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Major floods as torrential rainfall continues falling over Queensland, Australia

queensland-flood-australia-february-2022

A slow-moving pressure system is producing very heavy rains in parts of Queensland, Australia, with some areas receiving more than 700 mm (27 inches) over the past 3 of days. Widespread floods have reached major levels in parts of the state and have so far claimed at least 3 lives. This weather event is one of the most severe systems to impact Queensland in recent years and the rain will continue falling through the day and into the weekend, producing more life-threatening flash flooding.

"A dangerous flood situation is evolving through parts of southeast Queensland, and a Severe Weather Warning is current, extending from the Wide Bay all the way down to the New South Wales border, and that includes areas like Gympie, the Sunshine Coast, and also inland communities toward Toowoomba," said BOM meteorologist Dean Narramore on February 25, 2022.

"This warning will continue to be updated during the day, so please stay up to date with the latest versions of this warning."

"We've seen widespread rainfall continue through parts of the Wide Bay and southeast coast last night, but as of right now, our two areas of concern are the convergence zone through the Wide Bay and Burnett area, and unfortunately right over the Mary River catchment.

"The other area that we're watching is a heavy rain band streaming in from the northeast toward the Scenic Rim and the Lockyer Valley. That includes places like Toowoomba, where we've seen falls in excess of 100 mm (3.9 inches)."

Even heavier rains were seen overnight Friday. The two areas that saw the heaviest falls were parts of the Western Darling Downs where widespread falls of 50 to 150 mm (2 – 6 inches) were registered, causing some flood issues.

"What was really concerning was toward the southwest of the Bundaberg area, where we saw isolated falls in excess of 450 mm (17.7 inches), with 292 mm (11.5 inches) falling in just two hours," Narramore said, adding that this kind of rainfall is enough to lead to devastating and possibly life-threatening flash flooding.

"We can see inundations of homes, properties and businesses and also damage to any agricultural areas and fences near or on any rivers or creeks in this part of the world," Narramore said.

That kind of rainfall is starting to move toward southeastern parts of Queensland.

"While we're not talking 400s of mm (15.7 inches), we're still talking widespread 50 to 150 mm (2 – 6 inches) with heavier isolated fall on top of that."

Only in the last couple of hours we've already seen falls of 20 to 40 mm (0.8 – 1.6 inches).

Because of all this rainfall, numerous Flood Watches and Warnings are in effect.

A major Flood Warning is in effect for the Mary River, so communities on or near the Mary River catchment need to be concerned. Particularly those around the Gympie and Maryborough area.

Numerous Moderate Flood Warnings are in effect further south.

There is also a Major Flood Warning for the Logan River, but these are likely to possibly increase as the day progresses and rain continues to fall.

Many rivers and creeks in this part of the state are now rapidly rising.

"If you live in this part of the world or know someone that does, it is vital that you stay up to date with the latest forecast and warnings."

In 72 hours to 09:00 LT on February 25, Pomona recorded 785 mm (30.9 inches) of rain, Cooran 671 mm (26.4 inches), Kin Kin 603 mm (23.7 inches) and Black Mountain 578 mm (22.7 inches).

The Queensland Fire and Emergency Service (QFES) crews have responded to almost 1 000 incidents across southern Queensland in the past 24 hours.

That includes more than 40 rescue responses by Fire and Rescue swiftwater rescue technicians to people caught in floodwaters, while SES volunteers have been working through more than 950 requests for assistance.

"This weather event is one of the most severe systems to impact this part Queensland in recent years and it’s not over yet. Stay informed of conditions, know your risk and plan ahead," QFES said.

QFES state coordinator James Haig told ABC Radio Brisbane authorities were expecting major flooding in Gympie as catchments are completely saturated.2

Deputy Commissioner of QFES Mark Roche said people shouldn't underestimate the strength of floodwaters.3

"This is a serious event. A life-threatening event," Mr. Roche said at a press conference. "We're actually seeing footage of people driving into floodwaters."

The extreme weather event has forced the closures of all beaches on the Gold Coast today.

At least three people have lost their lives since the rains started a couple of days ago.

References:

1 Severe Weather Update: Major flooding, torrential rain continues for south-east Qld. – 25 Feb 2022 – BOM

2 South-east Queensland hit by severe weather, heavy rain and flood warnings issued, live updates – ABC

3 Multiple flood rescues in Queensland as rapidly rising waters trap drivers – 9News

Featured image credit: QFES

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