Queensland to endure 24 hours of dangerous floods as massive storm dumps 1,139mm of rain


Southeast Queensland will endure about 24 hours of torrential rain from a storm that has already dumped 1,139mm of unceasing rain and killed six people. 

Tens of thousands of residents are without power and thousands of homes and businesses are completely submerged under rising floodwaters.

More than 20,000 people in Brisbane’s western suburbs are cut off from the rest of the world with all roads in and out flooded so badly cars and truck can’t move through and food may have to be airdropped in. 

Authorities said the situation is ‘evolving’ and warned of more major thunderstorms and showers on Sunday while the state’s south-east prepares for another 24 hours of life-threatening rain.

Severe warnings are in place for Brisbane, Logan, and Moreton, with water levels already worse than the 2011 and 2013 floods in several areas including Gympie, according to the Bureau of Meteorology – while the Sunshine Coast is expected to endure its heaviest rain event since 1992.

The Brisbane River reached 3.1m on Sunday morning, as the massive storm cells sweeps over the south-east of the state and into NSW’s northern regions.

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk defended her staff’s lack of preparedness and urged residents in a press conference on Sunday morning to listen to the advice coming from weather experts and said it was ‘completely unforeseen it would stay for so long.’ 

‘We were advised today we expected the system to be moving. It hasn’t moved. We don’t control nature,’ she said.

‘Queensland, we listened to the expert advice when it came to the pandemic, and now we have to listen to the expert advice when it comes to the management of the dam, but also to the advice that’s coming from the bureau.’  

NSW officials are increasingly concerned the same ‘significant’ event will batter its northern areas, with Premier Dominic Perrottet saying rain will ‘increase’ throughout the week.

‘We know that whilst there might be blue skies in certain parts of NSW, that that does not mean that there will not be significant flooding events that occur over the course of this week,’ he said in a press conference on Sunday.

‘So please, please, do not be complacent. Please be prepared. If you are in an area where there has been a flood warning or in an area where there is an evacuation warning as well, please get ready, please be prepared and please follow the instructions as they are issued.’ 

A 1,000mm rainbomb continues to deepen the crisis across Queensland and New South Wales with six people confirmed dead and tens of thousands of residents without power

A 1,000mm rainbomb continues to deepen the crisis across Queensland and New South Wales with six people confirmed dead and tens of thousands of residents without power

People have seen their homes and businesses completely submerged by rising floodwaters as the once-in-a-lifetime weather event makes its way down Australia's east coast

People have seen their homes and businesses completely submerged by rising floodwaters as the once-in-a-lifetime weather event makes its way down Australia’s east coast

A family use a tinny to cross waters in Logan after the river flooded the area south of Brisbane on Sunday morning

A family use a tinny to cross waters in Logan after the river flooded the area south of Brisbane on Sunday morning

Residents attempt to enter their home in Brisbane's Southside on Sunday morning with rising floodwaters making it unsafe for some people to go home

Residents attempt to enter their home in Brisbane’s Southside on Sunday morning with rising floodwaters making it unsafe for some people to go home

The huge rainbomb continues to make its way from south-eastern Queensland into northern areas of New South Wales - with experts warning 'life-threatening' weather is still yet to come

The huge rainbomb continues to make its way from south-eastern Queensland into northern areas of New South Wales – with experts warning ‘life-threatening’ weather is still yet to come

Ailsa Schofield from the Bureau of Meteorology said there is the chance for the Northern Rivers and mid-north coast regions of NSW to see up to 250mm of rain on Sunday.

‘There is some very serious weather on its way. The weather system that we’ve seen travelling from Queensland is now moving into New South Wales and we have already seen some very heavy rainfall totals,’ she said. 

‘There is very serious and life-threatening flash flooding.’

She also warned there is potential for the severe storm system to move its way down to the lower parts of the state due to a low pressure system, which could see Sydney and the south coast in the firing line. 

