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Queensland’s wet weather expected to ease, flood level of Mary River at Gympie to fall

The weather system that brought flooding rains to parts of Queensland will continue to ease throughout today, as low-lying communities in the south-east wait anxiously to assess the level of damage.

Key points:

Up to 10mm of rain forecast for south-eastern parts of QueenslandGympie CBD was inundated and businesses had some water through them yesterdayRain on Sunday was not expected to worsen flood levels

Some Gympie residents will be cleaning up after the city endured its third flood peak this year.

Bureau of Meteorologist (BOM) forecaster Shane Kennedy said rainfall totals in the south-eastern part of the state “dropped right off” throughout Saturday with some pockets of the Sunshine Coast and Gold Coast picking up 20 to 30 millimetres.

The highest amount of rain fell over Bellthorpe, in Sunshine Coast’s inland, with a 37mm total. Mr Kennedy said there could be another five to 10 millimetres of rainfall today. 

“We’re expecting this cloud and rain to start to break up,” he said.

“[Today] will likely still be pretty unsettled with some showers around and we’re expecting many more breaks in the cloud.”

Mr Kennedy said the region could see between two to 10mm of rainfall on Sunday, with isolated showers of 20mm to 30mm in the Gold Coast.

“But there’s not really any significant rainfall. It’s not expected to have much impact on the floodwaters at this stage,” he said.

Dozens of properties in Warwick and along the Condamine River were affected by flooding.(Supplied: John Tillack)

Gympie, Warwick affected by flooding

The lack of rain in the forecast is good news for communities around Gympie, the Southern Downs and Lockyer Valley, which had been fearing another major flood event after a devastating start to the year.

Mr Kennedy said river and creek water levels were also dropping in most places.

The Mary River at Gympie reached higher than 16 metres on Saturday night, inundating some homes and businesses.

Gympie Mayor Glen Hartwig said the homes affected had already been damaged by flooding earlier this year. 

“They haven’t been repaired since the last time, so there are no people in them,” he said.

“They were destroyed last time. There’s not much more to damage.”

The town was isolated on Saturday, the CBD was inundated and businesses had some water through them.

About 800 Gympie businesses and homes were impacted by floodwaters in February and many are yet to get back to normal. Many also flooded in January.

Flooding at Pengelley's Bridge in Gympie on afternoon showing floodwater up to top of trees Flooding at Pengelley’s Bridge in Gympie yesterday afternoon.(Supplied: Facebook/BridgeWatcher)

BOM said the Mary River at Maryborough was expected to remain below the minor flood level until Saturday evening, but might reach the minor flood level of 5 metres late on Saturday.

However, Lamington Bridge on Maryborough-Hervey Bay Road at Maryborough was closed on Saturday afternoon due to flooding.

Fraser Coast mayor George Seymour said the town was tired but ready.

“Earlier in the year we had a flood of 10.3 meters, so a major flood, we’re prepared for this. And a minor flood doesn’t affect nearly as many residents and businesses as were affected in February,” he said.

Residents were evacuated from flood-affected homes in Warwick by boat on Friday.

Eighty-seven buildings were affected by the Condamine flooding and 49 people were forced to evacuate but Southern Downs Mayor Vic Pennisi said the majority of people had now returned to their homes.

“Everyone’s dry and has got food tonight,” he said.

“The real extent of the damage will be known in a few days, but anything that can be started has been started.

“I think largely people are feeling that we’ve dodged a bullet in many respects. Yes, there has been a lot of impact, but not as much as it could have been, so I think they’re grateful for that.”

Water in low-lying parks of Warwick. Debris visible on paths Low-lying parts of Warwick were affected by flash flooding.(ABC News: Georgie Hewson)

Personal hardship disaster assistance has been activated to help flood-affected residents in the Lockyer Valley and Southern Downs to cover the costs of immediate essential needs, such as food, temporary accommodation, clothing and medication.

The Brisbane, Fraser Coast, Gladstone, Gold Coast, Gympie, Lockyer Valley, Logan, Moreton Bay, North Burnett, South Burnett, Southern Downs and Toowoomba local government areas have been activated for counter disaster operations assistance to cover the costs of the immediate clean-up efforts.

Rain causes problems at water treatment plant

Seqwater has asked residents in Brisbane, Ipswich and Logan to conserve water because the extreme weather has impacted the Mt Crosby Water Treatment Plants and they are temporarily operating at reduced capacity.

“This is as a result of floodwaters washing soil and debris into the creeks and waterways, which flow into the treatment plants,” it said in a statement.

“This is a precaution only. The drinking water being supplied to homes and businesses remains safe to drink and meets the Australian Drinking Water Guidelines. There is no need to boil your water or buy bottled water.

“Our crews are working hard to get the treatment plants back to normal operations.”

Beaches closed, storm risk in Capricornia and Wide Bay

There is a 10 per cent chance of a “low-risk” thunderstorm further north of the state in the Capricornia and Wide Bay area.

A beach covered in foam. Foam is reaching parks and parklands on the along the Alexandra Headland as dangerous surf conditions remain on the Sunshine Coast. (ABC News: Sarah Howells)

Mr Kennedy said river and creek water levels were also dropping in most places in the south-east, including the Ipswich and Lockyer Valley regions.

The Brisbane River is likely to come close to minor flood levels at high tide tonight, and again on Sunday and Monday.

“Further north, we’re likely to still see those floodwaters move down through the Condamine… the peak will continue to move downstream through that system over the next couple of days,” he said.

Beaches remain closed as there are coastal wind warnings for the Sunshine Coast and the Gold Coast.

“It’s still pretty dangerous along the coasts, at least until Sunday afternoon, but getting increasingly safer as the days go on,” Mr Kennedy said.

Posted 41m ago41 minutes agoSat 14 May 2022 at 8:12pm, updated 39m ago39 minutes agoSat 14 May 2022 at 8:14pm

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Krzysztof Stanowicz

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