A woman’s body has been recovered from a submerged car in the Sunshine Coast hinterland as authorities warn of more dangerous weather.
Sunshine Coast Police District Superintendent Craig Hawkins said the driver, the sole occupant of the vehicle, had died on a flooded road at Belli Park, west of Eumundi on Wednesday morning.
At 4.45am, police received a report of a submerged vehicle on Skyring Creek Road.
Initially, emergency services were unable to access it due to the conditions, but at 8am located a deceased 63-year-old Belli Park woman.
Superintendent Hawkins said a number of people had been rescued in separate incidents, and up to 10 were missing.
“Unfortunately, we have seen the catastrophic consequences of going out in such terrible conditions and the message to motorists is: ‘if it’s flooded, forget it’.”
Flash flooding is occurring throughout the region as residents are warned to brace for more severe weather over the next 48 hours.
Northern parts of the Sunshine Coast and Gympie are experiencing the most treacherous conditions after “intense rainfall” that saw 150mm to 250mm dumped in a matter of hours.
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Mount Wolvi, near Gympie, recorded a staggering 424mm, while Pomona had 356mm, Cedar Pocket Dam 354mm, Cooroy 212mm and Maroochydore 181mm.
By the weekend, further widespread accumulated rainfalls of 250-500mm are likely across South-East Queensland, with much higher isolated falls.
A Flood Watch was issued Wednesday morning with residents in the Sunshine Coast Local Government Area warned “roads and bridges may be impacted” and to “stay off roads if possible”.
“Rivers and creeks across the Sunshine Coast are responding to heavy rainfall recorded overnight Tuesday and into Wednesday morning, leading to localised flooding,” the Bureau of Meteorology said.
“A severe weather warning is current for the Southeast Coast and parts of the Wide Bay and Burnett Forecast Districts.
“A strong upper trough and associated cut-off low will move slowly eastward across the southern interior of Queensland during today and into Thursday, before moving offshore on Friday. A surface trough near the southeast coast will deepen in response to this upper weather system. The surface trough is forecast to remain slow-moving through Thursday, producing periods of heavy to intense rainfall over the next few days.”
The BOM said heavy rainfall that could lead to flash flooding was expected between Double Island Point, Toowoomba and Northeast NSW.
The severe weather experienced at Gympie and northern parts of the Coast was expected to extend south to Brisbane and the Gold Coast.
It warned moderate flooding may occur along the Mary River to Gympie, and issued an initial Minor Flood Warning for the Mooloolah River and Flood Warning for the Maroochy River and Coochin Creek.
Sunshine Coast Council is assessing the impacts of significant rainfall and localised flash flooding from heavy rainfall overnight.
Residents are urged to avoid all unnecessary travel. If travel is absolutely necessary, drive carefully and to the conditions – never drive through flood waters. Significant rainfall is expected to continue for the next three days and some parts of the Sunshine Coast have received more than 300mm over the last 24 hours.
Sunshine Coast Local Disaster Management Group Acting Chair and Deputy Mayor, Rick Baberowski, praised the work of Sunshine Coast Council crews and emergency services who are busy responding to the situation.
“They are working hard for our community, undertaking urgent works, clearing debris and installing road closures,” Cr Baberowski said.
“You can help keep them, yourself and your loved ones safe by staying off the roads when possible and please never drive through flood waters.
“An evacuation centre has been opened at Nambour Showgrounds and able to accept people and animals.”
More information and details on road closures can be found on council’s Disaster Hub website https://disasterhub.sunshinecoast.qld.gov.au
Gympie Regional Council issued an Emergency Alert to all residents in the local government area regarding flash flooding.
Residents are being advised that roads and bridges may be impacted by flash flooding and they should stay tuned to the Bureau of Meteorology for further information.
For flood assistance, contact the SES on 132 500. In life threatening emergencies call Triple Zero (000).
Localised flooding is occurring. Rainfall totals of between 30-150mm have been recorded in the catchment area since 9am Tuesday. Further heavy rainfall is forecast for the next few days, which may lead to further river level rises.
River level rises are occurring across the Maroochy River catchment. Strong river rises and minor to moderate flooding are occurring around Kiamba and Yandina early Wednesday morning.
Minor flooding may occur along the Mooloolah River.
The river level at Palmview is currently at 0.85m (below minor) and rising with the tide. The Mooloolah River at Palmview may reach the minor flood level (4.5m) Wednesday afternoon, with forecast heavy rainfall.
Strong river level rises are occurring along the Coochin Creek early Wednesday morning, from heavy rainfall overnight Tuesday into Wednesday morning.
Mary River to Gympie:
Moderate flooding may occur along the Mary River to Gympie.
The Mary River at Dagun Pocket is currently at 4.28m (below minor) and rising. The Mary River at Dagun Pocket is expected to exceed the minor flood level (7m) Wednesday morning and may reach the moderate flood level (13m) Wednesday afternoon with further heavy rainfall.
The Mary River at Gympie is currently at 2.16m (below minor) and rising fast. The Mary River at Gympie is likely to exceed the minor and go on to exceed moderate flood level (6m) early Wednesday morning. Further river level rises are are possible with further heavy rainfall.
Six Mile Creek:
Strong creek level rises are occurring along parts of Six Mile Creek early Wednesday morning.
Mary River downstream of Gympie:
Minor flooding may occur along the Mary River downstream of Gympie to Miva.
The Mary River at Miva is currently at 2.28m (below minor) and steady. The Mary River at Miva is likely to exceed the minor flood level (7.5m) Wednesday evening.
Strong creek level rises and minor flooding are occurring along the Tinana Creek at Tagigan Road.
For latest updates, go to www.bom.gov.au