Home > Australia, Life, Social Commentary > Queensland Floods: Update

Queensland Floods: Update

The area under water is now like France, Germany and Britain (thanks, Reader Sarah). It’s set to get a lot worse. Worse even, than the infamous 1974 flood.

New Farm Park, Brisbane, Tuesday 12/1/10, 3pm. With thanks, Reader Joanna.

For international readers, it’s like this.

It’s storming across most of the state. It’s been raining for about 6 weeks – as if someone had canceled summer – the ground is boggy and refusing to take any more.

Yesterday, Toowoomba, which is on top of a mountain range (600m above sea level), suffered freak flash flooding. No weather models predicted it. Ten are confirmed dead and 78 missing (as at 7:30pm). There are very few breaks in the weather to allow for helicopter evacuations. More than forty-five people have been plucked from rooftops.

Imagine, a wall of water, up to 8 metres high (26 feet), coming out of nowhere, like an inland tsunami, stacking cars like toys in the main street, washing a house off its stumps, and creeks turning into raging torrents in ten minutes.

That water, an amount approximating the contents of Sydney Harbour, is on its way down the range, towards the capital city, Brisbane. Add to that the fact that Brisbane is built around a tidal river. And that we’ve been experiencing a whole bunch of king tides, with more to come. Pontoons are already drifting down river, north of Brisbane, and the water from inland hasn’t reached us yet (expected in the next 2 days).

Things are worsening minute by minute. For the first time ever, the Myer Centre has been evacuated. The Brisbane River has already broken its banks in several places (Bulimba this morning; West End this afternoon), despite sandbagging. In the centre of town, the Eagle Street Pier businesses have been evacuated, ditto government departments and other businesses. The State Library is expecting inundation.

People leaving work in Brisbane city are stuck in traffic (an hour to get from CBD to Albion). City evacuations aren’t mandatory yet, but recommended.

Some mobile phone services are down. We’re being told to not use phones unless necessary. We’re being told to get off the roads and stay home.

About 13,000 people are without power. Public transport services are being cut hour by hour (Citycat & ferry services aren’t running at all). Gympie Road Lawnton is cut in both directions. Caboolture is cut off – it’s canoe-land. Strathpine is being evacuated. Mums with kids in tow, are waiting 2.5hrs to get council issued sandbags to save their suburban homes.

Many mines are shut. Insurance stocks are being dumped in a hurry. Crops are ruined. Expected $1Billion a month in lost exports on commodities and farm products.

Milk is running out in the shops. Farmers are spilling milk by the truckload, as they can’t get it out of the farm because of flooded roads. Cotton growers haven’t only lost this crop (which is still under water & can’t be harvested), but it’s getting too late to plant next year’s crop.

Highways are cut, leaving people stranded – highways like carparks.

By 8:30am today, inner-city yuppies were buying trolley loads of bottled water. Think, Twilight Zone. People who’ve never had to queue for anything other than good concert tickets, scrambling to Coles for water.

The list of suburbs being evacuated is unbelievably long. Trendy Red Hill has experienced a landslide. There are pot holes and washed out roads, everywhere.

Looking north – the next few hours will bring a tropical storm and expected flash flooding to Cairns and surrounds.

And it’s still raining. Hard. Like, 150mm in 3hrs.

When we’re told not to cross flooded roads, it’s not just because the water could be deeper and faster than you think – but, because you don’t know what’s below the surface …

Don't cross flooded roads! What's beneath? - Goodwood Rd Childers (Photo from Bundy Floods 2010 Facebook Group).)

Leichhardt Highway near Wandoan by Tania W., (Bundy Floods 2010 Facebook Group)

The next two days will be telling as the water reaches Brisbane and major flooding worsens in northern New South Wales. Ipswich is next in line.

SES ph 132 500
http://www.qld.gov.au/floods ph 1800 173 349
Road closures ph 131 940
Translink.com.au ph. 13 12 30
Flood Information ph 1300 993 191
Emergencies ph 000

  1. Joanna
    January 11, 2011 at 7:20 pm


    Check out the above link. It’s the council’s alphabetical list of Brisbane flood maps – by suburb. The maps of each suburb are great – shading streets that are particularly under threat from rivers/creeks as well as overland flow

  2. Joanna
    January 11, 2011 at 7:32 pm

    Indonesian Tsunami..Australia gives $1 billion in aid, Pakistan floods..Australia gives $66.5 million in aid. THE WORST floods in Australian history destroys homes, towns, life and businesses…Australian government donates a lazy $1 million.. pull your finger out of your ass Anna Bligh and Gillard start looking after your own country. Post this to try & make them wake the hell up! Other countries may donate too.

    • January 11, 2011 at 7:49 pm

      I couldn’t believe my ears when Anna Bligh made that announcement, only to be matched by Julia Gillard. One million doesn’t fix much. Sadly, many of the people who’ve generously donated money to the Flood Appeal over the last week, will find themselves in need, as the waters move into the city.

      Thanks also for the link to the flood maps.

  3. Witold Duda
    January 12, 2011 at 2:01 am

    Does any meteoroligist try to explain why this unusual flood happened in Australia? It seams, that La Niña weather event is being blamed for what happened in Queenslad. La Niña, what a nice name, is a weather pattern that affects the Pacific Ocean region, and occurs when surface sea temperatures are cooler than normal in the eastern Pacific, and warmer than normal in the western Pacific. What happens to the ocean also affects the atmosphere. Tropical thunderstorms are fueled by hot, humid air over the oceans. The hotter the air, the stronger and bigger the thunderstorms. I can imagine, how bad it can be, because North East of US was effected by El Niño probably in 2003, which is a similiar weather anomalia. It was like wall of water from the sky for 3 days, I have never seen anything like this in my life.

  4. January 12, 2011 at 9:32 pm

    Hi Witold, you’ve explained it really well. What you’ve described would also help people understand why we’re starting to worry about a cyclone forming off the coast in the next few weeks and bringing us more flooding misery. The last major flood in Brisbane was in 1974 (I was there, but let’s say, I don’t remember it). A whole lot of flood mitigation work was supposed to have been done in the interim, and what we’re experiencing is supposed to be a one-in-a-hundred-year-episode, but pardon my poor mathematics, it isn’t 100 years yet, but 37… Also, we’ve crammed a whole lot more high density housing into the city which is built on a flood plain (clever, I know). Most of Queensland’s traditional houses were / are built on tall stumps for good reason – they’re iconic (and awful at the same time) and are known as “Queenslanders”. If you see timber shacks on the news, that’s what they are. Or were.

    Thanks for taking an interest, Witold. If you’ve got any more info which might interest readers, bring it on! T.

  1. January 13, 2011 at 4:23 am

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