Flooding, rescues as Gold Coast battles relentless deluge

Intense weather is causing flash flooding on Queensland’s Gold Coast as relentless rain inundates some businesses and the region battles severe thunderstorms.

Dec 17, 2020, updated Dec 17, 2020
Two women go kayaking in floodwaters at Riverside Drive in Currumbin. Photo: ABC News

Two women go kayaking in floodwaters at Riverside Drive in Currumbin. Photo: ABC News

Roads were flooded around Currumbin, Currumbin Waters and Burleigh.

An emergency alert has also been issued for possible flooding of properties at Tallebudgera and Currumbin, with residents asked to monitor the situation and move to higher ground if necessary.

One motorist was trapped by the flooding. Emergency services saved a man in a swift water rescue at Tallebudgera after the driver attempted to cross a flooded road.

A Queensland police spokeswoman said officers were called to the intersection of Tallebudgera Connection Road and Valley Drive about 10:50am.

“There were reports of a vehicle taking on water, with a male in the vehicle,” she said.

“The water was rising rapidly and the vehicle was in danger of being washed away.

“Emergency services retrieved the male from the vehicle.”

Michael Pott, who owns a car repair business in Currumbin Waters, said the rain in the area had been relentless.

“It’s been pretty much heavily raining since about eight o’clock this morning,” he said.

“At the moment, I’m wading through about a foot of water through our shop and it just hasn’t stopped and it doesn’t look like it’s going to stop.

“We’re at the mercy of the tides at the moment, all the rainwater and flood water can’t go anywhere so it’s just sitting here.

“One guy has lost his car in water — a little Yaris with water halfway up the door, so he’s not going anywhere.”

The rain is falling over already-saturated ground.

At Oyster Creek, 122 millimetres fell in two hours this morning and the bureau warned falls in excess of 150mm had been observed on the border ranges west of Coolangatta.

Between 9:00am and midday, Coolangatta and Burleigh recorded 86 millimetres and Tallebudgera Creek mouth 93mm.

Elsewhere, grazier Paul Stephenson was found dead in his car washed away in floodwaters at Killarney near the  Queensland/NSW border after another night of heavy rain and thunderstorms.

The 69-year-old grazier had been moving cattle to high ground at a property on Condamine River Rd, Killarney, about 8.30pm on Wednesday, police said.

A flash flood swamped his vehicle and swept it downstream.

Emergency services were called to the scene and found the vehicle with the man’s body inside almost four hours later, about 100m downstream.

Bureau of Meteorology senior forecaster Peter Markworth said there was still “plenty” of rain sitting off southern Queensland that was expected to move across Brisbane today.

Mr Markworth said next week’s forecast was “a little bit up in the air” but it was likely to be a “bit of a wet Christmas”.

“There is a chance that there are showers and storms as well,” he said.

“But there is the faint possibility it could be whipped away from a bit of dry air coming from the west.”

Meanwhile the bureau has pointed to recent severe weather is a sign of what is to come this summer.

It warned the current La Nina was set to become almost as strong as the system that brought major flooding to Queensland nearly a decade ago.

The bureau’s manager of environmental prediction Victoria Dodds said it would keep abreast of developments in coming months.

“With a La Niña on the cards, typically that means we’re looking at potentially a wet season as we go into the summer months,” she said.

“With the rainfall signal, that means there’s an increased risk of widespread and prolonged flooding, so we could be looking at a more active flood [season] than we’ve seen for some time.”


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