Qld’s deadly season: Summer of torrential rain claims its 15th life as emergency shifts to NSW

A second man has died in floods in southern Queensland with his body found by police in a swollen creek near Toowoomba.

Mar 29, 2022, updated Mar 29, 2022
With climate change was affecting many parts of Australia, governments couldn't keep allowing homes to be built in harm's way, Prime Minister Anthony Albanese said. (Supplied image)

With climate change was affecting many parts of Australia, governments couldn't keep allowing homes to be built in harm's way, Prime Minister Anthony Albanese said. (Supplied image)

The man in his 40s was swept away after getting out of his car when it became stuck in a torrent at North Branch about 6am on Monday.

Queensland police told AAP the man’s body was in Spring Creek, downstream from where he disappeared about 9am on Tuesday.

It brings the number of deaths related to the flooding and record breaking rain in Queensland over the past six weeks to 15.

Some parts of the Gold Coast have received nearly 300mm of rain since early Monday, while there is a major flood occurring at Dalby, west of Toowoomba, after the swollen Myall Creek broke its banks.

The immediate threat looks to have moved south, with dangerous rainfall again forcing families in northern NSW out of their homes as major river rises swamp coastal areas for the second time in weeks and heavy rainfall causes flooding in the state’s far west.

Seven evacuation orders were issued overnight, including for Tumbulgum and surrounds in the Tweed Shire, low-lying parts of Billinudgel, Mullumbimby and Kyogle in the Northern Rivers, North Lismore and areas of South Lismore, East Lismore, Lismore CBD Basin, and Girards Hill.

The Bureau of Meteorology said the Dalby flood peaked at 3.6 metres, below the record 2011 peak of 3.74m, in the early hours of the morning.

Western Downs Mayor Mayor Paul McVeigh said 15 people stayed in the local evacuation centre, but it was too early to assess how many homes had had water above the floorboards.

He said it looked as if most of Dalby had “dodged a bit of a bullet” as floodwaters subsided on Tuesday.

“The best we can say is that we’re lucky that it didn’t get any higher than that, otherwise we would have a major impact right across the community,” Mr McVeigh told ABC radio.

Chief Supt Commens said QFES had made 14 swiftwater rescues and responded to 240 calls for help since a massive low pressure trough crossed the state’s southeast coast on Monday.

The system dumped almost 300mm of rain on multiple parts of the Gold Coast in the 24 hours to 5am on Tuesday, the Bureau of Meteorology said.

Almost 150mm fell in six hours at Coplicks Bridge, triggering emergency flash flood alerts for parts of Tallebudgera overnight, but they’ve since been cancelled.

The bureau said 80-140mm of rain, and up to 180mm, could fall in parts of the Gold Coast, Beaudesert, Coolangatta, Boonah, Mount Tamborine and Springbrook before the system moves into northern NSW later on Tuesday.

Gold Coast Acting Mayor Donna Gates said sandbag stations would remain open for residents on Tuesday.

“If you had some flooding last time just be prepared because there could be up to 140 millimetres of rain today,” she said.

“And after that it will clear we’re through the worst of it. So just take care and be aware of your circumstances.”

Three schools at Tallebudgera and one at Warra, on the Darling Downs, were closed on Tuesday.

The deluge has also caused more than 170 road closures across southern and southeast Queensland, the Department of Transport and Main Roads said.

Chief Supt Commens urged drivers to be extremely careful while out and about.

“Don’t drive in the floodwaters, don’t let your kids play in floodwaters or drains. It’s just not safe,” he said.

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