Water over Blunder Rd at Oxley. Picture: Marc Robertson
Water over Blunder Rd at Oxley. Picture: Marc Robertson

Weather chaos: Worst still to come

FLASH flooding has hit southeast Queensland, with firefighters rushing to save three people in floodwaters.

A QFES spokeswoman said the carpark of Toombul Shopping centre, in north Brisbane, has started to flood. There are no reports of people trapped.

Firefighters were called to assist a car in floodwaters in Palm Beach at 10.30am. QFES is also on the way to Widdop St, Hendra, Albion St, Woolloongabba, and Latimer St, Logan Village to reports of vehicles in water.

No rescues have been made yet.

Calls to SES have also spiked in southeast Queensland today.

So far today there have been 110 calls to the SES via Brisbane City Council.

More than 210 calls to SES have been in the Sunshine Coast, and 290 in the Logan, Ipswich and Gold Coast areas throughout the Cyclone Debbie weather event, but it is understood the bulk of the calls have come through just this morning.

A woman wades through floodwater at Tallebudgera. Picture: Greg Stolz
A woman wades through floodwater at Tallebudgera. Picture: Greg Stolz

More than 2400 calls have been made to the SES since March 25 across the affected areas.

Almost 2,000 homes are without power in southeast Queensland as of 11am.

Logan City is the worst affected, with 1875 homes in the dark. The bulk of those homes are in the suburb of Crestmead, according to the Energex website.

In the Sunshine Coast, 72 homes are without power and only 17 homes are affected in the Gold Coast.

No homes in Brisbane are currently affected.

Roads are flooded, schools are closed, and businesses are being warned to shut at noon as heavy rain brings up to 500mm to southeast Queensland.

Swift water rescue experts with Steve Guthrie who was trapped in car. Picture: Mike Batterham
Swift water rescue experts with Steve Guthrie who was trapped in car. Picture: Mike Batterham

All schools from Agnes Water to NSW are closed, including Catholic and independent schools, and police are warning businesses "should think about closing after midday".

All children who are already in school will be taken care of throughout the day, but parents who are able to pick their children up earlier should.

Torrential rain was expected to continue in the southeast until about midnight when the system was expected to clear the Brisbane area.

"Of course we still will have damaging wind gusts along the coastal areas," Mr Bass said. "That won't change. That will persist into tomorrow."

Shoppers scramble for supplies as a wild weather event hits the southeast. Picture: Lexie Cartwright
Shoppers scramble for supplies as a wild weather event hits the southeast. Picture: Lexie Cartwright

Mr Bass said forecasts indicated it would clear the coast by dawn tomorrow but attention was now turning to flood warnings rather than severe storm warnings, which have been cancelled in parts of central Queensland.

"There is of course lots of water in the ground and in river systems so flood warnings are still current within that area," Mr Bass said. "But we have been able to shift the severe weather warning for heavy rainfall and damaging-to-destructive wind gusts further south."

While the system was tracking as expected, Mr Bass said it had started moving a little quicker, with the south east likely to cop the worst of it later today.

"The rain is still ongoing and the damaging winds are still expected along the coast, with gusts of in excess of 90km/h and potentially in excess of 125km/h in elevated terrain and in some of those coastal areas," Mr Bass said.

Shoppers scramble for supplies as a wild weather event hits the southeast. Picture: Lexie Cartwright
Shoppers scramble for supplies as a wild weather event hits the southeast. Picture: Lexie Cartwright

Mr Bass said some areas could receive more than 400mm.

"Those areas likely to see in excess of 400ml are likely to be in the Gold Coast hinterland the Sunshine Coast hinterland," he said.

It's chaos in Coles and Woolworths at Pacific Fair but it's a different story everywhere else, with many retailers shutting up shop including David Jones and Myer.

Gold Coast residents have flooded major shopping centres this morning after authorities advised everyone to stay indoors from midday.

Broadbeach mum-of-four Hayley Donnelly said she was forced to make a quick trip to the shops because "the kids will go crazy inside without enough food."

Flooding at Stones Corner in Brisbane. Picture: Darren England
Flooding at Stones Corner in Brisbane. Picture: Darren England

"I needed to make sure we're stocked up with the basics like bread and milk as well," she said.

"I'm not sure when we'll have the opportunity to get out again.

"Especially if it's going to get as bad as they say there's no way we'll be able to go outside and everything might close by then."

Popular cafes and shops are closed in normally busy areas throughout Surfers Paradise, Broadbeach and Burleigh.

Bustling streets including Cavill Avenue and Surf Parade, littered with the city's busiest eateries and retailers, are a ghost town.

