Laidley, Lockyer Valley underwater: East coast downpour this weekend as Queensland floods

A Queensland town is underwater with a massive swathe of the state is set to get smashed by yet another heavy rainfall event spurred by a massive low-pressure system.

The main street of Laidley – a historic valley town just off the highway between Brisbane and Toowoomba – was so consumed by floodwater on Friday morning it more resembled a river. 

Residents of the Lockyer Valley area fled low-lying homes overnight after being woken up by a flood siren, door knocks, and instructions to evacuate, following days of heavy rain. 

A huge low-pressure trough is due to dump intense rainfall of up to 132mm across Brisbane, Ipswich. Darling Downs, the Sunshine Coast and Bundaberg in just six hours. 

Laidley inundated: The southern Queensland town of Laidley has been inundated already by the low pressure system threatening a 500 kilometre region from Rockhampton all the way down to the state’s southern border

A steady stream of moisture stretching 3000 kilometres from North Queensland right down to Tasmania is bringing heavy rain along the east coast

A steady stream of moisture stretching 3000 kilometres from North Queensland right down to Tasmania is bringing heavy rain along the east coast

The Lockyer Valley Regional Council has urged residents not to wait for emergency services to help them and to head for higher ground before it’s too late.

Many roads are already closed in the valley, 115 marked as unsafe to drive on,  and some bridges already flooded.

‘Act now – do not wait for emergency services to knock on your door,’ Lockyer Valley Regional Council said in an alert. 

The Bureau of Meteorology has warned the mammoth predicted rainfall totals could mean life-threatening flash floods and potential landslides between Gladstone, Coolangatta and the Darling Downs.

Queensland Fire and Emergency Services swiftwater teams conducted seven rescues overnight and responded to more than 900 calls for help. 

QFES Assistant Commissioner Andrew Short said residents should reconsider their need to travel, with hundreds of roads already cut by floodwaters. Almost 70 schools have already been closed.

‘Currently, we’ve got 18 emergency alerts out in a number of councils,’ he told ABC Radio on Friday.

‘So we’re looking for people just to listen and respond and act accordingly.’

Brisbane City Council has suspended ferry services and opened sandbagging stations, with residents in flood-prone areas being advised to move their cars to higher ground.

'Get out': Residents of the low lying Grantham woke up to a flood siren warning them to get to higher ground and Laidley went underwater overnight

‘Get out’: Residents of the low lying Grantham woke up to a flood siren warning them to get to higher ground and Laidley went underwater overnight

The lower Brisbane River is expected to reach a minor flood level on Friday morning, but Emergency Services Minister Mark Ryan said updated forecasts of intense rain could pose a risk of flash flooding into Saturday.

‘Those falls could be up to 160mm over six hours, so creek catchments could rise very quickly, particularly given the creek catchments are so water-saturated at the moment,’ he told ABC Radio.

‘Anyone who is in a creek catchment or river area needs to be very well aware of their circumstances because the rain can become heavy to intense very quickly, and that means that there is a severe risk of flash flooding.’

The unseasonal downpour is Queensland’s sixth deadly flood since December, which scientists have put down to a second La Niña weather pattern in two years.

Others on Australia’s east coast are being warned to batten down the hatches once again as the weekend of wild weather looms over the rest of Queensland and New South Wales.

As the weekend arrives, more of Australia’s east coast will be smashed by flash flooding, torrential downpours, thunderstorms, powerful winds and hazardous surf conditions, causing widespread havoc across at least three states.

The same weather system currently flooding South Queensland is delivering a steady stream of moisture stretching 3,000 kilometres right down to Tasmania.

Flood warnings have been issued across central west NSW as Sydney and Canberra prepare for a soggy end to the working week.

Much of Australia's east coast is in for a soggy start to the weekend (pictured, Brisbane residents braving the wet weather this week)

Much of Australia’s east coast is in for a soggy start to the weekend (pictured, Brisbane residents braving the wet weather this week)

The other side of the country hasn’t been spared either, with warnings for damaging winds, flash flooding and fires in place across Western Australia. 

The continued wild weather is due to La Nina, which is ‘unusually well-established’ for this time of the year.

‘Rain and thunderstorms will continue to soak a broad area from eastern Australia on Friday and even linger over some areas into the weekend,’ Weatherzone’s Ben Domensino said.

‘While the heaviest rain has now cleared western and northern Queensland, other areas in central and southern Queensland, and northern, central and southern NSW, could see localised flooding during the next 48 hours.’

After a soggy few days, Sydney can expect another 25mm soaking on Friday before showers clear.

A strong wind warning is in place for the most of the NSW coastline from Byron Bay in the north to Batemans Bay in the south.

More heavy rain is expected in the state’s central west, which may cause minor flooding along the Castlereagh, Macquarie and Bell rivers.

The Riverina district in southern NSW has also been hammered with heavy rain.

In the nation’s capital, this week’s rain has seen Canberra surge past its average May rainfall in what is typically the driest month of the year.

Canberrans will wake up to another soggy start on Friday before showers ease later in the day.   

