‘Not out of the woods’: Premier fears storms stalking SEQ may bring another deluge

A man is still missing and many people remain cut off in southeast Queensland’s deadly floods, with authorities concerned severe thunderstorms could bring further inundation.

Mar 02, 2022, updated Mar 02, 2022
Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk has announced a massive commitment to renewable energy. (AAP Image/Darren England)

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk has announced a massive commitment to renewable energy. (AAP Image/Darren England)

Police are still searching for an elderly man who fell from a boat into the swollen Brisbane River near Breakfast Creek on Saturday afternoon.

Nine people have already died and thousands of homes and businesses have been ruined after a massive trough that dropped more than a metre of rain on many parts of the state’s southeast over three days.

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk says people living in parts of western Brisbane and Logan remain cut off, with the defence force delivering food and medicine supplies to them by helicopter.

“We’ve had some isolated pockets, and we’re getting food delivered there into Karana Downs and Mount Crosby,” she said.

“I think there’s some help with the ADF happening there, medical supplies are going into Bellbowrie.”

The Bureau of Meteorology is warning of possible severe thunderstorms from Thursday afternoon dumping intense rain on already saturated catchments with the potential for more flash floods.

Palaszczuk urged people to tune into their radios and other news outlets and read the Bureau of Meteorology forecasts.

“There is some concern about these very dangerous thunderstorms so we are not over this yet, we’re not out of the woods,” she said

“There’s still some concern out there and if you could just please make sure that you are listening.”

A different warning came from Lord Mayor Adrian Schrinner, who said motorists should be wary about potholes caused by the torrential rain and flooding.

He said council rapid response crews who had worked in difficult conditions to repair more than 1400 potholes across Brisbane since Friday.

“The rain from this extraordinary weather event was worse than what happened during the 1974 floods with 80 per cent of Brisbane’s rainfall occurring in less than a week,” he said.

“Just like many unfortunate households, Brisbane’s extensive network of roads has also been damaged which is going to take some time to completely fix.

In a bid to ease congestion on the roads, public transport and tollways will be made free until midnight on Sunday.

Queensland Police revealed that four people have now been charged with looting from flooded homes and businesses.

Operation Uniform Nash, set up to target looting and property crime in flood affected zones, stopped two vehicles on Ipswich Road at Rocklea on Tuesday night. Police allege a trailer and vehicles were loaded with dozens of wheels and tyres, allegedly taken from outside a flooded business.

A 30-year-old man from Rocklea has been charged with stealing by looting.

In a separate case, two men and a woman, were nabbed by police on the M1 at Woolloongabba early Wednesday. It will be alleged they went to flooded private properties and collected camping gear and copper wire.

Operation Uniform Nash is now running around the clock patrols to catch opportunistic thieves preying on those who have already lost so much in the floods.

The BOM says storms are expected to kick off on Wednesday evening and go through to Thursday and Friday and potentially hang around until the weekend.

Senior Meteorologist Diana Eadie said it was expected the storms would bring between 20-80mm of rain on Thursday, although this could reach 100-150 mm in localised areas.

“This means we could see the potential for flash flooding across south east Queensland,” Eadie said.

In Brisbane, the river has dropped to a minor-to-moderate flood level for the first time in two days, with 8000 people signing up to the ‘mud army’ to help the clean-up.

More than 17,500 homes and businesses in Brisbane, Gympie, Ipswich and Logan are believed to have been damaged by the widespread flooding, along with roads, bridges and other infrastructure.

There were 379 people in evacuation centres across the southeast on Wednesday, down from about 1150.

Earlier on Wednesday, the premier said the clean-up and repair bill could run “into the millions if not hitting the billion mark”.

“I’m sick of these bad times,” she told the Nine Network.

“We’ve had two years of the pandemic, now we’ve had floods across the entire southeast and up to Fraser Coast. We need a really good Easter.”

Commonwealth and state disaster payments of up to $180 per person are available for most people hit by the floods, while all toll roads in the southeast will be free for drivers until Monday.

The premier said one silver lining from the disaster is that bridges rebuilt after the remnants of Cyclone Debbie hit Logan in 2017 have withstood these floods.

She said she believes in climate change, and that infrastructure and homes will need to be rebuilt to withstand more extreme weather.

“During during my time as premier I’ve seen and had to deal with more natural disasters than my predecessors,” Palaszczuk said.

“So we understand it’s real, we understand that it does have an impact.”

-with AAP

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