The tropical low associated with ex-tropical Cyclone Debbie is more intense than expected, Police Commissioner Ian Stewart has said.

Flooding at Stones Corner in Brisbane. Picture: Darren England
Flooding at Stones Corner in Brisbane. Picture: Darren England

Authorities were aware and prepared for the low to track southeast but the event has been worse than first predicted.

"We're seeing unprecedented rain and flash flooding," Commissioner Stewart said.

There are reports of flooding at St Lucia at 10.30am.

The Bruce Highway was closed at Deception Bay about 9am Thursday.

More than 200 roads are closed in Queensland at 8am Thursday.

All non-essential public servants have been sent home, Deputy Premier Jackie Trad says.

All beaches from Mackay to the Gold Coast are closed.

Public transport in southeast Queensland will be free from 10am.

Flash flooding has closed roads near Robina Town Centre on the Gold Coast.

There are unconfirmed reports of manholes lifting from floodwater across southeast.

All trials in the Brisbane District Court will be adjourned today.

Flooding at Toombul.Pic: Mark Cranitch.
Flooding at Toombul.Pic: Mark Cranitch.

"Peak hour will probably be a nightmare this afternoon," Ms Trad said.

Employers should consider staggering the times at which people are released from work, she said.

Virgin Australia and Tiger Air have confirmed cancellation of all services on the Gold Coast from 12noon..

Cars have been swamped by floodwaters on the Gold Coast after torrential rain.

A car park at Robina is underwater, with cars submerged up to the windows.

The Hinze Dam is at 107 per cent capacity and water is tumbling over the spillway.

Some smaller dams on the Sunshine Coast have started spilling excess water as the council prepares for up to 400 mm of rain.

A storm surge of up to 500mm is expected.

The ungated Ewen Maddock Dam, near Landsborough is already releasing water and outflows have increased from the Wappa Dam.

Parts of the Gold Coast have been receiving almost 300mm of rain over the past 12 hours while the worst is yet to come for Brisbane.

In the Gold Coast Hinterland region more than 287mm has been recorded at Numinbah and 267mm at Upper Springbrook since 9pm on Wednesday while at Brisbane Airport 56mm has fallen, including 21mm, since 7am.

Closer to Brisbane's CBD, the BoM recorded 43mm at Chandler, 37mm at Pullenvale, 35mm at Wynnum and 34mm at Lytton between 7am-8am, .

Bellbird Park, which only received 20mm from 7am-8am, has been soaked with 78mm since 6am.

Residents and holidaymakers on North Stradbroke Island and Rainbow Beach are being hit hard by the fall-out of ex-Tropical Cyclone Debbie with almost 40mm being dumped on both areas from 9am to 10am Thursday.

The Bureau Of Meteorology recorded 38mm at Point Lookout on North Stradbroke Island and 32mm at Rainbow Beach between 9am-10am as relentless rain hammers the southeast Queensland.

Also feeling the effects hard is Beaudesert, which has received 32.4 mm in past hour and more than 108mm since midnight, while Archerfield has had 138mm since midnight.

Some parts of the Gold Coast have received almost 300mm of rain over the past 24 hours while the worst is yet to come for Brisbane.

In the Gold Coast Hinterland region 299mm has been recorded at Numinbah and 288mm at Upper Springbrook in the 24 hours to 9am on Thursday.

Bureau Of Meteorology forecaster Julian De Morton said it's bleak outlook for remainder of the day with the sun to remain hidden behind a massive cloud mass which is drenching the southeast.

He said inland areas between the Sunshine Coast and Brisbane have been the most heavily affected so far with Woodford receiving a 187mm drenching and Mt Nebo recording 126mm since 3am.

He said inland areas between the Sunshine Coast and Brisbane have been the most heavily affected so far with Woodford receiving a 187mm drenching and Mt Nebo recording 126mm since 3am.

"There is a fair bit more to go in southeast Queensland," Mr De Morton said.

"We've got one band (low pressure system) in the eastern parts of Capricornia District moving into the Wide Bay Burnett District and then we've got a secondary area of convergence which is causing another area of heavy rainfall around southeast Queensland.

"Basically, it will be cloudy all day and wet and we'd really like people to adhere to the weather warning."

He said there would be falls averaging 150mm to 200mm across southeast Queensland but some areas would experience falls well in excess of that.

Other major rainfalls in southeast Queensland since 5am include 64 mm at Beerburrum, 40mm at Archerfield, 74mm at Tewantin and 28mm at Coolangatta.

Several roads including busy Somerset Drive at Mudgeeraba have been closed due to flooding.