A high chance of rain (in blue) is expected all along the NSW coast on Friday

A high chance of rain (in blue) is expected all along the NSW coast on Friday

Queensland continues to be battered by an unseasonal rain band with more wild weather on the rain. Pictured is Grantham in the state's Lockyer Valley underwater on Thursday

Queensland continues to be battered by an unseasonal rain band with more wild weather on the rain. Pictured is Grantham in the state’s Lockyer Valley underwater on Thursday

Queensland continues to be battered by the widespread wild weather that claimed the life a woman who disappeared in floodwaters in Mackay earlier this week.

‘Storms likely to contain heavy rainfall, damaging wind gusts possible. Saturated soils likely to exacerbate flash flooding risk for parts of Sunshine Coast, Wide Bay, Capricornia Darling Downs,’ the Bureau of Meteorology stated.

Beaches on the Gold and Sunshine coast will stay closed as dangerous surf and huge swells smash the coastline. 

Weatherzone warned the system could dump three to five months worth of rain in some parts of the state.

‘Moving into Friday, we see the focus move to the southeast and, after that, the system moves away to the east and conditions improve on the weekend,’ meteorologist Christie Johnson said.

Residents living along Cooby Creek near Toowoomba have been warned to get ready to evacuate after the Cooby Dam started spilling.

Motorists are urged not to drive through floodwaters with flash flood warnings in place for Queensland's central and south-east (pictured a four wheel drive driving through a flooded road in Grantham)

Motorists are urged not to drive through floodwaters with flash flood warnings in place for Queensland’s central and south-east (pictured a four wheel drive driving through a flooded road in Grantham)

Brisbane (pictured) is set to be drenched with locals urged not to travel unless necessary as there will likely be disruptions caused by the weather event

Brisbane (pictured) is set to be drenched with locals urged not to travel unless necessary as there will likely be disruptions caused by the weather event 

Melbourne is forecast for a grey weekend with high chances of low rainfall heading into next week.

‘Melbourne could get a shower today,’ the bureau said. 

‘We’re right on the bottom of the weather system that’s affecting Queensland and NSW.’

‘A cold front will move through Melbourne on the weekend, so we’ll see showers on Saturday and hang around on Sunday.

‘The coolest of that air will start to come in on Monday and Tuesday, with showers expected each day.’ 

Over in the west, heavy rainfall has battered Perth and Western Australia’s southern regions.

Fouracres in the far southwest received 60.4mm on Thursday while Garden Island off the Perth coast received 47.6mm.

A low-pressure system will deepen and move northwards to be just south of Albany by Friday morning bringing heavy rain and wind gusts of up to 90km/h.

Melbourne is forecast for a grey weekend with high chances of low rainfall heading into next week

Melbourne is forecast for a grey weekend with high chances of low rainfall heading into next week

Emergency WA said centres that could be impacted include Albany, Mount Barker, Augusta, Bremer Bay, Denmark, Hopetoun, Pemberton, Walpole and Windy Harbour.

Conditions are expected to ease by Friday afternoon.

‘While heavy rain is one of the main threats from this system, its blustery winds are also creating dangerous fire weather in parts of the state’s north,’ Weatherzone said.

‘Very high fire danger ratings may also occur in the Eucla and South Interior districts on Friday as the front moves further east. ‘

Cloudy weather is settling in over Adelaide but no rain is expected until Saturday, with a maximum rainfall of 3mm forecast.

Clouds will partially leave Hobart on Friday before light showers set in Saturday through to next week.

The grey skies are predicted to be paired with cold temperatures with a low of 9C expected on Friday.

In the Top End, Darwin will see a cloudy start to the weekend before the sunshine moves in on Sunday and sticks around through to next Tuesday.

The sunny weather will see maximum temperatures reach the low 30s and lows sit comfortably in the low 20s. 

Up to 25mm of rain is expected to drench Sydney on Friday

Up to 25mm of rain is expected to drench Sydney on Friday

Your weekend weather forecast: 

PERTH

Friday Shower or two. Min 7 Max 19

Saturday Shower or two. Min 9 Max 20

Sunday Early shower or two. Min 10 Max 20

ADELAIDE

Friday Partly cloudy. Min 14 Max 23

Saturday Shower or two. Min 17 Max 21

Sunday Shower or two. Min 14 Max 20

MELBOURNE

Friday Possible shower. Min 13 Max 20

Saturday Shower or two. Min 16 Max 20

Sunday Possible shower. Min 14 Max 20

HOBART

Friday Partly cloudy. Min 9 Max 18

Saturday Showers. Min 11 Max 18

Sunday Shower or two. Min 12 Max 19

CANBERRA

Friday Showers easing. Min 11 Max 19

Saturday Shower or two. Min 11 Max 21

Sunday Shower or two. Min 11 Max 19

SYDNEY

Friday Shower or two. Min 17 Max 25

Saturday Partly cloudy. Min 16 Max 27

Sunday Shower or two. Min 18 Max 25

BRISBANE

Friday Rain. Min 20 Max 24

Saturday Showers. Min 20 Max 25

Sunday Showers. Min 19 Max 27

DARWIN

Friday Partly cloudy. Min 25 Max 31

Saturday Partly cloudy. Min 25 Max 32

Sunday Sunny. Min 24 Max 33

 

Source: Bureau of Meteorology

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