Australia – Ex Cyclone Debbie Brings Flooding Rain to Queensland

After battering parts of the the Queensland coast, Cyclone Debbie has been downgraded to a tropical low. With further heavy rain predicted, flooding is now posing a major threat to communities. Some areas in the Pioneer Basin have already recorded 1000 mm of rain in 48 hours.

On March 28 at 03:42 UTC (1:42 p.m. AEST Queensland local time /Mar. 27 at 11:42 p.m. EST) NASA-NOAA’s Suomi NPP satellite captured this visible image of Tropical Cyclone Debbie over eastern Australia. Credits: NASA/NOAA

Cyclone Debbie made landfall on 27 March between Bowen and Airlie Beach in Queensland Australia. After the landfall it continued moving south-west over land between Collinsville and Mount Coolon.

The towns of Bowen, Airlie Beach and Proserpine have been worst affected by the cyclone, battered by 260km/h wind gusts. Flooding has blocked main roads and more than 60,000 homes were without power. Over 200 schools and education centres have been closed in the area.

Queensland Fire and Emergency Services (QFES) said they have received over 1,000 calls for assistance. Earlier today QFES said:

“Central Queensland is still getting drenched by Ex Tropical Cyclone Debbie with heavy rainfall and strong winds battering the Mackay area. Our swiftwater rescue technicians are responding to a number of calls for assistance and we need people to steer clear of flooded roads and look out for their neighbours. Water can rise quickly in the current conditions and if you live in a low lying area, make sure you are prepared to move should you need to and before you are cut off.”

Flooding in the wake of Ex Cyclone Debbie, Queensland. Photo: Queensland FES

Cyclone Debbie has since been downgraded to a tropical low but the threat of torrential rain and flooding remains. BoM warned that ex-Tropical Cyclone Debbie will continue to generate areas of very heavy rain over the next few days, increasing the risk of localised flash flooding.

BoM said that daily rainfall totals of up to 250 mm are expected, with significantly higher totals possible locally.

Some areas have already seen high levels of rainfall, with over 6 months’ worth in falling in some areas in just 2 days. Victoria Dodds, Queensland Hydrology Manager at BoM said:

“In the Pioneer Basin there’s been over 1000 mm of rain in 48 hours. We normally see 1500–2000 mm in a year.”

Major flood warnings have been issued for the Pioneer, Connors and Isaac Rivers.

Flood summary

Last updated: April 7, 2017
Event
Tropical Cyclone Debbie, Eastern Australia and Northern New Zealand, March to April 2017
Date
March 27, 2017
Type
Coastal flood, River flood
Cause
Extreme rainfall

Locations

A - Bowen (Australia)
B - Airlie Beach (Australia)
C - Proserpine (Australia)
D - Mackay (Australia)
E - Beaudesert (Australia)
F - Tabragalba (Australia)
G - Logan (Australia)
H - Lismore (Australia)
I - Murwillumbah (Australia)
J - Chinderah (Australia)
K - Rockhampton (Australia)
L - Rangitikei (New Zealand)
M - Whanganui (New Zealand)
N - Edgecumbe (New Zealand)

Magnitude

Rainfall level
267 mm in 24 hours
Bowen, Queensland, Australia - March 28 to March 29, 2017
Rainfall level
166 mm in 24 hours
Carfax, Queensland, Australia - March 28 to March 29, 2017
Rainfall level
115 mm in 24 hours
Moranbah, Queensland, Australia - March 28 to March 29, 2017
Rainfall level
115 mm in 24 hours
Mackay, Queensland, Australia - March 28 to March 29, 2017
Rainfall level
191 mm in 24 hours
Sarina, Queensland, Australia - March 28 to March 29, 2017
Rainfall level
233 mm in 24 hours
Byron Bay, New South Wales, Australia - March 30 to March 31, 2017
Rainfall level
362 mm in 24 hours
Mullumbimby, New South Wales, Australia - March 30 to March 31, 2017
Rainfall level
298 mm in 24 hours
Woodburn, New South Wales, Australia - March 30 to March 31, 2017
Rainfall level
247 mm in 24 hours
Beaudesert, Queensland, Australia - March 30 to March 31, 2017
Rainfall level
285 mm in 24 hours
Canungra, Queensland, Australia - March 30 to March 31, 2017
Rainfall level
242 mm in 24 hours
Maclean, New South Wales, Australia - March 30 to March 31, 2017
River level
11.60 metres
Wilsons River at Lismore, New South Wales, Australia - March 31 to March 31, 2017
River level
6.2 metres
Tweed River at Murwillumbah, New South Wales, Australia - March 31 to March 31, 2017
River level
2.3 metres
Tweed River at Chinderah (Barneys Point), New South Wales, Australia - March 31 to March 31, 2017
River level
17.33 metres
Richmond River at Kyogle - March 31 to March 31, 2017
Rainfall level
74 mm in 24 hours
Taupo, New Zealand - April 4 to April 5, 2017
Rainfall level
60.2 mm in 24 hours
Gisborne, New Zealand - April 4 to April 5, 2017
Rainfall level
112 mm in 24 hours
Tauranga, New Zealand - April 4 to April 5, 2017
Rainfall level
72 mm in 24 hours
Auckland, New Zealand - April 4 to April 5, 2017
River level
8.75 metres
Fitzrpy River, Rockhampton, Queensland, Australia - April 6 to April 6, 2017
River discharge
700 cubic metres per second
Rangitaiki River, Edgecumbe, New Zealand - April 6 to April 6, 2017

Damages

Rescued
500 people
New South Wales, Australia - March 28 to April 3, 2017
Evacuated
20,000
New South Wales, Australia - March 28 to March 31, 2017
Fatalities
7 people
New South Wales, Australia - March 30 to April 3, 2017
Evacuated
2,000
Edgecumbe, New Zealand - April 5 to April 7, 2017