Communities affected by severe storms and floods across NSW in February and March are receiving an additional $200 million in a jointly funded support package from the Commonwealth and NSW governments.

The NSW storm and flood recovery package includes infrastructure recovery programs and community mental health initiatives.

‘We know it has been a long and difficult road for NSW communities who were affected by these devastating weather events,’ Minister for Emergency Management and National Recovery and Resilience Bridget McKenzie said.

‘The NSW Storm and Flood Recovery Package is essential in supporting industry recovery, rebuilding community infrastructure, and safeguarding mental health and community wellbeing across the 78 LGAs that were heavily impacted.’

NSW Deputy Premier Paul Toole said it was vital to continue to deliver programs that meet the unique recovery needs of every community.

‘We have already supported clean-up, provided recovery grants for small businesses and primary producers, and delivered several recovery projects to provide immediate relief and kick-start recovery,’ Mr Toole said.

Federal Finance Minister Simon Birmingham told Sky News’ Sunday Agenda program it has also been terribly difficult times for flood-hit Queensland.

‘The government has activated all the different levers to provide assistance to communities there,’ he said.

‘We will be standing, of course, with Queenslanders and working closely with the Queensland government and local governments to provide whatever they need to get through those tragic flooding situations there.’

Authorities said the situation is 'evolving' and warned of more major thunderstorms and showers on Sunday morning while the state's south east prepares for another 24 hours of life-threatening rain

Authorities said the situation is ‘evolving’ and warned of more major thunderstorms and showers on Sunday morning while the state’s south east prepares for another 24 hours of life-threatening rain

Locals watch on as roads are completely submerged by rising floodwaters seeping off the Logan River, south of Brisbane

Locals watch on as roads are completely submerged by rising floodwaters seeping off the Logan River, south of Brisbane

The Maroochy River in Maroochydore has flooded onto the streets of the coastal town on Queensland's Sunshine Coast - with residents having to walk through floodwaters to access supplies

The Maroochy River in Maroochydore has flooded onto the streets of the coastal town on Queensland’s Sunshine Coast – with residents having to walk through floodwaters to access supplies

Three men cross the Logan River in a small boat after severe rain thrashed south-east QLD on Saturday and Sunday

Three men cross the Logan River in a small boat after severe rain thrashed south-east QLD on Saturday and Sunday 

Brisbane’s Lord Mayor Adrian Schrinner said many Queenslanders would be ‘reviving memories of the 2011 floods’ but said people should be well educated with the potential for disaster in their areas as a result. 

‘The Brisbane community has seen this before. They know where the levels will rise. They’ve seen it in the past. They know which creeks in their local area will come up,’ he said.

‘They’ve had access since 2011 to flood monitoring for their particular property. The monitoring is there about each individual’s flood risk in their property. This is a rapidly evolving situation. We are working well together at the three levels of government. This situation will continue to evolve.’  

He warned properties in Brisbane City, Bulimba, Hamilton, Milton, New Farm, Newstead, Norman Park, Oxley, Rocklea, South Brisbane, St Lucia, Teneriffe, Toowong, West End, Windsor and Yeronga were at risk of flooding.

The Brisbane River is currently sitting at 3.1metres, with boats smashing into the Milton ferry terminal causing pontoons to wash away. 

Mr Shrinner said the estimate includes situations where flood water may enter the front or backyard of a property, but does not necessarily enter the home. 

He urged affected residents to prepare for potential flooding and know when it’s time to evacuate the area.  

The rising waters have started to effect infrastructure and power throughout the state, with electricity companies including Energex reporting their stations in Brisbane were completely flooded. 

The Milton substation is set to be switched off, which will see thousands of homes in the Queensland capital without power for days. There were 21,000 customers reporting they had no power at 7:45am on Sunday morning.

‘Some hardest hit areas won’t have power resupplied until into next week,’ Energex said.   

Experts believe floodwaters have peaked in Gympie, but Brisbane and areas of south-east Queensland and northern NSW are now the focus with further catastrophic weather events predicted. 

