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Gladstone awash as south-east awaits its drenching

Clearing the drain at a property on Yellowpatch Avenue, Clinton in Gladstone.
Clearing the drain at a property on Yellowpatch Avenue, Clinton in Gladstone. Contributed

UPDATE: SOUTH-east Queensland is expected to cop the worst of Ex Tropical Cyclone Oswald's fury on Saturday night and throughout Sunday while forecasters are tipping up to 350mm of rain between Gladstone and Bundaberg today.

But Gladstone Mayor Gail Sellers has assured residents there is no truth to the rumour that Awoonga Dam has burst its banks.

Awoonga Dam was sitting at 45.5m as of 8am this morning, almost one metre higher than its previous record of 44.6m.

Mayor Gail Sellers said Gladstone was in unchartered territory at the moment.

"We have 400 homes that could have water in them according to the Q100 specifications," Cr Sellers told The Observer.

Each and every one of those homes has received a knock on the door from police and SES and also a notification via text message.

At 10.40am, there had not been any major evacuations but authorities were keeping an eye on the situation.

The high tide had passed with the next major watch being Sunday morning.

The Boyne Island Community Centre has been set up to receive people affected by flood waters who have nowhere else to go.

Cr Sellers said so far no-one had used the service.

Queensland Premier Campbell Newman has phoned to check in on Gladstone, and Cr Sellers said she spoke with him about telecommunication problems facing some residents.

"He is doing his best to try and rectify that," she said.

With the bad weather continuing, Cr Sellers urged people to be cautious and not take any unnecessary risks.

"We don't want any sightseers," she said.

The Mayor also urged children and thrill seekers to stay out of flood waters and not to play in them, especially in the Boyne Island-Tannum Sands area.

In its 9am update, the Bureau of Meteorology said widespread rainfall totals of 300 to 400mm have been recorded since 9am Thursday, with up to 812 mm recorded south of Gladstone.

The heaviest rainfall remains in the area between Gladstone and Bundaberg, and is forecast to extend throughout the warning area by Sunday.

Rainfall totals of 200mm, up to 350mm in elevated areas, are forecast for coastal areas during Saturday with the heaviest rainfall again between Gladstone and Bundaberg.

Rainfall totals of 50-100mm are forecast for areas further inland. Similar rainfall totals are expected for the remainder of the weekend as the system moves southward.

Fast river and creek rises are occurring or expected in the coastal rivers and streams within the warning area over the weekend.

A severe weather warning for heavy rainfall is current for the warning area, also extending into the SE parts of the Central Highlands and Coalfields rainfall districts.

Flood warnings remains current for the Boyne, Calliope, Baffle and Kolan River catchments, the Upper Burnett, the Connors, Isaac, Don, Lower Dawson and Fitzroy Rivers within the Fitzroy catchment. Warnings for other catchments will be issued if required.

 

The Local Disaster Management Group at Gladstone has advised flood levels along the Boyne River will exceed 1 in 100 flood levels on the morning high tide at 8.45am and evening high tide at 9pm.

Water levels on the high tide this morning are likely to exceed the highest tide of the year about the coastal and island locations about and south of Gladstone.

The Bureau of Meteorology said rainfall totals of 200mm, up to 350mm in elevated areas, are forecast for coastal areas during Saturday with the heaviest rainfall again between Gladstone and Bundaberg.

"Rainfall totals of 50-100mm are forecast for areas further inland. Similar rainfall totals are expected for the remainder of the weekend as the system moves southward.

"Fast river and creek rises are occurring or expected in the coastal rivers and streams within the warning area over the weekend.

"A severe weather warning for heavy rainfall is current for the warning area, also extending into the SE parts of the Central Highlands and Coalfields rainfall districts.

Flood warnings remains current for the Boyne, Calliope, Baffle and Kolan River catchments, the Upper Burnett, the Connors, Isaac, Don, Lower Dawson and Fitzroy Rivers within the Fitzroy catchment. Warnings for other catchments will be issued if required.

Communication issues, including a Telstra outage, have hit areas including Rockhampton, Gladstone and Emerald.

The outages are affecting the receipt of rainfall and river height data from some automatic stations.

But the bureau said manual observations will continue to be received from some weather stations.

For the latest weather information click here 

To check the latest Queensland weather warnings and river heights click here

In Rockhampton, more than 500mm of rain has been dumped in some part of the region, breaking flooding records but the mayor and senior forecasters say the worst is over.

Communication problems have plagued the council with its phone lines, external email and website affected.

Police are continuing to urge people to stay out of the water following more than 20 rescues in the area, including that of a teenage boy who had to be saved from a fast moving creek.

 

On the Sunshine Coast, heavy rainfall which may lead to flash flooding is expected to hit the Sunshine Coast area later Saturday.

 

Mayor Mark Jamieson says the region is bracing for strong winds, heavy rain and king tides.

Mr Jamieson says people should only travel around the region if they have to:

"I don't want to alarm people, but we certainly want to be prepared.

"We've been advised that there is some very heavy rain coming, and indeed some intense cells within that heavy and constant rain.

"So people need to just think about their own safety and don't go out in the weather unless it's absolutely necessary."

On the Fraser Coast, a fallen tree was cleared from Maryborough-Hervey Bay Rd early on Saturday morning, as forecasters predicting heavy rain and wind gusts of up to 90kmh.

Police warned of a tree in a 100kmh zone at Black Swamp Creek, near the major roundabout, about 4.40am but it was quickly cleared with the help of a chainsaw.

A Hervey Bay police spokesman said there had also been some traffic hazards around the area due to water across the road and he cautioned motorists to take care and drive to the conditions.

Weatherzone senior meteorologist Josh Fisher said rain would increase on Saturday afternoon and evening with 100-200mm expected during the next 24 hours as ex-tropical cycle Oswald slowly moves south.

He said there was potential for wind gusts of up to 90kmh, flash flooding, abnormal high tides leading to erosion and minor flooding of low-lying areas, and dangerous surf conditions.

Mr Fisher said from 9am on Friday morning until 5am on Saturday, Hervey Bay had received 63mm and Maryborough had recorded 68mm taking totals for the past three days to 137mm for the whale city and 173mm for the heritage city.

The Sunshine Coast Local Disaster Management Group has been activated this morning in response to the predicted heavy rainfall and strong winds expected over the weekend.

Local Disaster Co-ordinator Alan Rogers said the heaviest rainfall was expected on Saturday afternoon into Sunday.

Communities in the Moreton Bay, further south, are continuing to prepare for a possible tidal surge that could flood homes, particularly around the Bribie Island area.

Topics:  editors picks, flooding, fraser coast, gladstone, queensland, rockhampton, sunshine coast



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