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Flash flooding washes cars off roads in Queensland's south as the north cleans up

By Lexy Hamilton-Smith, Eric Barker and staff, Monday December 17, 2018 - 15:48 EDT
ABC licensed image
Heavy rain caused flooding on this property at Dalby. - ABC licensed

Flash flooding has cut roads on Queensland's Darling Downs after heavy rain overnight, while in the state's north locals are counting the cost of Cyclone Owen and its record-breaking rain.

Nearly 270 millimetres of rain was recorded near Dalby overnight after storms swept through the region.

Acting Superintendent Eddie Lacko said crews responded to reports a number of cars had been swept off Dalby-Cecil Plains Road last night.

"I think a number of [the motorists] were relatively surprised given the time of the evening and the amount of rain we'd already had, I'd say they would have been surprised by the amount of water across the road," he said.

The people managed to get out of the cars before swift-water-rescue crews arrived.

Meanwhile a boy had to be pulled from floodwaters at Illinbah on the Gold Coast hinterland last night.

Bystanders performed CPR before paramedics took him to Gold Coast University Hospital in a serious but stable condition.

Conditions are expected to ease today as an upper trough moves through south-east Queensland.

The Bureau of Meteorology (BOM) said the chance of heavy falls with showers and thunderstorms would decrease in its wake.

A minor flood warning is in place for Myall Creek and the Condamine River at Dalby and Ranges Bridge, where river levels are still rising.

Another warning is in place for Warrill Creek near Ipswich where minor flooding is possible.

BOM senior forecaster Michelle Berry said the rest of the south-east also saw decent falls overnight.

"Parts of the Gold Coast hinterland picked up 150mm, closer to the beaches getting 50 to 100mm," she said.

She said Brisbane's northern suburbs mostly missed out.

"But if you were in the city and southwards, some areas were getting around 20-60mm or so and if you go further south-west toward Boonah, we actually had some very heavy thunderstorms that generated about 100-130mm," Ms Berry said.

'Rain was coming in horizontal'

Hinchinbrook Mayor Ramon Jayo said he was astounded the region did not suffer major damage after being smashed by more than 680 mm of rain in 24 hours over the weekend from Ex-Tropical Cyclone Owen — setting a new Australian record for daily rainfall.

"Rain was just coming in horizontal because of the sheer power of the wind," he said.

"So whilst it may not have been a cyclone, we do believe we were in cyclonic conditions. It was pretty frightening."

Councillor Jayo said if there had also been heavy rain in the upper catchment of the Herbert River it "would have been catastrophic".

"We are pretty thankful, because if that had happened we all would have been washed out to Palm Island," he said.

He was concerned about the high number of crops sitting in water at the moment, but was hopeful damage would be minimal as long as there was no more rain.

At the height of the emergency warnings, 29 councils across the state were on "high alert".

Councillor Jayo said he would like to tell all the mayors south of him "that we took the hit for them".

"We burnt it out for them so that is our Christmas present to our southern counterparts," he said.

Far north Queensland mayor and grazier Warren Devlyn said the steady rain was a very good start to the wet season.

Cr Devlyn said rainfall across the Etheridge Shire ranged from 40mm to 120mm.

"Very little winds, just beautiful soaking rain, something we all look forward to," he said.

Cr Devlyn said the rain was a welcome relief from the extreme heat of recent months.

"Every year, you catch up with a mate or two and say, 'Is it me or is it hotter?'," he said.

"This build-up was the hottest I have endured, in excess of 40 degrees, day in day out, week in, week out."


© ABC 2018

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