Flood fears as rain pours

Townsville Bulletin - - News - by Heather O’Neill

THE fore­cast for more heavy rain in the Her­bert re­gion early next week could de­liver the district its fifth flood since Christ­mas, cut­ting roads to the north and south of Ing­ham.

In the 24 hours to 9am yes­ter­day, I ng­ham Pump Sta­tion recorded 203mm, Gair­loch 201mm, Tre­bonne 1 8 1 mm, Ha wk i n s C r e e k 172mm, Vic­to­ria Sugar Mill 166mm, Hal­i­fax 188mm, Ing­ham De­pot 175mm, Lucinda 148mm, Card­well Gap alert 144mm, Up­per Stone 142mm, Ca r d wel l Ra n g e 1 3 6 mm, Aber­gowrie Bridge al ert 126mm, Poverty Hill 110mm, Na s h s C r o s s i n g 1 1 3 mm, Aber­gowrie alert 102mm and Gowrie Creek 84mm.

Falls rang­ing from 1mm to 5mm were recorded in the Her­bert’s catch­ment from 9am to 2.30pm yes­ter­day.

Cas­sowary Coast Coun­cil Mayor Bill Shan­non said 20 homes were un­der­wa­ter in Card­well and Kennedy, and lo­cal peo­ple were do­ing it tough with rain still buck­et­ing down.

‘‘ It’s very hard, a month af­ter the cy­clone. Lo­cals are go­ing through a lot of anx­i­ety with in­surance com­pa­nies and they just don’t need this ex­tra drama,’’ Mr Shan­non said.

He said the wa­ter was slow t o r e c e d e b e c a us e t r e e s brought down by the cy­clone were block­ing creeks, and s o me d r a i n s w e r e s t i l l clogged by sand and de­bris.

‘‘ We’ve cleaned a lot of it, but we haven’t had a chance to do it all,’’ he said.

Coun­cil crews would be sent out to clean and flush the drains as soon as the waters re­ceded.

Townsville me­te­o­rol­o­gist Doug Fraser said heavy rain had eased off overnight Tues­day, but more shower ac­tiv­ity was fore­cast into the week­end.

Mr Fraser said the bu­reau had ad­justed their se­vere weather warn­ing to north of Lucinda. ‘‘ That’s where the more in­tense rain­fall is still likely to cause ing,’’ he said.

‘‘ But there is still rain through the Her­bert re­gion catch­ment and we are ex­pect­ing to see fur­ther rain but not the re­ally in­tense rain­fall that we have had over the last few days.’’

Mr Fraser said the rain­fall was due to a mon­soon trough ly­ing to the north of Ing­ham feed­ing strong south-easterly winds i nto t he mon­soon trough.

And while there are no trop­i­cal cy­clones close to the east coast at the mo­ment, Mr Fraser said an in­land low over the North­ern Ter­ri­tory was ex­pected to join the mon­soon trough that caused the re­cent flood.

‘‘ We are look­ing at more rain over the fore­see­able fu­ture and es­pe­cially into the late week­end and early next week, ( when) we could see a re­turn of the heav­ier rains, so it’s ba­si­cally a re­peat of the sort of weather that was re­spon­si­ble for the heav­ier rain over the last few days,’’ he said.

‘‘ We’ve got an­other big high-pres­sure sys­tem com­ing in down to the south and that’s go­ing to be feed­ing into the mon­soon trough again and more likely the north trop­i­cal coast and the Cairns re­gion are go­ing to pick up the heav­ier rain in the short­term, but into Sun­day/ Mon­day we might see it re­turn­ing to the Ing­ham district.’’

Mr Fraser said the only sav­ing grace would be the event would be ‘‘ fairly short­lived’’ af­ter the high moved through and down to the south, but res­i­dents should not be com­pla­cent with the wet sea­son still ac­tive.

‘‘ Our wet sea­son can last through well into April, so we still have an­other month of wet sea­son left,’’ he said.

‘‘ So ( there is) still time for trop­i­cal low or cy­clone develo p me n t t h r o u g h t o t h e mid­dle of April.’’

De­scrib­ing the state’s wet sea­son as ‘‘ big’’, Mr Fraser said most ar­eas of Queens­land had been in­un­dated with heavy rain falls.

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