More wild weather to come after terrifying night
- Authorities are warning people to limit unnecessary travel and if it's flooded, forget it - there is still a major flash flooding warning for many areas of Townsville so if you are not moving to an evacuation centre or higher ground, stay off the roads.
- A major flood warning remains in place for the Ross River, with a risk to life and property of residents in low-lying suburbs including Rosslea, Hermit Park, Railway Estate, Townsville City, Oonoonba, Idalia, Cluden, West End, Rowes Bay, Garbutt, Aitkenvale, Cranbrook, Currajong, Mysterton, Pimlico, Mundingburra, Douglas, Annandale, Kirwan and Thuringowa Central and South Townsville areas.
- More heavy rain and destructive wind is forecast for the Townsville region today
AFTER a terrifying night of rapidly rising floodwater, Townsville residents are waking to assess the damage of last night's flash flooding - and bracing for more wild weather.
Just after 8pm last night, the spillway gates of the Ross River Dam opened and flash flooding warnings were sent out to many suburbs.
It is believed 424 residents are at Lavarack Barracks this morning in a temporary evacuation centre, with helicopters and army personnel preparing to head out to assess the damage and evacuate further people needing help.
Already stories of heroics are emerging after last night's inundation, as the spillway gates of Ross River Dam were opened and flash flooding warnings went out to 21 suburbs of the city.
Sasha Ngamoki posted photos on social media to pass on her gratitude to Chris from Armesto's Transport and BM Webb who pulled her family out of a dangerous situation.
"So grateful to this amazing human in our time of need honestly can't thank him enough," she said.
"We are currently sitting on the side of the highway in the cab of his truck and other stranded people are in the back of his B double trailers.
"Chris you are an amazing generous person thank you so much from the bottom of my heart.
"To the drivers at BM Webb thankyou so much for rescuing us from our doorstep when we were in dire need to be rescued at the last minute."
A severe weather warning was issued at 4.54am Monday for damaging, locally destructive winds and more heavy rainfall for Townsville, Herbert and the Lower Burdekin.
The potential for significant and dangerous flash flooding will continue for areas between Ingham and Bowen, possibly extending as far south as Mackay during today or tomorrow.
For the remainder of today, further heavy rainfall with six-hourly rainfall totals between 150mm to 200mm are likely. Concentrated areas of intense rainfall with totals up to 300mm possible, particularly with bands of thunderstorms.
Damaging wind gusts up to 100km/h are also possible about the coast and ranges. Locally destructive winds in excess of 125km/h may occur with thunderstorms, however this threat is more likely to be confined to coastal areas.
A major flood warning remains in place for the Ross River, with a risk to life and property of residents in low-lying suburbs including Rosslea, Hermit Park, Railway Estate, Townsville City, Oonoonba, Idalia, Cluden, West End, Rowes Bay, Garbutt, Aitkenvale, Cranbrook, Currajong, Mysterton, Pimlico, Mundingburra, Douglas, Annandale, Kirwan and Thuringowa Central and South Townsville areas.
RISK TO LIFE AND PROPERTY
The Ross River dam spillway gates have now opened to their full setting. This setting will release approximately 1900 cubic metres of water per second out of the dam. Dangerous and high velocity flows will occur in the Ross River Sunday night into Monday. Unprecedented areas of flooding will occur in Townsville. Expect access routes to be cut.
Conditions will change rapidly and continuously. Stay informed, look for updates and follow advice of emergency services.
DEFENCE ON THE GROUND
Australian Defence Force members launched boats into the streets of Idalia and Oonoonba last night, in Townsville's south, searching for any lights on or residents in need of rescue.
Fifteen small rigid hull inflatable boats (Zodiaks) are conducting evacuation of members of the community as fast as they can.
"Each boat holds a maximum of six people, and given the numbers requiring evacuation, the activity could take some time. The Defence members are working as hard and as quickly as they can to meet the need," a message posted to social media last night.
"Evacuated residents are being moved to a temporary safe facility in preparation for future movement to an evacuation centre.
"Any member of the public should stay at their home, in a safe location until the small boat teams can get to them. Those seeking evacuation should take minimal personal items as the size of the boats will not allow for baggage. Pets will be evacuated but need to be on a lead or otherwise suitable contained.
"The teams are moving systematically through the area and will continue to do so in a safe manner.
"Requests for emergency assistance should be passed through the emergency services and residents should not contact Defence directly."
If you need assistance, contact the SES on 13 25 00 or in life-threatening emergencies, phone triple-0.
For all the details on evacuation centres and help numbers click here.