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Flash flooding on Gold Coast and Brisbane sparks calls for help as storms sweep Queensland

Saturday January 18, 2020 - 15:46 EDT
Audience submitted image
Torrential rain left the Movie World car park at Oxenford underwater early on Saturday morning. - Audience submitted

Dangerous storms described as a one-in-100-year event have swept through South-East Queensland overnight and into the morning, dumping heavy rain and causing flash flooding in parts of Brisbane and the Gold Coast.

The SES has responded to more than 100 callouts on the Gold Coast alone, and another 60 between Brisbane and the Sunshine Coast.

Police have reported localised flash flooding in Chelmer, Kenmore Hills, Birkdale and Helensvale.

Emergency services carried out two swift water rescues of people trapped in their cars in floodwaters at Nerang and Oxenford.

A mother and child were also safely rescued after a tree fell on their car at Currumbin Waters, also bringing down power lines.

The Pacific Motorway was closed in both directions with traffic diversions in place between Coomera and Oxenford, but had reopened by midday, with northbound traffic limited to two lanes.

Movie World and Wet 'n' Wild water park at Oxenford are both closed for the day, after their car parks were heavily impacted by flash flooding.

There was flash flooding on the Gold Coast Highway at Miami, causing delays.

Bureau of Meteorology forecaster Kimba Wong said there was "intense rainfall through the early hours of this morning between midnight and about six or seven this morning" over the Sunshine Coast, Brisbane and the Gold Coast.

"We're looking at rainfall totals across that wide area in the sort of range of 100 to 200 millimetres for a number of locations but coming up to just over 300 millimetres at a couple of locations as well," she said.

"The highest total that we have recorded is 330 millimetres at Loder Creek on the Gold Coast, so some very heavy rainfall there.

"We did have an emergency warning for that rainfall because we had some reports of flash flooding in some locations and in some locations it was a one-in-100-year event.

An RACQ spokesperson said they had already had numerous flood-related insurance claims lodged.

"RACQ has had an influx of insurance claims come in for flooding after last night's storms across the region," the spokesperson said.

"We've recorded 30 car flooding claims and 50 home flooding and water ingress claims. We expect these numbers will continue to rise in the days to come."

Much-needed falls reach Stanthorpe

More showers and thunderstorms may be on the way over "the next couple of days", Ms Wong said.

There were also solid falls further inland, with Stanthorpe recording 85.6mm in the past 24 hours.

Southern Downs Mayor Tracey Dobie said she is hoping it is a sign of average rainfall returning to Stanthorpe.

"It's just been beautiful hearing that rain fall through the night," she said.

Since 9:00am yesterday, 250mm of rain has fallen at the Gold Coast Seaway and 195mm in Coolangatta, while 141mm has fallen at both Alexandra Hills in Brisbane and the Sunshine Coast Airport.

Earlier warnings from the Bureau of Meteorology said the storms were producing very dangerous conditions on the Gold Coast, with "life-threatening flash flooding" likely.

That threat has now eased but further severe storms are possible, according to the bureau.


© ABC 2020

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