Australia – Flooding Continues in North Queensland, Disaster Declared in Townsville

The heavy rain has continued to fall in North Queensland, with flooding affecting areas around Townsville from 30 January, 2019. A few days earlier wide areas of the north of the state recorded more than 500mm in 48 hours, causing the Daintree River to reach record levels.

Australia’s Bureau of Meteorology said that 370 mm of rain fell in 24 hours to 30 Janaury in Paluma near Townsville. A Major Flood Warning has been issued for Ross and Bohle Rivers around Townsville and the Herbert River at Halifax.

Queensland’s State Emergency Service (SES) issued warnings for potential evacuation of residents in Alligator Creek, Nome and Julago. Some evacuations have already been carried out in Giru, south east of Townsville, where the Haugghton River stood at 3.10m on 31 Janaury, well above Major Flood Stage of 2.5m.

SES said they had received 105 requests for assistance across northern and central Queensland in the 24 hours to early 31 January and that their swiftwater rescue crews had performed 4 rescues. An extra 10 swiftwater rescue firefighters have been deployed to affected areas.

Dept of Transport and Main Roads, Queensland said some roads have been blocked by flooding and landslides near Townsville, where public transport services have also been severely disrupted.

Flooded road in Townsville. Photo: Queensland Police
Landslides and floods have blocked roads around Townsville. Photo: Dept of Transport and Main Roads, Queensland
Landslides and floods have blocked roads around Townsville. Photo: Dept of Transport and Main Roads, Queensland

Queensland Government Declare Townsville a Disaster Situation

After an emergency briefing, the Queensland State government declared a disaster situation for Townsville on 31 January. The government said the severe weather is a once in 20 year event.

The Queensland Premier, Annastacia Palaszczuk, ordered all Townsville schools and childcare centres to close on 01 February, 2019. “We need to ensure everyone’s safety,” the Premier said.

“The bureau’s advice is, if this monsoonal weather continues, the next few days could see more heavy rainfall.”

The Premier said people should take care on the roads, stay home if possible and remember if it’s flooded forget it.

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