Weather Update: Flood emergency in Queensland, 4 February 2019 (2)

Hello again from the Bureau. I’m Adam Morgan and I’m joined by Claire Mills, one of our hydrologists, to give us an update on the flood emergency in north Queensland.

Now Claire, in Townsville last night we saw the flood gates at Ross River Dam opened in response to all the rainfall we’ve had. What’s happening with the flooding on the Ross River today?

That’s right, Adam. We are seeing major flood levels down at Aplin Wier in Townsville at the moment. Now those river levels have stabilised at the moment, but with further heavy rainfall we might see them rise again.

Right, now that risk of rainfall isn’t over yet, and we do still have the Severe Weather Warning current throughout the region, and across the region some locations over the past nine days have seen record rainfall: Townsville over that period has seen a year’s worth of rainfall. What about a little further inland, through the Burdekin catchment, Claire?

We are actually seeing major flood levels in the upper Burdekin catchment at the moment, and we do have a current Major Flood Warning for the Burdekin. At Sellheim, we’re seeing the highest levels we’ve seen in quite a number of years at that location. We are expecting that to peak overnight. And in the Lower Burdekin, we have the Burdekin Falls dam spilling at the moment, and that’s going to result in minor and moderate flooding downstream of that dam.

But it’s not just close to the coast, is it? Even further inland, through western Queensland, where we’ve got a tropical low that’s delivered a whole lot of rain, what sort of flooding are we seeing out towards the Gulf Country?

Yes, we do have quite a few Flood Warnings out through the Gulf and the Channel Country—and that includes a Major Flood Warning for the Flinders River, where we’re seeing major flood levels down in the lower Flinders, but also the possibility with further heavy rainfall to see major flood levels in the upper part of the Flinders as well.

So from the coast right across to the Gulf Country, there’s so much flooding around, Claire, at the moment. What’s the outlook for the week ahead?

Well the flood risk is going to continue during this week and probably into next week—particularly in some of those larger river systems, where that water’s going to take quite a while to move down through.

So Claire, what are we asking the community to do to keep abreast of the latest information?

We’d like the community to keep in touch with their emergency services, and we’d also like them to keep across the Flood Warnings that we have on the website.

That’s a really good point. The Bureau’s website will have all the latest updates on weather and flood forecasts and warnings. You can also keep in touch with us on our app and social media.

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