Hundreds of roads have been closed off as emergency flood warnings have been issued across southeast Queensland as the region is predicted to face another flooding disaster over the coming days.
As of Tuesday, May 10, a flood watch was set in place as the state’s Fire and Emergency Services Assistant Commission Andrew Short said his crew had responded to 39 calls in the 24 hours to Tuesday morning.
“We believe that because of … what’s playing out in front of us, we’re going to see those numbers go up,” he told ABC radio.
Short is also strongly advising people against driving in floodwaters as flash flooding is likely.
“Think about your family, think about those around you, think about the rescuers who actually are going to have to come and help you in that event,” he said.
Just north of Mackay, the rainfall has already turned deadly as a body has been found in a car that was swept away by floodwaters and torrential rain.
In Bundaberg, a 60-year-old man spent Wednesday, May 11 clinging to a tree after his car got flooded by rising waters and was rescued the following day after being spotted by local farmers.
Another five people have also managed to escape getting flooded in their cars in Caboolture, north of Brisbane.
Emergency state alerts have also been issued for North Burnett, Gympie, Killarney in the South Downs Region and in Mount Tarampa and Prenzlau.
⚠️Initial Flood Watch for #WideBayBurnett #SEQLD #DarlingDowns #GraniteBelt. Minor to moderate flooding likely across the watch area with isolated major flooding possible. Some catchments have existing #flood warnings. For updates and details: https://t.co/wr6TCCwkXZ pic.twitter.com/wL86tmpEN2
— Bureau of Meteorology, Queensland (@BOM_Qld) May 12, 2022
“Locally intense rainfall with embedded thunderstorms which may lead to dangerous and life-threatening flash flooding is also possible for the central west and parts of the north-west districts,” the Bureau of Meteorology said in an alert.
“Some locations including Townsville, the Central West, Herbert/Burdekin and the Sunshine Coast may receive their highest May rainfall on record this week.”
All Gold Coast beaches have now been closed for a second day as large swells continue to batter the coast.
A powerful surf is expected to come on Friday, May 13, through the weekend, raising the possibility for beaches to remain closed until Monday, May 16.
As per 9News, six-metre wave heights have been recorded off Stradbroke Island with wind gusts of 60 to 70km/h adding to extremely dangerous surf conditions.
Queensland is not the sunshine state today. A broad cloud band full of tropical moisture is bringing rain and thunderstorms for #QLDweather. Warnings are current for heavy rainfall and flooding. Keep up to date with warnings at https://t.co/FBmpsInT9o @QldFES pic.twitter.com/89L9yH4rgw
— Bureau of Meteorology, Queensland (@BOM_Qld) May 10, 2022
Residents in all affected areas of Queensland are strongly urged to have backup emergency plans in place and to follow the advice given by their local councils and emergency crews.
The “unusual” magnitude of rainfall in Queensland in May comes only a few months after the “once in a 100-year event” floods in NSW.
The Insurance Council of Australia revealed this year’s deadly flood crisis in NSW and QLD is set to become the country’s costliest flooding tragedy, with a damage bill stated at almost $3.35 billion.