Flood waters in the Mary River at Gympie are now expected to peak under the predicted 21 metres.
That is a metre less than the near-record flood in 1999 but numerous business and homes are under water.
Mayor Ron Dyne says the rapid rate of rise in the river has eased.
Gympie has had major flooding four times in three years.
Dozens of businesses and a small number of homes have already been inundated.
Estate agent Robert Nimmo began clearing his Mary Street shop yesterday.
"We took a few loads out archive stuff to a residence yesterday afternoon and then we started on furniture this morning," he said
"We did it all two years ago so we had a bit of a plan I suppose in place."
Mr Nimmo expects the water to be waist deep - up to the window sills of the business.
"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."
More than 40 people were sheltering in the Gympie civic centre this morning and another nine are staying at a centre on the city's south.
Jodi Kretschmer's house is at the edge of the floodwaters and she was not expecting to be flooded.
"It come up very quickly - didn't think it was going to flood cause it had been so dry for so long but the rain was just so heavy for so long it's come up a lot quicker."
© ABC 2013
17:37 EDT Much of western New South Wales has begun a heat wave, reaching at least five degrees above average for at least five days, averaging a maximum of 35 degrees or more.