Water levels in Brisbane and Gympie are already worse than the 2011 and 2013 floods, according to the Bureau of Meteorology - while the Sunshine Coast is expected to endure its heaviest rain event since 1992 (pictured: Submerged cars in Fairfield in Brisbane's inner-south)

Water levels in Brisbane and Gympie are already worse than the 2011 and 2013 floods, according to the Bureau of Meteorology – while the Sunshine Coast is expected to endure its heaviest rain event since 1992 (pictured: Submerged cars in Fairfield in Brisbane’s inner-south)

Pictured: Gympie - The regional city has been battered by heavy rain since the start of the weekend as the downpour rips across southern Queensland

Pictured: Gympie – The regional city has been battered by heavy rain since the start of the weekend as the downpour rips across southern Queensland

Queensland’s Deputy Police Commissioner Steve Gollschewski has urged people not to leave home unless absolutely necessary.

In Gympie, 700 people along the swollen Mary River – expected to rise above its highest level in 23 years in the next 24 hours – began evacuating, while supplies were delivered to an Indigenous community in nearby Cherbourg set to be cut off by floodwaters.

Heavy rain and potential flash flooding are forecast from Kingaroy through to the NSW border on Sunday and intense falls are predicted for an area encompassing Hervey Bay, Yarraman, Toowoomba and Ipswich.

There is major flooding at Tewantin near Noosa and Picnic Point and Dunethin Rock on the Sunshine Coast, while flood warnings are in place for multiple waterways.

Brisbane Lord Mayor Adrian Schrinner on Saturday evening issued a warning for 16 suburbs along the Brisbane River, saying “several thousand properties” could be inundated.

Water is being released from Brisbane’s Wivenhoe Dam. The Moogerah Dam, inland from the Gold Coast, is also spilling, as is the Atkinson Dam.

In NSW, a severe weather alert for Sunday spans 450km from the Queensland border to Port Macquarie.

There is a risk of “life-threatening flash flooding particularly during Sunday afternoon and evening” across the Northern Rivers and Mid North Coast, in areas including Lismore, Grafton, Coffs Harbour and Dorrigo, said Gabrielle Woodhouse, Senior Meteorologist from the Bureau of Meteorology.

On Sunday and into Monday, the Northern Rivers and Mid North Coast are expected to see “widespread, high rainfall totals” exceeding 100mm, she said.

Late on Saturday, the Insurance Council of Australia declared an insurance catastrophe for southeast Queensland, with claims and assessment teams to begin helping householders as soon as it is safe to do so.

The federal government says disaster assistance has been activated for 10 local councils in Queensland’s southeast. 

Police divers found father-of-three Phil Sugg's (pictured) body and car near Goomboorian on Saturday afternoon after an extensive land and air search

Police divers found father-of-three Phil Sugg’s (pictured) body and car near Goomboorian on Saturday afternoon after an extensive land and air search

Nolan Meats worker Phil Sugg, 37, (pictured) lost his life after his car was swept away in floodwaters in Gympie, north of Brisbane on Friday night

Nolan Meats worker Phil Sugg, 37, (pictured) lost his life after his car was swept away in floodwaters in Gympie, north of Brisbane on Friday night 

A father-of-three has been identified as the fifth victim of the once-in-a-lifetime weather event, while another man was confirmed dead on Sunday morning taking the death toll to six. 

Nolan Meats worker Phil Sugg, 37, disappeared in floodwaters while driving along Tin Can Bay Road in Gympie, 150km north of the Queensland capital, about 10pm on Friday night. 

Police dive squad officers found his body in flood waters in nearby Goomboorian on Saturday afternoon after an extensive land and air search.

A colleague said the father and ex-Gympie State High School student had recently been promoted to team leader at Nolan Meats and was ‘well liked by the boys on the slaughter floor’, reported The Courier Mail. 

