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Unseasonably heavy rain hits Queensland, Australia

queensland flood ses rescue may 2022

Much of Queensland, Australia experienced unseasonably heavy rain and flooding this week, with parts of the state receiving between 3 to 4 months’ worth of rain in 48 to 72 hours.

Several households experienced power outages in Brisbane City, while floodwaters have cut almost 300 road sections across coastal Queensland.

The Queensland State Emergency Service (SES) said it responded to more than 100 calls for assistance.

Around 05:00 LT today, a dual-cab ute carrying three people had been swept away into floodwaters at Mount Ossa, north of Mackay. Two passengers, aged 50 and 30, managed to escape the vehicle and are now in stable condition, while the driver, a 31-year-old woman, drowned.

More than 100 mm (3.93 inches) of rainfall was recorded in 24 hours for coastal areas in Queensland, between Cairns and Townsville, and in Brisbane City, rising several dams at critical severity levels and forcing authorities to release water from Wivenhoe, Somerset and North Pine dams.1

In just 24 hours, 233 mm (9.17 inches) of rain fell at Major Creek, south of Townsville, including 191 mm (7.51 inches) in 6 hours on Tuesday night, May 10.2

313.2 mm (12.3 inches) of rain were recorded at South Johnstone in 72 hours. This includes 191.4 mm (7.53 inches) in 24 hours, which is the highest daily total for May since 1964.

85 mm (3.34 inches) fell at Hughenden in 48 hours, which is 4.8 times their May monthly average.

Townsville Airport recorded 102 mm (4.01 inches) of rain in 24 hours – three times its May monthly average and the 2nd wettest May day on record.

While severe weather warning for north-east Queensland has been canceled on May 11, major to moderate flood warnings remain in place for multiple catchments.

A major flood warning is current for the Haughton River and a moderate flood warning is current for the Bohle River. A flood watch is current for central and eastern Queensland.

Overnight rainfall totals across the east of the state were generally between 50-70 mm (1.96 – 2.75 inches), with areas between the Daintree and Mackay, the Sunshine Coast and Central Queensland recording more than 100 mm (3.93 inches).

Rain is continuing across eastern districts today and into tomorrow, and is expected to clear on Friday, April 13 starting in the north of the state.

Severe thunderstorms are possible in the northern, central and southern interior with the potential for flash flooding today and tomorrow. Damaging winds are also possible.

The rainfall in Queensland is expected to prolong increased river levels in northern New South Wales, but the Bureau is not expecting further flooding in the Northern Rivers region.

References:

1 DG ECHO – May 11, 2022

2 Clouds and rain blanketing eastern Australia – weatherzone.com – May 11, 2022

3 Widespread rain continues in Queensland with flood warnings and watches current – BOM – May 11, 2022

Featured image credit: Queensland SES

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