A teenage girl is the latest to be rescued in Queensland floods after she found clinging to a tree to escape raging water.
It’s reported the girl jumped into the water at Dalby in the Western Downs region, not realising the risk before she was quickly pulled away by the current.
The girl clung on for life while waiting for the swift water rescue team to arrive. A police officer and bystander came to her aid, helping her out of the water.
The incident is one of several rescues today as flood warnings continue to cause havoc across the state.
Residents driving through floodwaters remain a significant concern and two towns have been forced to evacuate.
In the south near Brisbane, a flooded car in Biddaddaba triggered a major rescue operation, with witnesses describing a man clinging to a tree for an hour while waiting for emergency personnel.
Queensland Fire and Emergency Services said SES volunteers had answered more than 400 requests for assistance in the last 24 hours, most involving people who had driven through floods.
“We’ve been getting this message out for a long time and people still aren’t taking heed: if it’s flooded forget it,” QFES Commissioner Greg Leach said.
“I think it’s inexcusable that people drive into floodwaters putting not only their own lives but first responders at risk.”
In Yalarbon, near Goondiwindi, an emergency alert was issued for residents to leave their homes.
Goondiwindi Regional Council conducted door-knocks, helping people reach an evacuation centre at the Goondiwindi Showgrounds.
Meanwhile, residents have been allowed to return to the inundated Darling Downs township of Inglewood after an overnight evacuation.
It’s reported the wet weather hit the town so quickly, most only noticed the flooding when they were visited by police initiating the evacuation.
Ninety minutes later, the Macintyre Brook burst its banks, reaching 11.15 metres this morning and shattering a previous 1988 water level record of 10.5m.
The main street of Inglewood, tucked in a bend of a rising Canning Creek in the Darling Downs, was underwater this morning.
During the evacuation, the town’s 950 residents were gathered at the designated point by the cemetery.
While residents have since been allowed back into the township, roads are still underwater.
Some residents are still unable to get to their homes, with parts of the town inaccessible.
“It’s supposed to reach the levels of 1976,” resident Troy Callaghan said.
“Here, we’re just trying to save what we can.”
Some areas have received more than 100mm rain in just 24 hours.
Areas like Chinchilla, in the state’s Western Downs region, Yalangur near Toowoomba and Bundaberg in central Queensland have also been hit with extensive flash flooding due to heavy rains.
Mr Leach said crews were working hard to keep Queensland residents safe, with more severe weather predicted to dominate the next few months.
“It’s been a very busy start to our severe weather season in Queensland,” he said.
“There’s a number of river catchments we’re watching closely, and as the water moves down we’ll work with local groups to get messages out.
“This is only the start of our severe weather system. We’ve got a long way to go yet.”
The weather system has moved off-shore, but heavy rain is still expected to continue.
Waters won’t peak around Goondiwindi until Friday.
More than 200 roads have been closed across the state.
Queensland Fire and Emergency Services Assistant Commissioner Stephen Smith urged residents to keep track of flood warnings and to be extremely careful on roads.
“Unfortunately, we continue to see people getting themselves into situations driving through swift water and floodwater,” he said.
Bureau of Meteorology senior meteorologist Jackson Browne said the widespread rain in south-east Queensland and northern NSW would “break down” over the day.
“We had a band of thunderstorms that was following this band of rain, so that will be the main weather feature today,” he said.
“So severe thunderstorms for those areas, unfortunately, that did see the rainfall.”
However, he said, the thunderstorms were smaller in size than the rain band, meaning less rainfall would enter the catchments.