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South East Queensland battered by severe storms, with heavy rainfall leading to flash flooding on the Gold Coast

Friday February 14, 2020 - 00:52 EDT
ABC licensed image
Cars try to drive through floodwaters through Curtis Road and Curtis Falls on Mount Tamborine. - ABC licensed

Severe storms have continued to batter South East Queensland, with heavy rainfall leading to flash flooding and seeing rescuers pull a man's body from a Sunshine Coast river.

The storms hit parts of the Gold Coast, Logan and the Scenic Rim this afternoon and record-breaking rain has led to several evacuations and rescues.

The Bureau of Meteorology (BOM) warned about 1:00pm that there was a risk of possible flash-flooding at Mount Tamborine, Tamborine, Coomera, Hope Island, South Stradbroke and Jacobs Well.

Major flooding was recorded at Beaudesert and river levels were a chance of going higher with further rainfall forecast into the evening.

There were also reports of rapid river level rises at many locations across the Logan and Albert River catchments.

An emergency alert issued for people living near the Coomera River was revoked after the BOM revealed its flood gauge was faulty.

It had been reported the river was at a record 8.6 metres, but that level has since been revised it down to 3m, with conditions to ease further throughout the afternoon.

The Gold Coast City Council said it was waiting for further information before deciding whether to close a refuge centre opened in Coomera.


Police looking for a missing woman in the Gold Coast hinterland have been forced to suspend their search for the second day in a row because of poor weather.

Yang Chen, 26, was reported missing Wednesday morning by a man she was walking with at Gorge Falls off Tallebudgera Creek Road.

There are fears she may have slipped and fallen as there are several flooded creeks in the area.

Across the Gold Coast, 10 schools and 18 early childhood centres were closed Thursday, as well as most of the region's theme parks.

A hazardous surf warning remains in place for Fraser Island Coast, Sunshine Coast Waters and the Gold Coast.

All beaches on the Gold Coast were closed, .

Thursday's storms followed heavy rainfall from a slow-moving system which passed over South East Queensland overnight.

A record 232 millimetres of rain was recorded in 24 hours at Sunshine Coast airport. Coolum received 216mm.

Brisbane received up to 100mm in the 24 hours to 9:00am, and the Gold Coast up to 200mm.

Students home safe

All students made it home safe on Thursday ay in the Wide-Bay Burnett region after the Coondoo Creek threatened to leave up to 170 stranded at school.

Polleys Coaches owner Warren Polley warned this morning that the creek was due to peak at 3:00pm and cut the road, and rain would rule out alternative routes.

About six schools could have been affected, with students who live in Tin Can Bay, Cooloola Cove and Rainbow Beach hardest hit.

However by 4:00pm, Mr Polley said the Coondoo Creek bridge was still open and he could get students home safe.

The Education Department also said that principals of both Gympie and James Nash State High Schools contacted parents to make alternate transport arrangements.

Body pulled from Mary River

A body, believed to be that of a missing 75-year-old kayaker, has been found among debris in the flooded Mary River on Queensland's Sunshine Coast.

Authorities say it is too early to know whether the man drowned in floodwater or suffered a medical episode after setting out from Conondale on Sunday.

He has been described as an experienced kayaker, who was known to head out in the river during flood conditions.

Brenden Riches, from Queensland Fire and Emergency Service's Swift Water Rescue team, was among those who found the body in the river.

He said they found the seat of the kayak first, then the body, which was caught in trees downstream.

"This clearly shows people can get in trouble … especially when the waterways are swollen like this. It's unpredictable."

'Get your cars out, get your cars out'

Several swift-water rescues were also carried out overnight, with most for cars which had been washed off the road between Buderim and Palmview.

Queensland Fire and Emergency Service (QFES) spokesman Tony Johnstone said there were 19 calls for help from motorists who drove into floodwaters on the Sunshine Coast.

More than 160 calls for assistance were made to State Emergency Service (SES) crews across the state, with most on the Sunshine Coast.

Authorities decided to evacuate 40 residents from the ESTIA Nursing Home in Mt Coolum on the Sunshine Coast just before midnight following concerns about flooding and sewage issues.

Another 10 Coolum residents spent the morning in emergency accommodation after floodwaters threatened the structural integrity of their unit complex on the corner of David Low Way and Tanah St East.

Keith Symonds said he knew something was wrong when he saw the emergency service lights flashing outside his unit as he was about to go to bed.

"I realised the water was running down the road and woke everybody up," he said.

Four residents lost their cars in the flooding.

"It was waist-deep in the garage by the time the last car came out," Mr Symonds said.


© ABC 2020

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