Record floods hit parts of northern Queensland, Australia

Record floods hit parts of northern Queensland, Australia

Northern Queensland is currently grappling with major flooding, with the Bureau of Meteorology (BOM) warning of dangerously high levels in multiple rivers. Authorities are warning floodwaters are likely infested with crocodiles.

The BOM issued a statement on March 12, stating that significant major flooding has been observed in the upper parts of the Nicholson and Leichhardt catchment at Riversleigh, Gregory Downs, and Doomadgee township. The flooding is particularly severe in Burketown, where 37 houses and two water pumping stations have been taken off power due to safety concerns.

The Queensland Fire and Emergency Services have been delivering relief supplies to isolated communities in Doomadgee, where some residents were evacuated. Evacuations were also reported in Gregory Downs and Burketown.

The flooding has caused river levels to rise dramatically, with levels along the Gregory River at Gregory Downs peaking at 14.69 m (48.2 feet) on March 10, where the major flood level is 10 m (32.8 feet). In the Doomadgee Township, a major record river level of 8.54 m (28 feet) was recorded early on March 10, although river levels have since started to fall.

However, BOM warns that significant flooding is also occurring along the Leichhardt River, which will continue over the next few days.

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Burketown police coordinated evacuations of vulnerable and elderly persons to Mount Isa, with officers door knocking all persons in the township. Various helicopters from nearby properties and businesses are also assisting in the evacuations. Burke Shire Council has also issued a warning for all remaining residents to leave Burketown immediately, particularly the elderly and those with children.

Levels of the Albert River at the Burketown Airstrip were estimated to be over 7 m (23.0 feet), which is above the major flood level (6 m or 19.7 feet) and above the 2011 record flood level (6.78 m or 22.2 feet). An extended record peak is likely to continue during March 12 and into March 13.

Severe thunderstorms were making their way toward southeast Queensland on March 12, bringing with them heavy rainfall, large hailstones, and damaging winds.

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1 Australia – Residents Airlifted to Safety After Record Floods in Northern Queensland – FloodList – March 12, 2023

2 Queensland’s deluge isn’t over yet, two major cities are now in firing line – 9News – March 12, 2023

Featured image credit: Queensland FES


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