Topics:  editors picks, flood 2013, rockhampton, rockhampton airport, yeppen

Fitzroy River could stay at peak for up to 36 hours

The Yeppen is currently open to all traffic, but being managed by police.
The Yeppen is currently open to all traffic, but being managed by police. Sharyn O'Neill

7pm: ROCKHAMPTON Airport will resume passenger services tomorrow with turbo-prop aircraft.

The available runway strip has been assessed as suitable to operate the smaller turbo-prop aircraft of up to 74 seats capacity.

The flights will operate during daylight hours. 

Rockhampton Regional Council has asked travellers to check with airlines for details regarding scheduled and additional services.

6.30pm: THE bulging Fitzroy River could remain at its expected peak of 8.7m for up to 36 hours when it reaches that height tonight.

As of 5.30pm the river was at 8.58m.

This morning 30 people were staying at the evacuation centre at the Rockhampton Showgrounds, and Deputy Mayor Tony Williams expects that number to rise.

"We would be have been on the home stretch today," Cr Williams, the chair of the Local Disaster Management Group, said.

"It has been a little bit disheartening because we were all planning and all the agencies were doing their best to keep everything open and business as usual, but it has had an impact."

Ergon Energy has isolated power to 126 spots, including homes, businesses, pumps by the river, sports fields and clubs, and traffic lights.

1.10pm: CROCODILES are being spotted in flood waters around the region.

The Local Disaster Management Group have just issued a warning to people to stay clear of floodwaters as the reptiles have been spotted locally.

The warning issue stated:

We are reminding residents in flood affected areas to be wary of wildlife in unusual areas as a result of the flood. Police were alerted to a crocodile sighting in Stack Street and are reminding the community that this is another reason not to enter flood waters.

12.40pm: THERE are reports traffic trying to get through Yeppen is backed up all the way to Allenstown.

The Yeppen Roundabout at Rockhampton will be closed to all traffic except vehicles with high clearance and heavy vehicles from 6pm tonight due to visibility issues. Any conventional vehicles will be turned back. Access will be constantly reassessed by Main Roads and Queensland Police.

12.30pm: THE Fitzroy River is attracting a bit of attention.

A number of people are driving to Quay St and posing in front of the rising floodwaters for cameras.

Meanwhile, traffic is moving slowly through the Yeppen roundabout under escort from Dept of Transport and Main Roads.

Continued access is dependent on water levels.

See this morning's Local Disaster Management Group press conference on video below.

 

9.45am: ROCKHAMPTON Regional Council Deputy Mayor and Local Disaster Management Group chair Tony Williams says the exact impact of an 8.7m peak at Rockhampton is difficult to gauge as previous floods have generally been higher or lower than this level.

 

"Council is not able to provide accurate information in regards to how many homes will be affected at this level, however residents are urged to refer to the 9m flood maps and prepare their homes accordingly," Cr Williams said this morning.

"We ask that people avoid driving through areas that are flood effected unless it is absolutely necessary, as this can cause further problems for people already trying to protect their property."

 

"Please think of the residents of the effected areas who are trying to protect their homes and don't cause them undue stress by driving through effected areas as a sight seeing venture," Cr Williams said.

 

"While Council is endeavouring to sign post effected roads motorists are asked to use a bit of commonsense, think of others and not enter roads that are affected by water."

The Yeppen Roundabout will be reopened to light vehicles from 10am today.

Main Roads and Queensland Police have arranged a 4WD vehicle with recovery gear for stalled cars to be available and this vehicle will also be used to escort the lines of traffic over and back.

Access will continue to be monitored and there are no guarantees about how long it will stay open, however authorities will make every effort to keep traffic moving. Motorists who do not need to travel through the Yeppen Roundabout are asked to avoid the area to ease congestion.

The Rockhampton Airport has been closed to all domestic flights except for emergency aircrafts. At this stage we are not able to confirm when the airport will be reopened, however updates will be provided as they come to hand.

9.15am: READERS are continuing to post about how the Fitzroy River flood rise is impacting them.

One person posted the water was up Nobbs St in Berserker.

Another posted water was in the last two houses at end of Lucas st at Kershaw Gardens end.

Troy Leyden described living in his street of Wood Street, Depot Hill, was like living in a 'House Boat'.

"Still have a small amount of land showing, but I assume that will all be gone by this afternoon," he posted.

"The 'Cross Current' has just started running down Wood Street."

"I have heard of people's stacks of possesions being washed over from the waves generated by people driving through the flood waters," Mr Leyden said.

"Yesterday afternoon a truck drove through and the waves were similar to the beach.

"The possessions would be safely out of water except for the waves, and in other cases the waves cause the stack to fall over.

"If you have to drive through the water - use 1st gear Low Range and idle through, we understand people need to travel through the water, we don't understand vehicles that drive through it just to do a u-turn and drive back out through it.

"If you want to see a flood that badly, buy a house in Depot Hill and live it for yourself, then you might get an appreciation what its like not having any control over others actions causing damage - and if we say anything to them driving through the water we get abuse back."

8.45am: THE Morning Bulletin readers are invited to tell us where the water is up to at their property.

We only wish that you provide your street and suburb location to help provide an overall view of the flooding impact.

 

So far, people have posted on Facebook that one woman has water in her Haynes St, Park Avenue, backyard.

 

Another woman said the water was up to the third step of her house on Lower Dawson Rd, Allenstown, and she can't access in or out.

