WHAT WE KNOW |
- The Fitzroy River at Rockhampton is expected to break its banks on Friday next week
- The Fitzroy at Rockhampton is expected to flood under a deluge from ex-Cyclone Debbie
- The Fitzroy is expected to at least reach 8.5m, a major flood level
- Rockhampton's Local Disaster Management Group has activated for the first time since Cyclone Marcia
AUTHORITIES will door knock hundreds of Rockhampton homes that they believe will go under when the Fitzroy River reaches a "major flood" level next week.
Tony Williams, Chair of the Local Disaster Management Group, today said authorities would be advising about 400 household of their intention to deploy the temporary flood barrier.
But Cr Williams said despite rapid river rises in rivers that feed the Fitzroy, the LDMG is sticking by BoM's current forecast that it would reach about 8.5m in Rockhampton.
"We are sticking with the 8.5m," he said. "(But) we are getting another update at 5pm this afternoon.
"If there is any change, we will be onto the media straight away.
"But at this stage we are working with the 8.5 prediction."
THE chair of the Local Disaster Management Group Tony Willliams is delivering an important update on the oncoming Rockhampton floods.
Watch LIVE as Tony Williams addresses the media:
ROCKHAMPTON Regional Council is alerting the public that the Derby St and Victoria Park car parks are both closed.
Well-known Rockhampton businessman Bevan Slattery has opened the Old Morning Bulletin carpark to the public as floods begin to swallow the city's infrastructure.
Mr Slattery has a history of helping the region during natural disasters, donating 40 generators to Rockhampton's council in the wake of Cyclone Marcia.
Council this week deployed those generators to the devastated Whitsundays and Mackay after Cyclone Debbie tore through.
More to come
HYDROLOGISTS at the Bureau of Meteorology are warning Rockhampton will begin to flood on Tuesday or Wednesday.
Three of the four major rivers that feed the Fitzroy River are already at major flood levels.
All of the rivers, including the Dawson, Mackenzie, Isaac, and Connors, are rapidly rising.
The Fitzroy River at Rockhampton is expected to begin rising on the weekend.
But despite Rockhampton's Local Disaster Management Group (LDMG) today revealing the Fitzroy would at least hit the major flood level of 8.5m, BoM said it wouldn't release its peak predictions for Rockhampton until peaks are recorded upstream.
BoM is also stressing that Rockhampton needs to watch the warnings.
FOLLOWING Councillor Tony Williams address on the predicted floods, Rockhampton's police are holding a press conference.
Councillor Tony Williams, chair of the Local Disaster Management Group, is addressing the media now.
LDMG "activated" this morning after weather conditions rapidly "deteriorated" last night, according to Cr Williams.
Major rivers feeding the Fitzroy River have reached major flood levels, prompting BoM to issue a flood warning for the Fitzroy at Rockhampton.
HYDROLOGISTS at The Bureau are dramatically escalating Central Queensland's flood threat after major rivers were inundated overnight.
Rockhampton's Local Disaster Management Group this morning "activated" its disaster coordination centre, a first since Cyclone Marcia tore through the region.
All flood-related distress calls from across the Rockhampton region will now be diverted to the centre.
BoM recorded widespread falls of 90-220mm across Central Queensland with localised falls of up to 544mm at Undercliffe.
Widespread falls of between 150-250mm have been recorded in parts of Central Queensland.
But BoM is not aware how much has fallen in parts of the Connors and Isaac catchments as a litany of network outages have cut off rain gauges.
Mackenzie River, one of four major rivers feeding the Fitzroy River, is expected to reach a "major flood level" of 15m by tomorrow afternoon, well above its current level of about 11m.
The Isaac River at Yatton, another of the four rivers, is expected to peak at 18m, well above the major flood level of 16.5m.
Major flood levels at the Connors River, another of the four rivers, are expected to be reaching a peak at Funnel Creek and Mt Bridget.
BoM believes the Fitzroy will reach minor flood levels of between 7-7.5m next week, but it is yet to explain if it will exceed this level.
"Small river rises are occurring on the Fitzroy River," BoM's warning states. "Rises are likely next week as floodwaters arrive from upstream."
Residents who have been affected by heavy falls overnight should call Rockhampton's disaster coordination centre on 1300 652 659.
DISASTER boss Cr Tony Williams says authorities will have a far clearer picture by this afternoon of the impacts overnight heavy rains will have on a Fitzroy River flood in Rockhampton.
Speaking to The Morning Bulletin this morning, Cr Williams said residents were encouraged to report any issues from the overnight falls to the Local Disaster Coordination Centre, which has now been set up, on 1300 652 659.
He said the Local Disaster Management Group was set to meet at 11am this morning after an earlier meeting of the district's disaster groups, which includes Rockhampton, Livingstone, Central Highlands and Banana.
Cr Williams said there were reports of a number of trees down across the region.
He said council crews were currently on the ground inspecting the situation.
The Frenchville area had been impacted with reports of water across roads as well as in parts of Berserker.
It's hoped that the worst of Cyclone Debbie's aftermath has now passed and authorities can now begin to get a clear understanding of what the rains mean for a Fitzroy River flood moving forward.
A major flood warning has been activated for the Connors and Isaac Rivers. The Fitzroy was already expected to go into a minor flood at Rockhampton.
