Torrential rainfall from ex Tropical Cyclone Nora in northern Queensland, Australia caused rivers to reach some of the highest levels seen in almost 20 years. Emergency services were called on to rescue over 40 people from the flooding. This is the fifth serious flood event in the state in the last few weeks.
Port Douglas recorded 593 mm of rain in 24 hours to 26 March, 2018. Abingdon Downs Station
recorded 405 mm of rain in 24 hours the next day.
During Monday, Australia’s Bureau of Meteorology (BoM) said they observed rainfall in excess of 100 mm per hour to the west of Cairns and near Tully.
BoM said the Barron river reached its highest level in 18 years and Queensland Fire and Emergency Services (QFES) issued an Emergency Alert for people in Caravonica, Kamerunga and Lake Placid.
QFES said: “The Barron River is now at Major Flood levels and critical heights are now being reached. Properties in this area may experience flooding. You should warn neighbours, secure your belongings and consider what actions you need to take if the water levels continue to rise.”
Levels of the Barron river have since fallen. However Major Flood Warnings for the Murray and Herbert rivers and a Moderate Flood Warning for the Tully river remain in place.
Rescues and Evacuations
Over 40 people were rescued from floodwaters at two Cairns caravan parks (Brinsmead and Redlynch) on Monday night.
Queensland Fire and Emergency Services said “More than 40 people have been evacuated from two caravan parks in Cairns overnight and rainfall is likely to continue throughout today. It’s important for everyone in far north Queensland to be aware of current conditions and warnings, and steer clear of floodwater.”
Two people were rescued from their vehicle in Cairns early on Tuesday, while a person was saved after clinging to a tree at Yorkeys Knob in northern Cairns.
There could be dangers lurking beneath the surface of floodwater, and Queensland’s Minister for Environment Leeanne Enoch today urged residents in Far North Queensland to take care.
Ms Enoch said floodwater could contain harmful and contaminated material, and also dangerous wildlife. Bull sharks, crocodiles and snakes could be on the move, and could turn up in flooded areas.
“Crocodiles could be on the move in search of a quiet place to wait out flooding,” Ms Enoch said.
“They usually prefer calmer waters but during periods of flooding they can move into new areas where they haven’t been seen before.
“Bull sharks could also be lurking in the water. Over the years, bull sharks have been spotted in floodwaters in Queensland, including last year following Cyclone Debbie.
“It is important to remain vigilant and avoid floodwaters – you never know what is lurking underneath the surface.”
Minister Enoch also said residents should watch out for snakes.
“Snakes are very good swimmers and may turn up in unexpected places,” Ms Enoch said.
Ex-Tropical Cyclone Iris
From late this week, all eyes will be on ex-Tropical Cyclone Iris in the Coral Sea, which formed near Vanuatu on 25 March, 2018.
This system is now a tropical low and is expected to move towards the Queensland coast over the coming days.