Cairns drenched by five months of above average rain
QUEENSLAND was in flood crisis last night with several towns placed on evacuation alert due to
near-record flood levels and torrential rain continuing the lash the state.
While the situation in central, southeast and southwest Queensland was dire, there was some relief in the Far North with heavy rain easing and a single lane of the Bruce Highway reopened after being cut at Ingham.
However, authorities are warning the Cairns region to brace for further flooding if heavy downpours return.
More than twice the average rainfall will have drenched Cairns by the end of December – the fifth month in a row that region has doubled its rainfall average.
"For the next few days, we’re expecting a slight easing, but scattered showers and isolated thunderstorms are likely for the afternoons and evenings all week," weather bureau spokesman Adam Marshall said.
Drivers have been warned to restrict their time on the road to essential travel only.
"There’s just nowhere for the water to go, and for every drop that falls on a road in Queensland, the risk of a sudden change in road conditions is increased," RACQ spokesman Joe Fitzgerald said.
Mr Fitzgerald said the 300 road closures throughout the state made ex-cyclone Tasha the broadest-reaching weather front in Queensland since 1974.
And with wetter-than-average rainfall forecast for the traditionally sodden first three months of the New Year, grocers and publicans in
the Far North are already monitoring their stock levels.
"From our point of view, we’re OK at this point in time," Gordonvale IGA owner Terry Walters said.
The SES relief effort continued to wind up as the post-Tasha mop up nears completion.
Emergency Services Minister Neil Roberts activated disaster relief arrangements for the Far North yesterday, allowing the Cairns, Cassowary Coast and Tablelands councils to access state funding to cover the cost of counter disaster
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Make a splash: With the road cut by floodwater, this family has taken the chance to have fun in a swimming area at Behana Creek, near Aloomba Picture: JAKE NOWAKOWSKI