Lifeguards are assessing beaches but the large swell predicted from ex-Tropical Cyclone Debbie is not expected to hit until tomorrow.

Four dams are now overflowing.

- Hinze Dam is at 104.9 per cent capacity

- Little Nerang Dam is at 113.6 per cent capacity

- Wappa Dam is at 106.2 per cent capacity

- Wyaralong Dam is at 100.6 per cent capacity.

Maroon Dam and Moogerah Dam is also almost full.

Queensland's cyclone emergency is far from over as a rescue operation continues near Mackay and the state's southeast faces flash flooding, the premier says.

Annastacia Palaszczuk was heading back to Brisbane on Thursday after visiting areas hit by the category four Cyclone Debbie earlier this week.

She will attend emergency meetings about the crisis that's forced the closure of every single school in the Queensland's southeast corner.

The government made the call early on Thursday after hearing the rain depression that used to be Cyclone Debbie could dump about a month's worth of rain over the region in the next 24 hours.

Bureau of Meterology senior forecaster Matthew Bass said it was difficult to model for flash flooding because predictions were based on the intensity of the rainfall.

"What we do know, though, is that we're expecting those heavy falls in a short duration of time," Mr Bass said.

"We've already seen some of those this morning - particularly in the Gold Coast hinterland."

Mr Stewart warned anywhere between 400-500mm of rain is predicted to fall on southeast Queensland.

"Do not underestimate the power of this rainfall," he said.

The Moreton Bay Regional Council will open four evacuation centres at 10am this morning as the Bureau of Meteorology forecasts falls of up to 400mm in some places.

Evacuation centres include:

- Woodford Memorial Community Hall, 103 Archer Street Woodford

- Caboolture Memorial Hall, King Street Caboolture

- Bribie Island Recreation Hall, 156A First Ave Bongaree

- Watson Park Convention Centre, 7th Day Adventist, Old Gympie Road Dakabin.

SANDBAG LOCATIONS

SUNSHINE COAST COUNCIL

Caloundra: SES Caloundra Depot, Ulm Street South, Caloundra (from 9am)

Nambour: SES Nambour, Old Woombye Depot, 38-70 Woombye Palmwoods Road, Woombye (from 10am)

Maroochydore: SES Maroochydore, Elizabeth Daniels Park, Syd Lingard Drive, Buderim (from 11am)

Coolum: SES Coolum, Cnr Sunrise Avenue & Elizabeth Street, Coolum (4pm-7pm)

Kenilworth: SES Kenilworth, 1 Margaret Street, Kenilworth

Maleny: SES Maleny, Cattle Pavillion, Maleny Showgrounds, Stanley River Road, Maleny

BRISBANE CITY COUNCIL

Darra: South Depot, 38 Shamrock Road

 

Morningside: Balmoral Depot, 9 Redfern Street

Newmarket: SES Depot, 66 Wilston Road

Zillmere: North Depot, 33 Jennings Street

Lota: Herbert Street, Lota

MORETON BAY CITY COUNCIL

Arana Hills: Arana Hills SES, 2 Pine Hills Drive (off Jinker Track), Arana Hills

Beachmere: Rogers Street Sports Grounds, Rogers Street, Beachmere

Bribie Island: Bribie Island SES, 208-224 First Avenue, Bribie Island

Caboolture: Caboolture Council Depot Car Park (opposite depot), Commercial Drive at Machinery Parade intersection

Deception Bay: Deception Bay Council Depot carpark, Old Bay Road, Deception Bay

Elimbah: Opposite the church in the median strip, Coronation Drive, Elimbah

Margate: Opposite Council Depot, Jull Street, Margate

Narangba: Oakey Flat Road, Between Raynbird Road roundabout and Sovereign Drive roundabout

Petrie: Petrie SES, 3 Woonara Drive, Petrie

Toorbul: Toorbul Community and Sports Centre / Toorbul and Donnybrook Pensioners Club

1774 Pumicestone Road Toorbul

Woodford: Woodford Council Depot, Mary Street, Woodford

Woodford Memorial Hall (rear car park), 109 Archer Street, Woodford

GOLD COAST CITY COUNCIL

Coomera: 232 Old Pacific Highway, Pimpama

Miami: 2 Ozone Parade, Miami8

Tugun: 56 Boyd Street, Tugun

Queensland Ambulance is asking parents to consider the risks of travel to and from school today.

"Do not leave your children at school late," Mr Stewart said.

"Schools open at this stage but call will be made later."

Education Queensland has urged parents to make a captain's call on their child's safety as the weather worsens in southeast Queensland.

 

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