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Monday, December 05, 2022

Flooding emergency unfolds in Queensland

Residents are preparing to evacuate as Queensland braces for another day of intense rainfall.

A flooding emergency is unfolding across south-east Queensland as heavy rainfall and severe thunderstorms continue to batter large parts of the state.

Hundreds of homes are facing inundation for the second time in recent months with evacuation warnings in place for Gympie, Warwick, Scenic Rim, Millermerran, Lockyer and Stanthorpe.

Residents in Gympie have been warned floodwaters could enter the CBD on Saturday morning as the Mary River hit 12m overnight and will continue to rise.

Major flood alerts have been issued for the Condamine and Balonne Rivers, Logan and Albert Rivers, while a minor flood warning has been issued for the Lower Brisbane River.

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There are more than 550 road closures across the state, including the Bruce Highway which was closed in both directions early Saturday morning.

The SES received nearly 120 calls for help overnight with more than half of calls coming from the North Coast region.

Swiftwater rescue crews evacuated nine adults and nine children from Pomona State School on the Sunshine Coast after they became stranded by floodwaters on Friday afternoon.

Further inland, swiftwater crews rescued four people in Warwick cut off by floodwaters, and a woman who was trapped in her car near Laidley.

Senior forecaster Laura Boekel said widespread rainfall is expected to continue across the state throughout Saturday.

She said a severe weather warning for potentially ‘very intense’ rain could lead to the possibility of flash flooding in southern Capricornia, Wide Bay-Burnett and parts of the southeast coast, north of Brisbane.

“Areas within that severe weather warning are at risk of seeing more intense rainfall within the widespread band,” Ms Boekel said.

“That’s where we can start to see flash flooding and that’s when the situation can become potentially life threatening.”

On Friday afternoon Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said the recent rain is not as heavy as the previous deluge that triggered a flooding crisis which devastated the state in February.

“This rainfall is not what we saw in the previous event, this rainfall is actually more sporadic and not as heavy,” Ms Palaszczuk said.

“But we are still seeing some cases of flooding, and the river rising in particular areas.

“We are asking people where possible, if you don’t need to be out on the roads, please don’t travel unless you absolutely must.”

Residents are being urged to follow safety advice and stay updated on the latest emergency alerts from their local councils and the Bureau of Meteorology.

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