Extreme flooding as ex-tropical cyclone Oswold batters Queensland
Queensland, Australia is facing its worst natural disaster since the 2011 floods as wild weather caused by ex-tropical cyclone Oswald continues to batter the state. The military have been forced to evacuate several regional centres due to severe flooding and winds of up to 140 kilometres an hour.
QUEENSLAND is facing its worst natural disaster since the 2011 floods as wild weather caused by ex-tropical cyclone Oswald continues to batter the state. The military have been forced to evacuate several regional centres due to severe flooding and winds of up to 140 kilometres an hour.
Meteorologists have called the weekend’s storms a “once in twenty years” event with flooding cutting off towns from Warwick to Bundaberg as rivers continue to swell. Thousands of Queensland residents have been left isolated as bridges are knocked down and causeways are overwhelmed in the deluge.
Three people have been reported to have died as a result of the weekend’s extreme weather, including a motorcyclist who was swept off a causeway in the south-east region. A woman and her three-year-old son are also in critical condition after being hit by a falling tree in Brisbane, sustaining severe head injuries.
Residents in the Logan region of south-east Queensland have been instructed to evacuate their homes, with South Maclean expecting a flood peak of over 17 metres overnight. Bundaberg locals were not as lucky, with flood waters cutting off the town earlier in the day and forcing the Australian Defence Force to provide assistance evacuating 1500 people from the town, including aiding in the transfer 131 patients from Bundaberg Hospital.
The ongoing weather conditions has made rescuing Bundaberg residents by boat virtually impossible, with the Burnett River reported to be running at around 40 knots. The military has offered the Queensland government use of defence force helicopters in order to assist efforts to evacuate residents and provide supplies to anyone remaining in areas that have been cut-off by flooding.
Brisbane City has also been declared a disaster area after localised flooding caused the Brisbane River to break its banks on Monday morning. The flooding spilled over into the city’s CBD, with celebrity chef Matt Moran’s latest restaurant facing a significant damage bill after the property on Eagle Street Pier was inundated with flood water only six weeks after it opened its doors.
After avoiding serious damage during the 2011 Queensland floods the Gold Coast has felt the effects of ex-tropical cyclone Oswald with reports of tornados near the New South Wales border and downed power-lines causing blackouts that Energex claim will take as much as 48 hours to rectify. The city was walloped with gale force winds that blew windows out of the Q1 high-rise and tore roofs off nightclubs in Surfers Paradise.
Strong winds have forced the closure of beaches along the Queensland coast, causing sea foam blown by the wind to rain down on local communities and blanket beachside towns in a thick snow-like substance. Lifeguards and emergency services personnel have advised locals not to put themselves at risk by going to see the unusual ‘summer snow’ and waves estimated to be as high as five metres.
Queensland Premier Campbell Newman has pleaded with residents to take whatever precautions they can to protect themselves from the adverse conditions in their area, warning that rivers across the state have yet to reach their peak and will continue to swell overnight.
Newman said: “These are record floods. We are in uncharted territory. There is some indication from the Bureau of Meteorology of a thunderstorm… If that develops we could see flash flooding, given the potential for intense rain events, and people need to be mindful of that along suburban creeks. People could see a rapid rise in water.”
The extreme weather over the weekend will continue to have a significant impact on Queenslanders for weeks to come, with Queensland Rail advising that it will not resume normal services until Wednesday at the earliest and Telstra advising some customers that internet connection in localised areas may not be available for up to a week. Over 200 Queensland schools have been closed tomorrow, delaying the first day of the school year for thousands of young people across the state.
The storm cell will hit the New South Wales north coast over the next few days, with rural towns such as Bellingen already isolated by increasing rainfall over the past few hours. Flood rescue crews are on standby in Sydney’s northern suburbs, where storm activity and significant coastal erosion is expected to escalate on Tuesday.