Millions told to stay home as Queensland flood crisis continues

Just before midnight, a Severe thunderstorm warning was also issued for the south east Queensland region, for “intense rainfall that may lead to dangerous & life-threatening flash flooding”.

Areas impacted include Logan, Sunnybank Hills and Beenleigh. This comes in addition to earlier warnings for parts of the Gold Coast, Redland City and Brisbane City Council areas.

A Severe Weather Warning for damaging winds and heavy rainfall for people in parts of Darling Downs and Granite Belt and Southeast Coast Forecast Districts was also issued late into Sunday night.

Wind gusts could exceed 90km/hr in some part the BoM warns, especially in coastal areas.

Several towns remain under evacuation orders overnight, with parts of south east Queensland experiencing their worst flooding in over a decade.

The death toll has reached seven, including one SES volunteer.

Forecast for more rain and ‘life-threatening flash flooding’

The hazardous conditions are being brought about by a low pressure system currently centred near Brisbane city.

The forecast indicates rainfall will initially be concentrated over southern suburbs of Brisbane, before gradually clearing from the north and pushing further south towards the NSW border, during the early hours of Monday morning.

Heavy to locally intense rainfall is likely to follow, which may lead to “life-threatening flash flooding” across parts of southeast Queensland overnight.

“The six-hourly rainfall totals between 60 and 120mm are likely to continue with this system,” the BoM warns, adding totals could reach in excess of 180mm.

The heavy to intense falls not expected to fully clear until around sunrise on Monday morning.

The BoM has upgraded its flood warnings to “major” for the lower Brisbane River around the central business district and the Logan and Albert rivers, following continued rain throughout Sunday.

“With these conditions, multiple homes may be inundated by water, bridges and traffic routes are likely to be cut and significant overland flooding is expected,” they said..

In Brisbane City, the BoM expects a second major flood peak of the Brisbane River during Monday morning’s high tide, which will be around 8am, warning it could reach 4m.

The Brisbane River also reached major flood levels of 3.50m on the high tide on Sunday, falling to 3.35m with the tide.

More than 400mm of rainfall was recorded in the Brisbane area on Sunday.

This has contributed to Wivenhoe Dam utilising flood storage compartment as it currently sits at 183.7 per cent above capacity, according to Seqwater.

This comes despite staged releases of water, which began on Friday night, with the first of these expected to reach Brisbane on Monday.

Queensland residents are also being asked to conserve drinking water, with treatment plant impacted by the weather event.

Brisbane Airport remains open but localised flooding has blocked some point access to and from the airport, with flooding also resulting in the closure of the Skygate and DFO precincts.

“Tonight is challenging for everyone at BNE,” they tweeted on Sunday night.

“The Terminals will stay open for those who can’t leave the airport.”

While further north, the Bruce Highway remains closed between Caloundra and Caboolture.

System likened to ‘an unpredictable cyclone’

Earlier on Sunday Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk likened the system smashing the state’s south east to “an unpredictable cyclone”, and urged caution.

“No one expected this rain bomb to be sitting over the south east of our state for such a long period of time,” she said in a briefing just after 3pm on Sunday (4pm AEDT).

“This is like an unpredictable cyclone and it is levels that we never expected or could never have been forecast.”

Queensland Police conducting welfare checks near Glenore in the Scenic Rim.

Queensland floodwaters expected to surpass deadly 2011 weather event

While the “rain bomb” is expected to move south on Monday, floodwaters are expected to linger for the following three-to-five days.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced the federal government had activated disaster recovery payments of $1000 per eligible adult and $400 per eligible child to support those impacted.

The payments will be available for people in the local government areas of Gympie and North Burnett from Monday, but are expected to be made more widely available as other areas are declared disaster zones.

The Australian Defence Force said personnel will continue to support the emergency response efforts and will do more once the water recedes and the recovery effort starts.

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