Early on Sunday morning another man from Moorooka drowned attempting to flee his submerged vehicle caught in floodwaters.

The 34-year-old was found dead on Witton Road at Indooroopilly at 2:45am – the sixth person in Queensland to lose their life in this week’s floods, which has been caused by a slow-moving low pressure trough sitting over the NSW/ Queensland border for the past five days. 

Dramatic footage has emerged of a rescue from a local hero on Saturday night after Lockyer Valley resident Shane Dickson waded into dangerous waters to save a man named Leo.

Mr Dickson and a friend said they heard a man screaming while standing beside the rising floodwaters, before seeing a man named Leo being washed downstream.

‘Help, I can’t breathe,’ Leo said, as he disappeared underwater three times. 

The pair followed him for more than 300metres before Mr Dickson swum into the water and dragged him to safety.

‘I thought I seen someone in the water and that was it, there was,’ Mr Dickson said.

‘Had to go about 300 metres off the road (to get to him). I had to wait to get my breath back to get him.’      

Dramatic footage has emerged of a rescue from a local hero on Saturday night after Lockyer Valley resident Shane Dickson waded into dangerous waters to save a man named Leo (pictured

Dramatic footage has emerged of a rescue from a local hero on Saturday night after Lockyer Valley resident Shane Dickson waded into dangerous waters to save a man named Leo (pictured

The men followed Leo for more than 300metres before Mr Dickson swum into the water and dragged him to safety

The men followed Leo for more than 300metres before Mr Dickson swum into the water and dragged him to safety

Merryl Dray, 62, - a member of the Lowood SES Group – drowned while trying to help a family escape floodwaters at Coolana, west of Brisbane, on Friday night

Merryl Dray, 62, – a member of the Lowood SES Group – drowned while trying to help a family escape floodwaters at Coolana, west of Brisbane, on Friday night

Brisbane’s Lord Mayor Mr Schrinner on Saturday evening issued a flood warning for 16 suburbs across the city as the Brisbane River threatens to burst its banks. 

‘There’s concerns that overnight flows from the upper catchments into the Brisbane River, combined with possible Wivenhoe Dam releases, will coincide with tomorrow morning’s high tide,’ Mr Schrinner wrote on Twitter. 

Police continue to search for a yachtsman missing in the swollen Brisbane River, as severe weather warnings span almost 1000km of NSW and Queensland coastline and the death toll from severe flooding rises to seven.

The sole sailor, aged in his 70s, fell overboard from his vessel near the mouth of Breakfast Creek around 4.45pm on Saturday.

Three water police vessels searched for him until nightfall but their efforts were suspended due to dangerous weather and debris in the river.

The search resumed at first light Sunday, involving water police vessels, general duties officers, coastguard personnel and volunteers.

Meanwhile, severe weather warnings are in place from Bundaberg in the Wide Bay-Burnett region of Queensland through to Port Macquarie on the NSW mid north coast.

A ‘completely unpredictable’ extreme rain event has killed six people in the northern state, with hundreds evacuated.  

A Queensland town is underwater and five people have died as the worst flooding in 30 years hits the state - as 2,000 calls were made for help. Pictured are the floodwaters near Gympie

A Queensland town is underwater and five people have died as the worst flooding in 30 years hits the state – as 2,000 calls were made for help. Pictured are the floodwaters near Gympie

SES crews are pictured on Saturday monitoring traffic on roads damaged by flood waters in the state's south-east

SES crews are pictured on Saturday monitoring traffic on roads damaged by flood waters in the state’s south-east 

Six-hourly rainfall of 300mm is possible overnight while the state's south east prepares for another 24 hours of life-threatening rain (pictured, the flooding near Gympie)

Six-hourly rainfall of 300mm is possible overnight while the state’s south east prepares for another 24 hours of life-threatening rain (pictured, the flooding near Gympie)

The Bureau of Meteorology warned of a dangerous unfolding weather event in south-east Queensland. Major flood warnings are marked above in red

The Bureau of Meteorology warned of a dangerous unfolding weather event in south-east Queensland. Major flood warnings are marked above in red

Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk warned of intense rainfall across Hervey Bay to the Gold Coast and west to Toowoomba on Saturday via Twitter

Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk warned of intense rainfall across Hervey Bay to the Gold Coast and west to Toowoomba on Saturday via Twitter 

Evacuation centres will open from 6am Sunday for residents displaced by floods at  Chandler in Brisbane’s outer south-east. 

