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Several cars trapped in floodwaters overnight in one-in-100-year rainfall event on Brisbane's bayside

Tuesday January 19, 2021 - 20:15 EDT
ABC image
A car was washed onto a guard rail at Thornlands east of Brisbane after major flooding impacted south-east Queensland overnight. - ABC

Emergency services responded to several cars becoming trapped in floodwaters overnight, as storms brought major flash flooding to bayside areas.



The State Emergency Service (SES) crews responded to at least six calls for help from people whose cars were caught in floodwaters.

Two people were rescued from a car trapped in floodwater at Sheldon in the Redlands region just before 7:00pm and a person was rescued from the roof of a car on Springacre Road at Thornlands.

The SES received a total of 170 calls for help in the south-east on Monday night.



State Disaster Coordinator Steve Gollschewski said people driving through floodwaters had put the lives of themselves and others at risk.

He said the calls for assistance were mostly for trees down, leaking roofs and help with sandbagging.

Bureau of Meteorology (BOM) forecaster Shane Kennedy said thunderstorms, heavy rain and possibly hail could hit the region again this afternoon and tonight.

"The trough sitting inland is still likely to persist there, so the triggers will likely have those storms firing once again, unfortunately," he said.



"At this stage, a slightly lower risk in terms of severity, but there will certainly still be the risk of seeing those potentially severe thunderstorms, both bringing heavy rainfall, damaging wind gusts and potentially some large hail as well."

He said there were four storm cells looming over the south-east coast.

"Alexandra Hills has had 191 millimetres since 9:00am yesterday and 140mm of that fell in two hours, so quite intense rainfall there for a couple of hours," he said.



One-in-100-year rain event

Meteorologist Rosa Hoff said the highest rainfall total recorded in the region was 191mm at the Redlands rain gauge.

"For this specific point of location, this kind of rainfall total does only come through about every 100 years," she said.



Between 6:00pm and 7:00pm, 105mm fell just south of Beenleigh in Logan, while 106mm was recorded at Alexandra Hills in Redland City, east of Brisbane.

Karragarra Island recorded 149mm, Mt Cotton 144mm and North Stradbroke Island 137mm.

A trough further inland triggered a lot of the storm activity, which tracked across the south-east coast, hitting the Redlands and Logan before affecting parts of the Sunshine Coast.

The Queensland Fire and Emergency Service (QFES) responded to 15 separate calls about cars in floodwaters early last night.

Assistant Commissioner John Bolger said it was frustrating that drivers were not taking the "if it is flooded, forget it" message seriously.



He said he was thankful no one was injured last night.

"Many of those [calls] last night were from people who had managed to climb out of their cars and sit on the roof," Mr Bolger said.

"A lot of people don't realise that cars, even big heavy four-wheel drives, float and you get that swift water coming through and it picks up the car and takes it down the waterway.

"It is just not a risk worth taking."

'She was screaming on top of the roof'



Gary Short said he tried to rescue his wife after he received a panicked call from her while she was stranded on the roof of her car in floodwaters in the Redlands area.

"It was pitch black, pouring down with rain and she was screaming on top of the roof ? I felt a bit helpless really," he said.



"She said she went into a puddle? it didn't look too bad and then literally the wheels got taken from underneath [the car] because of the force of the water.

"[The water] took her to one side and spun the car round.

"I got to about waist deep and it was too much for me so I left it to emergency services."

Mr Short said he was thankful for the two QFES workers who risked their lives wading into floodwaters with life jackets and ropes to save his wife.


- ABC

© ABC 2021

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