Record rain wreaks havoc across Queensland, affects food supply

Record rain wreaks havoc across Queensland, affects food supply

Record-breaking rain and flooding it caused wreaked havoc across Queensland, Australia during the past 7 days, forcing evacuations, causing power outages, road closures, and widespread crop losses. At least 1 person has been killed and six are missing. For farmers, it's been one extreme to another, from drought to deluge.

There were more than 600 calls for assistance across Queensland since the rainfall event started last Friday, October 13. Severe rainfall spread from central coast to far north where more than 14 000 people lost power during the peak of the outage due to rain and severe winds. The power was restored to all but 2 000 customers as of early Thursday, October 19.

Queensland Farmers Federation project manager Ross Henry said hundreds of sugarcane farms were damaged and other crops, such as capsicums and tomatoes, were at risk. 

"It's been one extreme to another for these farmers, from drought to floods," Henry told AAP. "Crops have been badly devastated going into summer."

"In Monto alone, some of the farmers have lost not just their winter crops but their summer crops," Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk told reporters on Thursday, October 19.

This wave of severe weather seems to be over now. A trough moving through southern inland regions today will bring rain to the coast on Saturday, but is not expected to deliver the high rainfall totals seen earlier in the week, BOM said.

The rain will ease as it moves to the east coast on Saturday and areas recently affected in the Wide Bay and Burnett region are not expected to be significantly impacted by the latest weather system. Flood levels are easing for all catchments and will continue to be monitored over the weekend.

However, Queensland Fire and Emergency Services is still urging the public to stay tuned for the latest official forecasts and warnings from the Bureau of Meteorology and follow the advice of local emergency services. Avoid travel if possible while warnings are in place don't drive through flood waters.

The combined rainfall totals from this week and earlier this month, have seen new October records* as shown below:

  • Bundaberg 533 mm (20.98 inches) (previously 281 mm / 11.06 inches in 1953)
  • Hervey Bay 403 mm (15.86 inches) (previously 208 mm / 8.18 inches in 1987)
  • Tewantin 385.8 mm (15.18 inches) (previously 372 mm / 14.64 inches in 2010)
  • Town of 1770 281.2 mm (11.07 inches) (previously 161 mm / 6.33 in 1970)

*Data valid October 20, 2017

Featured image: Floods in Monot, Queensland, Australia - October 2017. Credit: Clayton Grubb

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