A huge area of north and western Queensland remains on flood alert, with regional communities like Charters Towers and Innisfail in North Queensland swamped by today’s downpour.
Video footage shows several people running to partially submerged vehicles, or attempting to drive through floodwaters before becoming trapped, despite emergency warnings.
Severe weather is expected to continue throughout the week, with several SES crews ready to help those in need.
“The SES has sandbags prepared, we have water over the roads as we’re speaking now, we anticipate the next two days to be fairly heavy,” Charters Towers mayor Frank Beveridge said.
Residents have been urged to take care and to avoid floodwaters after a man in his 20s was rescued from in Mount Isa, in the state’s north-west, last night.
The man was transported to Mount Isa Hospital in a stable condition with hypothermia.
9News understands the man became stranded and was forced to cling to reeds for 30 minutes.
Longreach was also soaked, with some areas copping over 100mm in a day.
Resident Alex Graham said the downpour was highly unusual for the outback region.
“Currently outside it looks beautiful,” he said.
“Everything’s greened up since the last lot of rain.
“This bit on top will make a pretty magnificent winter out here.”
Local Jenny Gordon said the rain has not eased since midnight.
“It started around 12.15am and hasn’t let up. Will measure (the gauge) at 9am,” she said.
Longreach mayor Tony Rayner said paddocks in the community hadn’t received this much rain in years.
“We’ll have a wonderful season ahead of us for the Ag sector and also for tourism, I mean Lake Eyre Basin will have a wonder flood through it in the bottom catchment,” he said.
Weatherzone said some parts of the state could be hit with “several month’s worth of rain in a single day.”
“This weather pattern is very unusual for May,” the weather service said.
“A broad area of Queensland could pick up more than 100mm from this system and some areas could see more than 300mm.”
Mayor of Townsville Jenny Hill said residents are on high alert, as “significant run-off” is expected tomorrow.
“The weather is already starting to roll in. We had about 50mm yesterday, which is pretty easy,” she said.
“Tomorrow is the day that we expect to see anything up to well over 200mm.
“The big problem for us, the Bureau can only give us certain degree of accuracy. We can cope with 200mm if it falls throughout the day.
“It’s very hard when you get 100mm, 150mm falling in an hour or two hours. That’s the risk for everyone.”
Residents in the coastal town are urged to “stay in place.”
“We don’t want people crossing getting out of their homes if roads are covered in water,” Hill said.
Meteorologist Laura Boekel said “it doesn’t take much rainfall for catchments to respond really quickly.”
“That’s when we can start seeing flash flooding and that’s when we see the situations that become more life threatening,” she said.
Ahead of the wild weather, Queensland Fire and Emergency (QFES) urged residents in affected areas to develop a “Plan B”.
“So you know what to do if you’re faced with flooded roads on your usual way to work, home, or school,” it wrote last week.
“Remember, if it’s flooded, forget it.”
‘Unusual’ weather system behind big wet
The wet weather is being caused by an upper level trough over central Australia.
Rain will be heaviest over central parts of the state today, before the system sweeps across to the coast tomorrow.
Dangerous surf “up to three metres” is expected to develop in Queensland later this week.
Queensland’s south-east is also on alert for heavy falls, however meteorologist Jackson Browne yesterday said the worst of the weather is expected across the central regions and north coast.
Areas in NSW are also expected to see heavy rain later in the week.
“The forecasting modelling really doesn’t detail exactly how far south the heaviest of the rain will move,” Davies said.