Australia – Queensland Rivers at Record Levels After 600mm of Rain in 48 Hours

Torrential rain and swollen rivers have left communities cut off and farmland inundated in parts of northern Queensland, Australia.

According to figures from Australia’s Bureau of Meteorology (BoM) over 620 mm of rain was recorded in Whyanbeel Valley, situated between Port Douglas and Daintree in northern Queensland, in a 48 hour period to 27 January. Several other areas received over 500mm during the same period.

BoM said the Daintree River rose to 12.6m on 26 January, well above major flood stage of 9m and biggest major flooding of the Daintree River since 1901. Roads have been washed out and the river ferry at Daintree damaged. Local authorities warned that some residents in remote areas could be cut off for days.

Douglas Shire Council Mayor Julia Leu said “We ask everyone to be patient as Douglas Shire recovers from widespread monsoonal rain and the biggest Daintree River flood in 118 years.”

The flooding has also caused problems for the region’s farmers, with some reports of hundreds of cattle being swept away. Local media also reported that one person is thought to have died in the swollen Ross River in Townsville after a body was found on 28 January.

Several flood warnings were still in place for Queensland rivers with more rain forecast, as of 28 January.

Daintree River at Daintree Village Queensland. Image: Australia BOM
Daintree River flood at Daintree, Queensland, January 2019. Photo: Douglas Shire Council

If it is flooded, forget it!

Meanwhile North Queensland warned motorists to stay off flooded roads as the region continues to be inundated with intense rainfall.

Superintendent Geoff Sheldon said too many motorists were putting their lives and the lives of others at risk by ignoring police warnings. Police have charged multiple drivers with driving without due care and attention for travelling through flooded roads in the past three days.

“Despite the huge rainfall and repeated warnings to stay off flooded roads, we are seeing drivers take too many risks and that is not acceptable,” Superintendent Sheldon said.

“Not only are you risking the lives of everyone in your vehicle but you are also putting responding emergency services in danger when they are called to rescue you.

“We are pleading with motorists to stay off the roads if you don’t need to travel but to drive sensibly if you do.

“If it is flooded, forget it!”