Mayor allays growing flood fears

RISING FAST: Floodwater flowing beneath the Vince Lester Bridge. sg-031210-291
RISING FAST: Floodwater flowing beneath the Vince Lester Bridge. sg-031210-291

THE message from the mayor’s office at midday yesterday was simple – do not panic.

Central Highlands Regional Council Mayor Peter Maguire said council and emergency services were monitoring the flood situation carefully.

However, based on current weather forecasts, the local disaster management group was not concerned about widespread flooding affecting Emerald.

“We would not flood unless inches of rain fell in the Fairbairn Dam catchment area, and that is certainly not predicted,” he said.

The heavy rain left Emerald stranded from the outside world at the weekend. Roads to the north, south, east and west were closed and rumours began spreading around a panicked community about the closure of the Vince Lester Bridge.

Council dismissed such claims, although there were several marked vehicles waiting for instruction at either end of the bridge at 5pm Friday.

“There are no expectations that the Vince Lester Bridge will close,” Mayor Maguire said.

“People around here are very panicky because we were flooded in 2008. The water’s just taking its time to get away and when you get eight inches (200mm) of rain in six hours it moves through the system very slowly.”

The mayor said council would advise residents immediately if the situation changed.

Information would be relayed through ABC radio, local radio and the council website.

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