek causeway west of Nerang on Saturday. - ABC

After more than 24 hours of heavy rain across south-east Queensland, the Bureau of Meteorology (BOM) has cancelled all severe weather warnings for the region, indicating the worst is over for the time being.



But the BOM has warned the situation is being closely monitored and that further severe weather warnings would be issued if necessary.

Some drenched Brisbane suburbs exceeded the average monthly rainfall for February in just 24 hours, BOM forecaster David Crock said.

"The average in February is just shy of 160mm so some suburbs have gotten very close to their average in a day and Brisbane after today will have well over the monthly average in terms of rainfall," he said.

Many areas of the Gold Coast recorded heavy downpours, with Lower Springbrook recording 204mm since 9:00am yesterday, 164mm falling at the Gold Coast seaway and 156mm at Molendinar.

On the Sunshine Coast, Nambour received 160mm and Park Ridge in Logan recorded 167mm overnight.

A minor flood warning remains in place for Logan and Albert rivers south of Brisbane and Mary River to the north.

A flood watch is in place for coastal catchments from Tewantin to Beenleigh.

Seqwater said dams in the region's water grid had risen 1.2 per cent in the past 24 hours to 76.8 per cent.

A spokesperson said the grid had captured more than 35 billion litres in the past 24 hours.

In the Gold Coast hinterland, Little Nerang Dam — which recorded falls of 181mm — was spilling water on Saturday morning, prompting Seqwater to warn about hazards downstream.

By 11:00am, rain on the Gold Coast had mostly moved out to sea, but showers continued to fall over parts of inner Brisbane.



Disaster package for battered Moranbah

A state and federal government disaster package will be set up for central Queensland communities pounded by storms earlier this week, with the damage bill potentially reaching $1 million.

Wind gusts in excess of 100kph on Tuesday battered Moranbah, 200 kilometres south-west of Mackay,

Some residents said the storm felt worse than when they were hit by Cyclone Debbie in 2017.

Emergency Services Minister Craig Crawford said the money would go towards "getting everything back to normal".

"It will help cover the costs of repairs to their road infrastructure and any other infrastructure that the council have, whether its sewerage, water, those sorts of things," he said.

"This was a mini sort of storm cell, and they said the winds, the damage, everything felt a whole lot worse than what Debbie did, and when you drive through the streets of Moranbah, you can see what they're talking about."



Swift-water rescues keep authorities busy

A man and a woman had to be rescued after driving into a flooded causeway at Kobble Creek north-west of Brisbane just after 7:00pm last night.

Authorities said the pair were in their car as it was swept 200 metres downstream.

Petrie Fire and Emergency Services station officer Tim Collingwood said they clung to trees before they were pulled to safety by two swift-water rescue teams.

"They were probably 10 or 15 metres from the shore in the middle of the fast moving water, and it was bucketing down rain at the time which probably didn't make it any easier," he said.



"The lady — she was very fatigued when we got her out of the water.

"She was stumbling, so we certainly wouldn't want to have had them out in the water there too much longer, otherwise we may have lost them."

Meanwhile, three people managed to escape from their vehicle after encountering more flash flooding at Traveston near Gympie.

The submerged car was found with water at bonnet height.

State Emergency Service director Brian Cox said the organisation received more than 270 call-outs in less than 24 hours.

"We've had inundation and calls for assistance everywhere from the Fraser Coast all the way down to the Gold Coast and out towards Ipswich," he said.

"But the main areas around Logan and the northern parts of the Gold Coast seem to be the hardest hit.



Warnings falling on deaf ears

Emergency Services Minister Craig Crawford said despite all the warnings, safety messages did not seem to be getting through to people.

"If you can't see the road, don't drive through it," he said.

"It doesn't matter if you know the road, if you've driven it a hundred times in the last week or if you've got the biggest four-wheel-drive known to mankind — you don't know the quality of that road service underneath."

He encouraged drivers to take their time on the roads and have a backup plan if necessary.

"If it takes you a few extra minutes to get where you need to go, that's OK — just get there alive."

Mr Cox said he was frustrated by the number of people risking the lives of emergency service workers by taking unnecessary risks on flooded roads.

"While we are very willing and prepared to put ourselves at risk to rescue those in need, we're asking those to look at [their] own circumstances," he said.

"People just have to be patient — don't put yourselves at risk, don't drive through it — I know it's tempting, but it's just not worth it."


- ABC

© ABC 2018

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