The Bulletin is also receiving reports of about a half a dozen cars waiting to get through the Yeppen Crossing on the Bruce Highway, south of Rockhampton.

This section of road closed to light vehicles last night.

Police are only letting 4WD and trucks through at the moment.

Rockhampton Police Inspector David Peff said the other day if the crossing closed, it would be for about 24-36 hours.

It is hoped there will be an update on the expected closure time for light vehicles at a Local Disaster Management Group press conference at 9.30am.

8.20am: THE Fitzroy River was sitting at 8.55 metres at Rockhampton at 5.35am this morning and rising slowly according to the Bureau of Meteorology website.

The website also shows it was sitting at 15.65 metres at Yaamba at 6am and falling; and 20.91 at Riverslea at 7.30am and falling.

The Local Disaster Management Group will  be providing media an update at 9.30am today.

6.30AM UPDATE: MORE residents across the Rockhampton region have been warned to brace for floods as the Fitzroy River's peak was revised up.

The Yeppen Roundabout was closed at 8pm last night to all light vehicles and motorcycles after the Bureau of Meteorology warned the bulging river would hit 8.7m tonight.

But the Department of Transport and Main Roads and Rockhampton police were allowing larger vehicles, such as trucks and four-wheel-drives, through.

The river was expected to peak at 8.5m at 3am today.

 

The Fitzroy River just after 6.30am on February 2 as the Rockhampton region waits for it to peak. The River reached 8.52 metres at 4pm February 1 and the Bureau of Meteorology was forecasting a peak of 8.7 metres on February 2. Photo taken from across the road of The Bulletin office at 162-164 Quay St.
The Fitzroy River just after 6.30am on February 2 as the Rockhampton region waits for it to peak. The River reached 8.52 metres at 4pm February 1 and the Bureau of Meteorology was forecasting a peak of 8.7 metres on February 2. Photo taken from across the road of The Bulletin office at 162-164 Quay St. Kerri-Anne Mesner

At that height the Yeppen Crossing should have 100mm of water over it.

 

At 8.5m, floods were expected to inundate 1100 properties to some degree and 650 properties were expected to see up to 50cm of floodwater.

Rockhampton Regional Council was last night unsure how many more properties would now be flooded.

Rockhampton Airport was also closed after its last flight yesterday evening.

But the airport will remain open for emergency flights, including the Capricorn Helicopter Rescue Service and Royal Flying Doctor Service flights.

Mayor Margaret Strelow said the decision to close the roundabout and airport were not taken lightly.

She said the bureau normally relied on the flood marker at Riverslea to calculate the river's expected peaks, but the extraordinary rain caused by tropical ex-Cyclone Oswald had caused more water to flow in other creeks and out into the Fitzroy.

There were major traffic hold-ups yesterday with the Bruce Hwy out of Rockhampton reduced to one lane.

Superintendent Ron Van Saan said even if the river reached 8.9m, the Department of Transport and Main Roads would still allow heavy vehicles over the Yeppen Crossing.

There were 16 people staying at the evacuation centre at the Rockhampton Showgrounds yesterday.

Deputy Mayor Tony Williams, the chairman of the Local Disaster Management Group, urged anyone who needed to seek refuge at the centre to contact council's Local Disaster Co-ordination Centre on 1300 652 659 before heading to the showgrounds.

Some of the evacuees at the centre had power cut off to their homes as the floodwater engulfed their properties.

Ergon Energy corporate communications manager Bob Pleash said there would be about 15 homes with power cut off by midday yesterday.

Before the revised flood level, Mr Pleash said he hoped no more than 20 homes would have the power cut at the peak of the flooding.

The homes are in Depot Hill, Berserker, Lakes Creek, Pink Lily, Allenstown, and off Nine Mile and Fairy Bower roads.

Mr Pleash said people had been extremely positive and safety-conscious as the flood level rose and some of the owners had come to Ergon to ask to have their power shut off. Hastings Deering at Port Curtis and some commercial properties also had power cut off.

ROCKHAMPON FLOODING BY THE NUMBERS

45cm

 

The difference in height between the 2011 Fitzroy River flood and the current one. Two years ago the river reached 9.2m. Today it is expected to reach 8.75m.

173 people

The difference in the number of people who stayed at Rockhampton's evacuation centre during the height of each flood. In 2011, 187 people stayed at the evacuation centre. 14 people were at the centre yesterday.

700 residential properties

About 1800 Rockhampton residential properties had water cross their property line during the 2011 flood. About 1100 residential properties are expected to be affected during this flood.

142,655sqkm

The size of the Fitzroy River's catchment area.

Police shut off Yeppen amid safety fears

UPDATE 8:00pm The Queensland Police have advised that the Yeppen is now closed to all light traffic due to safety concerns. 

Rockhampton Regional Council has announced that the flood peak has been revised to 8.7m, expected to be reached tomorrow night.

This was revised following an assessment of the levels recorded upstream.

The Yeppen Roundabout will close at 10pm tonight to light vehicles including sedans and motorcycles, however will remain open at this time for larger vehicles including four-wheel-drives.

A council spokeswoman said the decision was not made lightly and was made having regard for the safety of our community and will be reassessed in the morning.

The revised peak will also impact on the Rockhampton Aiport which will close after the last passenger flights leave tonight.

The airport will remain open for emergency flights including the Capricorn Helicopter Rescue Service and Royal Flying Doctor Service flights.



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