"Hopefully by this afternoon we will have a clear picture," Cr Williams said.
He said it appeared the water crossing the spillway at Mt Morgan's No. 7 Dam had begun to drop.
Council activated the dam's Emergency Action Plan at 11.30pm yesterday once the water reached the trigger point of 0.5m above the spillway.
While the water reached 0.8m above the spillway, Cr Williams said it had started to now drop.
ROCKHAMPTON council is not convinced our city will reach minor flood levels, despite the Bureau of Meteorology forecasting it is likely to flood next week.
But Rockhampton Regional Council is still taking a number of precautionary measures, including handing out sand to residents in flood-prone locations across the city.
In a statement, council tonight said it would partially close sections of the Derby St car park and Victoria Park car park that could go under.
Chair of Rockhampton's Local Disaster Management Group Councillor Tony Williams tonight urged residents to prepare but not to panic.
He said LDMG is working with other agencies to mitigate potential impacts of a flood.
"As floodwaters begin to arrive from the Isaac River on Friday, we're expecting the Fitzroy to remain under minor flood levels," Cr Williams said.
"A minor flood level would impact areas such as The Common and over the weekend we would urge people to be cautious when parking in the Derby Street car park or Victoria Park Car Park, with council to partially close sections which could be affected.
"We still have a lot of work to do and we need to see what the rain does around the Fitzroy catchments over the next few days, however residents have been doing an excellent job preparing, and all agencies are working together on this.
"The LDMG will meet again tomorrow morning to discuss the latest information and we will be providing further updates to the community then."
More to come
THE BUREAU of Meteorology has recorded stunning rainfall totals in the Fitzroy catchment in the past seven hours.
Undercliffe has recorded 544mm, causing a sharp rise in the Connors River, a major river that flows into the Fitzroy.
BoM this afternoon warned rain from ex-Cyclone Debbie would break the banks of the Fitzroy River in Rockhampton.
Here are the 13 top falls across the region:
1. Undercliffe: 544mm
2. Mt Bridget: 217mm
3. Cockenzie: 216mm
4. Mt Spencer: 190mm
5. Nebo: 186mm
6. Bee Creek: 171mm
7. Prospect Creek: 169mm
8. Carfax: 166mm
9. Nebo bore: 162mm
10. Upper Bee Creek: 144mm
11. Dysart: 141mm
12. Deverill: 136mm
13. Moranbah: 115mm
MAJOR RIVERS that feed the Fitzroy River are rapidly rising, the Bureau of Meteorology warns.
BoM's team of hydrologists believe the Fitzroy River in Rockhampton will reach the minor flood level of 7-7.5m during next week.
Flood waters from the Isaac River, currently at a major flood level, aren't expected to push the Fitzroy River at Rockhampton above minor flood levels when they arrive next week, The Bureau believes.
But BoM is warning of widespread falls across the Central Coast, Central Highlands, and Coalfields today and tomorrow, all of which is expected to push the Fitzroy at Rockhampton above minor flood level during next week.
"Based on forecast rainfall over the next few days for the Fitzroy basin, river levels are likely to exceed the minor flood level (7.00 m) during next week," forecasters say.
ROCKHAMPTON FLOOD WARNING |
It means buildings in low-lying areas next to the Fitzroy River or its off-streams will be inundated, according to The Bureau.
The last time it peaked within the minor flood level was in March 2012.
But a slight rise to the "moderate" flood-level of 7.5m would lead to widespread floods across the city, particularly Depot Hill, The Common, Port Curtis, Allenstown, parts of Koongal, Bersersker, and Park Avenue, Rockhampton Regional Council flood maps reveal.
The last time it peaked at the moderate flood level range of 7.5-8.5m was in February 2008.
If it were to reach the major flood level of 8.5m or above, the floods would significantly widen, with the airport closing at 8.8m.
The last time it peaked above "major" flood levels was in February 2013 when it hit 8.61m.
But the unbeatable record remains January 1918 when it hit 10.11m.
New charts from The Bureau reveal the extent of the rises, with the Connors River at Mt Bridget rising from 2.67m in the early hours of yesterday morning, well under minor flood levels of 9m, to almost 20m this afternoon, well-above major flood levels of 15.5m.
"Strong stream rises are occurring across the Connors River catchment with major flood levels occurring in Funnel Creek and also in the upper Connors River at Mt Bridget," the warning states.
"Moderate flood levels are rising downstream along the Connors River between Cardowan and Pink Lagoon."
BoM escalated the Fitzroy River from a "flood watch" to a "flood warning" just days ago.
BOM'S FLOODING DEFINITIONS |
Minor Flooding : Causes inconvenience. Low-lying areas next to watercourses are inundated. Minor roads may be closed and low-level bridges submerged. In urban areas inundation may affect some backyards and buildings below the floor level as well as bicycle and pedestrian paths. In rural areas removal of stock and equipment may be required.
Moderate Flooding : In addition to the above, the area of inundation is more substantial. Main traffic routes may be affected. Some buildings may be affected above the floor level. Evacuation of flood affected areas may be required. In rural areas removal of stock is required.
Major Flooding : In addition to the above, extensive rural areas and/or urban areas are inundated. Many buildings may be affected above the floor level. Properties and towns are likely to be isolated and major rail and traffic routes closed. Evacuation of flood affected areas may be required. Utility services may be impacted.
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