Several rivers have burst their banks in North Queensland after a 4 days of heavy rain. Many areas have recorded 500 to 700 mm of rain during that time. This is the fourth serious flood event in the state in the last 2 weeks.
Australia’s Bureau of Meteorology (BoM) said that the “flood situation has seen communities isolated, schools closed and highways cut, with overall flood impacts comparable to the February 2009 flood event.”
A disaster declaration was issued on 09 March for the Hinchinbrook Shire Council Local Government area following flooding which has impacted homes and roads around Ingham and Halifax.
Queensland Fire and Emergency Services (QFES) swift-water crews were involved in two rescues in Halifax and Ingham.
Over 70 school children have been left stranded at an adventure camp site near Tully.
BoM said that the heavy rain had extended further inland from the coast than normal, which means stronger flood peaks in through the upper reaches of many river systems.
Major flooding is occurring on the Herbert River at Ingham where 3-day rainfall totals ranging from 300-600mm have been recorded.
Major flood levels are currently nearing a peak at Ingham Pump Station around 14.7 metres which is similar to the February 2009 flood levels.
The Tully River at Euramo is currently at 8.88 metres and rising. The river level at Euramo is expected to peak near the major flood level of 9.00 metres during Friday afternoon. This is close to the February 2009 flood peak of 9.04 metres.
The Murray River at Murray Flats peaked at 8.80 metres around 2pm Friday 09 March, which is higher than the previous record flood level (February 2009, 8.71 metres). The river level is currently at 8.75 metres and commencing to very slowly ease. Major flood levels on the Murray River at Murray Flats is expected to remain above the height of the approaches to the Bruce Highway Bridge during Saturday.
BoM said “over the past 24 hours the rain has continued to stream onto the North Tropical Coast and ranges now for the fourth day running.
Over the past four days many areas have seen between 500 and 700 mm of rain. Bulgun Creek recorded 853 mm and Tully 621 mm during that period.
“This persistent line of rain and thunderstorms has been maintained by an area of converging winds over the Coral Sea.
“What makes the rain even more intense in this part of the world when we have east or southeasterly winds are the mountains that sit very close to the coast.
“When the moist air comes onshore, it hits the ranges and has only one way to go – straight up. This generates even more cloud and intensifies the rainfall.”
The highest rainfall in the 24 hours to 09:00 Friday, 09 March 2018 was 409 mm at Kirrama Range.
Dozens of locations recorded more than 100 mm of rain in the last 24 hours, as the map below shows (red markers indicate > 100 mm of rain).
Seventy-two primary school students from Townsville were left stranded as flood waters surrounded an adventure camp site near Tully, according to a statement by Queensland’s Education Minister Grace Grace.
“The camp is safe and the students, eight staff and a parent there have food and shelter. Police are currently working to resupply them with food and other necessities.”
Minister Grace said she had been assured by police that the party would be moved as soon as it was safe to do so.
“The latest information I have received is that floodwaters are expected to recede over the next 48 hours.”
Queensland’s Fire and Emergency Services Minister Craig Crawford said the declaration of a disaster situation would ensure response agencies had the powers they needed to respond effectively to the flood.
“In a situation like this it is essential that our first responders can take actions to minimise and prevent loss of life, illness and injury, and property and environmental damage,” Mr Crawford said.
“This declaration of a disaster situation gives nominated police, fire, ambulance and health officers the powers they need to manage the situation as it evolves.”
2 Weeks of Flooding in Queensland
The flooding in North Queensland is the latest in a round of flood events that have affected parts of the state for the last 2 weeks.
In late February at least 11 people had to be rescued from flooded vehicles after flash floods in the Greater Brisbane area.
A few days later, persistent heavy rain caused flooding in the north east of the state, in particular around Townsville, which is just under 100km south of the currently affected areas around Ingham.
By 06 March record rainfall in western and central Queensland had caused rivers to overflow. At least 2 people were rescued by helicopter after flooding near Cloncurry.
WARNING: Crocs and snakes may turn up in unexpected places as a result of the heavy rainfall and flooding in parts of North Qld. Report all croc sightings to CrocWatch (1300 130 372) Be Crocwise https://t.co/GawdbCV7v9 @ABCemergency @lifesavingqld @qldFes @hinchinbrooksc pic.twitter.com/0Oxj3TzKJy
— Queensland Environment (@QldEnvironment) March 9, 2018
Hey north Queensland. Stay alert around Ingham and Halifax, where floodwater is impacting homes. Our crews are working in the area. Remember – if it’s flooded, forget it! If you need assistance contact the SES on 132 500 or dial Triple Zero (000) in a life-threatening emergency. pic.twitter.com/gFc6EDDgih
— Qld Fire & Emergency (@QldFES) March 9, 2018
B - Halifax
C - Tully
D - Euramo
E - Murray River near Murray Flats
Herbert River at Halifax - March 9 to March 9, 2018
Major flood stage is 5 metres
Herbert River at Ingham - March 9 to March 9, 2018
Major flood stage is 12 metres
Murray River at Murray Flats - March 9 to March 9, 2018
Major flood stage is 8 metres
Tully River at Euramo - March 9 to March 9, 2018
Major flood stage is 9 metres
Kirrama Range - March 8 to March 9, 2018
Cardwell Range - March 8 to March 9, 2018
Ingham - March 8 to March 9, 2018
Tully Sugar Mill - March 8 to March 9, 2018
Hinchinbrook Shire - March 8 to March 9, 2018
Ingham - March 8 to March 9, 2018