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Gold Coast, Brisbane and Sunshine Coast on alert for flash flooding as more rain forecast

The threat of heavy rainfall is moving north of the Gold Coast, to Brisbane and Sunshine Coast, giving residents cleaning up from Christmas storms on the Gold Coast some reprieve.

Heavy, locally intense rainfall has been forecast for parts of the south-east, including Wide Bay and Burnett, with six-hourly rainfall totals between 150 and 250 millimetres possible.

BOM warns falls could exceed 350mm over the next 24 hours. 

Heavy rain and road blocked with a 'road flooded' sign.

Heavy rain hitting Nambour, on Queensland’s Sunshine Coast.(ABC Sunshine Coast: Jessica Ross )

The Bureau of Meteorology (BOM) senior forecaster David Grant said the primary flash flooding risk would remain into Tuesday night and potentially into early parts of Wednesday morning.

“We do have flood warnings in place particularly around the Gold Coast areas but being mindful this weather system will see the focus of it shift towards Brisbane and upwards towards the Sunshine Coast,” he said. 

He said there is a flood watch in place for isolated minor to moderate flooding along the Brisbane River.

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“We have a lot of creek systems that are now becoming wet and there is a risk of localised flash flooding that will remain a risk during the course of this event.”

“Could levels reach what they reached in February 2022? At the moment, they’re looking low but we still have 24 hours to play out in this event.”

Wappa Dam overflowing with water.

Wappa Dam, at Yandina, overflowing as heavy rain continues to lash the Sunshine Coast. (ABC Sunshine Coast:Jessica Ross)

All Gold Coast beaches are closed due to hazardous surf conditions.

So far, more than 300mm has fallen at Cedar Creek, south-west of Ormeau,  264mm at Carbrook, 261mm at North Tamborine, 252mm at Mount Tamborine and 246mm at Beenleigh.

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BOM said heavy rainfall increased the potential for landslides and debris across roads.

Seqwater has sent an SMS alert saying its Flood Operations Centre has moved to “Alert”, with releases from North Pine and Somerset dams possible in the next 24 to 48 hours. 

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SES has received 700 requests for help in the last 24 hours on the Gold Coast and Scenic Rim.

State Disaster Coordinator Acting Deputy Commissioner Shane Chelepy said there have been 45 rescues since Monday, some of which could have been fatal, and is pleading with people to stay off the roads.

“We’re seeing these creeks and catchments come up so fast,” he said.

A car stuck in flood waters

A car became stuck in floodwaters on Springbrook Road, Upper Mudgeeraba.(Supplied)

“The next 24 hours I really ask the community to work with us, we’ve had no serious injuries, no loss of lives but we’re still seeing people driving into flooded roadways.

“We did a number of rescues from campgrounds where people were saying, ‘Gee the creek came up so fast, we didn’t think that was going to happen.'”

Car driving through floodwaters in south-east Queensland.

Queensland police are pleading with people to stay off the roads. (Supplied: Energex)

Landslips and low-level flooding in Scenic Rim

Scenic Rim Mayor Greg Christensen said more rain and winds were already causing landslips in the area.

“With everything already unstable from that terrible weather event, we’re seeing now new landslips because of that unstable land so that’s causing road problems,” he said.

Rescue crews exit flood waters carrying a boat.

QFES has responded to more than 20 swift-water rescues over the past 24 hours.(Supplied: QFES)

He said some homes have already seen low level flooding.

“In the last 24 hours there’s been about 230 and 250 mm here in the Tamborine Mountain Precinct,” he said.

“Since this rain event, that takes rainfall well above 400, everything is sodden.

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“We’re seeing people with overland flow in places they haven’t had it, so we’re getting inundation through low-level floors of houses.

Floodwaters over the road in south-east Queensland.

Floodwaters over the road in south-east Queensland.(Supplied: QFES)

“Springs coming out where people haven’t seen springs before, coming out of the ground.”

More assistance for those in recovery

Emergency Management Minister Murray Watt said the federal government has approved a deployment of around 50 ADF personnel to help the recovery effort in the south-east.

“In particular, those ADF personnel will be focusing on the clearance of debris to enable better access to essential infrastructure,” he said. 

Meanwhile, Queensland’s Minister for Employment and Small Business Lance McCallum has announced jointly funded concessional loans, which will be available for impacted small businesses in the Logan, Scenic Rim and Gold Coast local government areas.

Fallen greenery lays on a road in front of a flooded river

Storms across the Gold Coast have pulled down trees and flooded waterways.(ABC News)

“This support includes disaster assistance concessional loans of up to $250,000 to repair or replace damaged buildings, plant, stock and equipment,” he said.

“There’s also essentials working capital loans of up to $1,000 available to help enable continued operations for affected businesses.”

The Queensland Reconstruction Authority is looking to extend the disaster funding activation for flooding impacts. 

So far 78,000 people have applied for personal hardship assistance across the state since ex-tropical Cyclone Jasper.

Energex crews stood down from weather

Emergency Management Minister Nikki Boyd said “catchments are already quite saturated” so any rain is likely to lead to river rises.

Logan Mayor Darren Power said riverine flooding was a major concern, with a lot of homeless people living on the river on both the Logan and Gold Coast sides.

“Police are doing welfare checks on those continually,” he said. 

The minister said 500 emergency personnel and volunteers are on the ground, helping evacuate those at-risk to higher ground or one of the evacuation centres that have been set up in Nerang, Coomera and Tamborine Mountain.

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Energex crews were able to reconnect about a thousand Gold Coast homes to power on Monday, but “dangerous weather” meant some crews were stood down until winds eased.

Deputy Premier Cameron Dick said there were 11,000 customers without power predominantly in the south-east, though the website says there are more than 14,000. 

“We had to pause yesterday because of bad weather unfortunately,” he said.

Rainy Brisbane, New Years Day

Localised falls between 150-200mm of rain are forecast for the south-east.(ABC News: Gemma Ferguson)

“We hope by January 5 we’ll have many of those homes back on but now we have to look at what the impact of this flooding’s been and so we’re dealing with one blow after another.”

Cr Power said there were still 2,500 homes which haven’t had power since Christmas Eve. 

“Obviously we need the rain to stop…That’s a real concern because this rain is delaying that, and these people are becoming very desperate,” he said. 

A spokeswoman from Energex said it will respond to life-threatening emergencies and carry out restoration work where it is safe to do so.

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