'Act now': Up to 3000 Rockhampton homes to evacuate
UP TO 3000 households will be advised to evacuate when Rockhampton is inundated with one of its biggest floods in living memory.
Authorities and community leaders detailed the mass evacuation plan in a public address in Rockhampton city this afternoon.
Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk diverted from Cyclone Debbie-devastated Proserpine for talks with authorities dealing with the impending disaster in Rockhampton.
"This is of such serious concern when we heard these facts and figures … I had to come here personally and talk to the mayor and the committee," Premier Palaszczuk.
"What I do know from our briefings this morning, from speaking with the mayor and local members, is this is going to be a big one (flood).
"This is going to be equivalent or bigger than 1954 (flood). Some people living in this town have not seen a flood of this magnitude because the last one was in 1954.
"I need the residents of Rockhampton to listen to the warnings that are being put out through the council."
Rockhampton Mayor Margaret Strelow said 362 homes would likely see water rise above their floorboards.
"Those people we would expect would leave their homes," Cr Strelow said.
But Cr Strelow said up to 3000 properties could be surrounded by about 1.5m of water when the flood reaches its current projected peak of 9.4m.
"Many of our houses are up on stilts, so there will be properties where there (is 1.5m) of water through the yard, and those people may choose to leave, and I expect most of them will," she said.
"It's time to act now."
Cr Strelow urged those in areas that will be inundated to move in with friends or family with properties on higher ground.
She said the Local Disaster Management Group is planning to take 400-500 people into the city's evacuation centre.
"We are doing our sums on maybe 400 or 500 people in our evac centre, acknowledging that some people will choose to live somewhere else," she said.
Cr Strelow stressed that Rockhampton doesn't "normally do forced evacuations" but asked the community to follow the directions from authorities.