The military has also been brought in to assist in rescues across the state’s south east, with three MHR-90 Taipan helicopters commissioned for rescue operations.  

As of 6am Saturday, Brisbane received up to 206mm of rainfall, making it the city’s  wettest day since 1974.

The deluge brings the city’s total rainfall to 322.2mm, equalling two months worth of rain in the span of four days.   

Gympie has been completely inundated by floodwaters, with aerial footage showing the town swamped by rising water, the main road cut off and buildings submerged.   

There are similar warnings in place for large parts of New South Wales with heavy thunderstorms and showers expected on Sunday afternoon.

The SES said there will be up to 250mm in a six-hour period, with north-east areas of the state to cop as much as 500mm across Sunday and Monday.

Something ive never seen before. Inland ocean

Posted by Luke Pomerenke on Thursday, February 24, 2022

Residents of the Northern Rivers and mid-north coast are being urged to prepare for life-threatening flash flooding.  

‘We are reminding all members of the public, do not walk, drive or ride through flood water. It’s not worth your life,’ a spokesperson said. 

The Bureau of Meteorology expects floodwater levels to continue rising in Queensland and beat the record 21.95m set in 1999. 

An alert was sent out at 5am on Sunday morning warning that the worst of the storm could be yet to come and asking homeowners and businesses to get ready. 

‘This low is expected to track southward along the Southeast Queensland coast and into northeastern New South Wales today producing further heavy to locally intense rainfall with embedded thunderstorms,’ the alert said.

‘Heavy rainfall which may lead to flash flooding is forecast to continue over parts of southeast Queensland today. Six-hourly rainfall totals between 60mm and 120mm are likely to continue, reaching up to 150mm over areas southeast of Caloundra to Warwick.

‘Locally intense rainfall leading to dangerous and life-threatening flash flooding is possible with thunderstorms during this period, particularly over coastal areas south of Caloundra and the Gold Coast hinterland.

‘Six-hourly rainfall totals in excess of 200mm are possible.’ 

Gympie, north of Brisbane, was completely inundated by floodwaters on Saturday

Gympie, north of Brisbane, was completely inundated by floodwaters on Saturday

Aerial footage shows the town swamped by rising waters with the main road cut off and buildings submerged

More than 300mm of rain fell in multiple areas around Brisbane, the Lockyer Valley and Sunshine Coast.

At Mt Glorious, north west of Brisbane, 690mm of rain fell in the ten hours from 9am Friday.  

The SES received more than 2,000 calls for help and carried out 132 swift water rescues in the last 24 hours across the impacted region. 

The five deaths also include an SES volunteer who died while attempting to rescue a family trapped by floodwaters at Coolana, west of Brisbane, on Friday. 

Merryl Dray, 62, – a member of the Lowood SES Group – died when her vehicle was swept away as she tried to help a family escape rising floodwaters at Coolana, west of Brisbane, on Friday night.

 Forensic Crash Unit officers are investigating the incident.

The body of a 55-year-old Camp Hill man was discovered at Stones Corner, south of Brisbane, at 1.30am on Saturday. 

A 54-year-old man was killed when trying to ride a motorbike through rising water at Gympie and a 63-year-old woman’s body was found in a submerged car on the Sunshine Coast during the week.  

Major flood warnings have been issued for Mary and Mooloolah rivers, Maroochy and Noosa rivers, Upper Brisbane and Stanley rivers and the Bremer River, along with Laidley, Lockyer and Warrill creeks. 

