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BOM says threat of flooding, storms in Queensland to ease after heavy rainfalls break November records

By David Chen, Jacqui Street and staff writers, Friday November 12, 2021 - 04:05 AEDT
ABC image
Big smiles in the wet at Kilmorey station, north of Mitchell in south-western Queensland. - ABC

Parts of Queensland have recorded some of their highest November rainfall totals in decades, the Bureau of Meteorology (BOM) says.


Storms and rain swept through most of the state yesterday, with areas around Kingaroy recording more than 100 millimetres in the 24 hours to 9:00am on Friday.


Biloela in central Queensland recorded than 90 millimetres and the Sunshine Coast received between 50 to 100 millimetres.


Forecaster Felim Hanniffy said many areas saw record-breaking November rainfall totals.


"Thangool Airport [in central Queensland] had its heaviest November rain in over 90 years and that was 107 millimetres recorded," Mr Hanniffy said.


"Gayndah had 87mm, which was its heaviest November rain in over 20 years and that's well over a month's worth of rain for that particular location."


Drivers rescued


Queensland swift water rescue crews were called to help their New South Wales counterparts when a couple became trapped in flood waters on the border.


The Queensland Fire and Emergency Service said two crews responded around midnight when the pair tried to cross the Beardy River near Texas.


Crews entered the floodwaters and rescued the couple, who were not injured.


On the Sunshine Coast, a car became trapped in flash flooding under a railway bridge at Palmwoods.


The driver was able to climb out of the car and it was rescued by a tow truck early on Friday morning.


Local tow truck driver Joshua Jerrett said he was called to help the man, who got himself out of his car when water reached the tyre level just after midnight.


"We got a phone call from a lovely gentleman who had accidentally gone into the flood water, he was just on his way to work and didn't see the water across the road," Mr Jerrett said.


"He'd just got himself out of the vehicle and made it somewhere nice and dry, the water was about the level of the top of the tyres."


Mr Jerrett said the spot under the railway bridge is well known for flash flooding after rain.


"The water there can go up and down in the blink of an eye. He just didn't see it there because it was just a dark corner there," he said.


He warned the area could flood again today.


"It's just a badly designed corner and the single drain just can't keep up."


The State Emergency Service said there were five calls for help with storm damage in the Sunshine Coast region overnight.


More rain today


More rain is expected across parts of Queensland, including the South Burnett.


Mayor Brett Otto said he expected some bridges in the region would go under water today.


"Yesterday, you can see the water starting to rise from the Stuart and the Boyne," he said.


 "I fully expect that if this continues, we're going to see a number of bridges around the region where the water will go over.


"The message to everybody is just to be really careful when travelling around the region today."


'In 100 years, this is the biggest single fall'


The drought-stricken inland Burnett is rejoicing with falls in excess of 100 millimetres.


Melinda Jones breeds longhorn cattle near Monto and said the rain had brought smiles to the locals.


"This is God-soaking rain, it is amazing," Ms Jones said.


"When you see the green, you feel refreshed and renewed ? even though it hasn't broken the drought, it's so soothing and makes your soul sing."


Lyn Tleich, from south-east of Munduberra, said the rain was the heaviest she has seen since the 2013 floods.


"All around us the dams were empty so they're full now, so it's lovely," Ms Tleich said.


Nikki Mahony, a stud breeder and grazier in Cracow in central Queensland, said her property had received its largest recorded rainfall in 24 hours, in 100 years.


"We've been here close to 100 years, and there was a handful of records from before then that we know of, so as far as we know, in 100 years, this is the biggest single fall," Ms Mahony said.


"It was already starting to look pretty spectacular, but now it just looks like oceans of water."


Rain to ease


The BOM said more rain and thunderstorms were forecast for Queensland throughout Friday before a trough, that was responsible for the wet weather, moved off the coast.


"Behind it, a drier air flushing out that system ? so by Saturday, a completely different feel to weather across most of the state," Mr Hanniffy said.


He said minor to moderate flood warnings remain in place for several rivers, including the Macintyre, Paroo, Barcoo and Dumaresq as well as the Bungil and Myall Creeks.


"It will take a few days before we start to see that slowly subside given that, especially after this, the ground levels are pretty saturated," Mr Hanniffy said.


'A very hectic, very hectic few days'


Queensland Fire and Emergency Service (QFES) Assistant Commissioner John Cawcutt said he was worried about what the coming summer months will bring.


"Over the next couple of months as we move into the cyclone season, we hope that this isn't a predictor of what's to come because it's been a very hectic, very hectic few days," he said.


"I think the interesting thing about this particular event is just how widespread it is and geographically it's just such a large part of the state.


"Rain continues to fall in areas that are already, you know, quite saturated with water, so we're expecting further floods and flash-flood events."


Assistant Commissioner Cawcutt said sustained severe conditions over the next day would complicate an already busy period.


"The next 24 hours we're going to see continuing heavy rainfall, predominantly in the southern part of the state, last night it was more in the south-east corner down to the border area at Goondiwindi," he told ABC News Breakfast on Friday morning.


"At the moment, we've still got over 150 roads blocked, SES did more than 100 jobs last night and we still had four water rescues that occurred."


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