Wild storms force evacuation of 31 from hospital, more rain puts state on flood watch

More than 30 patients have been evacuated from a private hospital damaged by severe thunderstorms as Queensland braces for more flooding.

Feb 03, 2022, updated Feb 03, 2022
(AAP Image/Jono Searle)

(AAP Image/Jono Searle)

Health Minister Yvette D’Ath has hailed Sunshine Coast’s emergency services and health care staff for their swift action after the roof of Cooroy’s Eden Private Hospital was damaged by storms on Wednesday night.

“There were 31 patients in total that needed to be relocated or discharged overnight and everyone did an incredible job to step in and address that,” she said.

“I want to put a big shout out to the Sunshine Coast University Hospital, to the private hospitals in the area and Queensland Ambulance Service who worked so well together overnight to transfer the patients out.”

Cooroy has recorded more than 110mm of rain since 9am on Wednesday with severe thunderstorms lashing the southeast, cutting power to 11,000 households overnight.

The Bureau of Meteorology warned there may be more power outages on Thursday with severe thunderstorms likely across north, central and southeast Queensland from Bowen to the Sunshine Coast and inland to Emerald.

The storms signal the end of a three-day heatwave but look to further test a state power grid that has hit peak demand as people try to keep cool.

“Power outages are possible today due to increased use capacity and pressure on the grid,” BOM’s Brooke Pagel said.

The BOM warned heavy rainfall may also lead to flash flooding with the state’s western regions already hit hard.

“Minor and major flood warnings along with flood watches are continuing in the western, central and southern regions including the Gulf catchments,” Ms Pagel said.

“Ongoing flooding has led to road closures across western and northwest regions and several towns have been isolated by floodwaters including Bedourie and Birdsville.

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“Any rainfall over the coming days may exacerbate existing flooding.”

Bedourie and nearby Glengyle were still affected on Thursday while a major flood warning has been issued for the Georgina River at Marion Downs in the state’s remote west after up to 20mm of rain fell in 24 hours.

Moderate and minor flood warnings have also been issued for the Bulloo, lower Flinders, Cloncurry, Nicholson, Gregory, Leichhardt, Paroo, Thomson, Barcoo, Diamantina and lower Warrego Rivers and Cooper Creek.

The Gold Coast and Gulf regions in the north may also experience flash flooding, with high tides set to coincide with heavy rain.

More thunderstorms are brewing as Logan and Ipswich south of Brisbane complete their clean up after being hit hard by a tornado and supercell respectively on Tuesday afternoon.

A trough moving northeast will bring storms but also signal an end to this week’s hot and muggy conditions that have hit the state’s east coast from Townsville to Coolangatta.

Southerly winds are set to follow the trough, with cooler temperatures and lower humidity expected by Thursday night.

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