‘In some parts of south east Queensland, this is the biggest event that they will see in a number of decades and the rain has not stopped. In fact, there are some parts where it is intensifying,’ Police Minister Mark Ryan said on Saturday morning.

A Queensland SES volunteer who was on his way to rescue a family stranded in flood waters has died as wild weather continues to batter the state and NSW

A Queensland SES volunteer who was on his way to rescue a family stranded in flood waters has died as wild weather continues to batter the state and NSW

Already saturated catchments are increasing the flood risk and Mr Ryan advised people to take extra caution in the coming days.

‘I need everyone out there to be making sensible decisions,’ he says.   

Residents in the Lockyer Valley town of Grantham, where a three-metre wall of water swept through and devastated the community in 2011, heard flood sirens on Friday as residents of low-lying areas were told to move to higher ground.

Six people took refuge on the roofs of homes as emergency crews made plans to rescue them, with the weather so severe aircraft was unable to assist.  

The deaths come after a family was rescued by helicopter, the SES responded to hundreds of calls for help and more flood warnings were issued for Queensland and severe thunderstorms forecast for NSW (pictured, a car is towed from a flood road in Oxley on Saturday)

The deaths come after a family was rescued by helicopter, the SES responded to hundreds of calls for help and more flood warnings were issued for Queensland and severe thunderstorms forecast for NSW (pictured, a car is towed from a flood road in Oxley on Saturday)

More than a month's worth of rain fell in 24 hours in parts of the southeast (pictured, flooding in Gympie, Queensland)

More than a month’s worth of rain fell in 24 hours in parts of the southeast (pictured, flooding in Gympie, Queensland)

A family watches rising waters in Goodna, near the City of Ipswich on Saturday

A family watches rising waters in Goodna, near the City of Ipswich on Saturday 

A family watches flood waters rise along Tiger Street in Ipswich, south-west of Brisbane, on Saturday

A family watches flood waters rise along Tiger Street in Ipswich, south-west of Brisbane, on Saturday

‘The evolution of this system and its relatively slow movement will continue to cause significant and prolonged impacts across south east Queensland over the weekend,’ the bureau warns.

Locally intense rainfall that could lead to dangerous flash flooding is possible, and could heighten the risk of landslides.

Motorists are warned to take care on the roads with debris likely. 

A family-of-five and their dog were retrieved by helicopter from their home in a regional area southwest of Gympie after it was cut off by rising waters in both directions on Friday afternoon.

The family guided rescuers from the Sunshine Coast RACQ LifeFlight Rescue using coordinates, and were rescued about 1.45pm. 

What you need to know: the flood situation in Queensland to date

  • SES volunteer Merryl Dray, 62, died while responding to call for help in Coolana in Ipswich on Friday night
  • Body of meat worker and father-of-three Phil Sugg, 37, was found in floodwaters on Saturday
  • A 54-year-old man was killed when trying to ride a motorbike through rising water at Gympie 
  • A 63-year-old woman’s body was found in a submerged car on the Sunshine Coast during the week
  • Body of Camp Hill man found in water at Stones Corner in Brisbane’s south
  • New storm warning issued for south-east Queensland, with falls of up to 300mm possible 
  • Gympie braced for worst flooding in living memory
  • Very dangerous storm warnings continue for the South East
  • Major flood warnings for: Mary and Mooloolah rivers, Maroochy and Noosa rivers, Upper Brisbane and Stanley rivers and the Bremer River, along with Laidley, Lockyer and Warrill creeks
  • Ipswich residents leave inundated homes for evacuation centres
  •  Bruce Hwy between Brisbane and Maryborough currently cut in several spots
  • Emergency Alert issued for Logan
  • The Bremer River at Ipswich is currently at 12.97 metres and rising, with major flooding, the BOM has reported.
  • Gympie City and Southside residents told to evacuate



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