News State NSW News Man dead, another missing amid flood alarm for 500km stretch of coastline
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Man dead, another missing amid flood alarm for 500km stretch of coastline

See the BOM weather update for northern NSW, south-east Qld

Source: Bureau of Meteorology

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A man is missing and another man and his five dogs have been killed in southern Queensland, as multiple flood warnings are issued for two states.

It came as towns along a 500-kilometre stretch of Australia’s east coast – from the Sunshine Coast to the NSW central coast – were warned to expect further dangerous rain and potential floods.

Earlier on Monday, Queensland police said a man in his 40s and a woman in another car became stranded in fast-flowing floodwaters while trying to cross Spring Creek on Stirling Road in North Branch, near Toowoomba, about 6am. Onlookers managed to help the woman to safety, but the man didn’t make it to dry land.

“A man in his 40s has exited the second vehicle, of which he was the sole occupant, and been swept away in flood waters,” police said in a statement.

Police, Queensland Fire and Emergency Service swiftwater rescue crews and a RACQ Lifeflight Rescue helicopter were still searching for the man at 11.30am.

He disappeared about an hour before another man and five dogs were killed when their ute was washed away at Kingsthorpe, north-west of Toowoomba.

The swiftwater crews rescued a woman who was also in the car, but the man and the dogs didn’t survive.

“A man was located deceased in the ute. A number of dogs also died,” police said in a statement.

QFES also rescued another two drivers stranded in floodwaters at Greenmount and at Drayton, south of Toowoomba, on Monday.

Meanwhile, Western Downs Regional Council has issued an emergency alert for residents in low-lying areas of Dalby to prepare to flee major floods. It said Myall Creek was already at a minor flood level and expected exceed major flood peak by Tuesday morning.

The Bureau of Meteorology put much of southern and south-east Queensland on flood watch as a coastal trough moved over the land on Monday.

The deluge came less than a month after record floods killed 13 people and damaged thousands of homes and business during Queensland’s wettest February in 130 years.

The forecaster said up to 180 millimetres of rain was expected in six hours from Double Island Point inland to Crows Nest to Warwick on Monday and Tuesday.

BOM also warned of possible falls of up to 200 millimetres that could bring “dangerous and life-threatening flash flooding” for parts of the Gold Coast, Brisbane, Maroochydore, Caboolture, Coolangatta and Ipswich.

By midday Monday, Seqwater had started flood releases from the Somerset Dam and said it would release water from the downstream Wivenhoe Dam into the Brisbane River for a further six-12 hours.

“If you are downstream of the dam, stay away from fast flowing or deep water near waterways and floodplains,” the utility said.

Brisbane Lord Mayor Adrian Schrinner said there was a risk of renewed flooding on low-lying parts of the city, where the ground is still saturated from the recent floods.

Gold Coast Council acting mayor Donna Gates said the city had opened sandbagging stations at Pimpama, Burleigh Heads and Bilinga ahead of the predicted deluge.

“Who would have thought we’d be right back in this position so quickly?” she said.

“The most important message of all for everyone is: If it’s flooded, forget it. Don’t go near water in either on foot or in vehicles.”

‘Won’t stop bloody raining’

The dangerous weather is also expected to hit flood-ravaged northern region of NSW, where communities are continuing a massive clean-up.

Heavy rainfall with a risk of possible life-threatening flash flooding was predicted for the northern rivers, North Coast and Northern Tablelands on Monday and through to Tuesday, Bureau of Meteorology senior meteorologist Jonathan How said.

Downpours of between 30-60 millimetres had already fallen on the coastal strip from Tweed Heads and Byron Bay overnight, Mr How said.

They came on top of up to 200 millimetres recorded in some regions over the weekend.

Mr How said the heavy rain would push down from Queensland on Monday afternoon – and then “really peak this afternoon and into the evening”.

Rain will continue into Tuesday, lasting well into the afternoon.

The forecast zone includes Tweed Heads, Murwillumbah, Byron Bay, Lismore, Yamba, Grafton, Coffs Harbour and Dorrigo, where six-hourly rainfall totals of 80-140 millimetres are predicted.

“All of those locations could see those really heavy falls, but it does come with a caveat that those flows will be with the thunderstorms, Mr How said.

He stressed while the conditions were similar to those in the recent Lismore flood, the outcome was not predicted to be as widespread and severe.

Lismore’s mayor Steve Krieg said the next two days would be critical for how the battered town would fare in coming days.

“It won’t bloody stop raining up here,” told the Nine Network on Monday.

“This is a major development, this weather front. If our river rises, we’re going to start the evacuations today just to be cautious.”

Cr Krieg estimated that up to 4000 people still remained homeless in Lismore after this month’s record floods.

Rough seas are expected along the Byron coast on Tuesday, and dangerous swells will also hit shores on the Macquarie and Hunter coast on Wednesday.

On Monday, there were flood watches for the northern rivers, mid-north coast, Hunter, Hawkesbury Nepean and north-western NSW rivers.

Moderate to major floods are a possible on the Richmond, Wilsons, Orara and Bellinger Rivers from Tuesday as heavy falls hit already-saturated catchments.

Minor to moderate flooding is also a risk for parts of the northern rivers, the north coast, Hunter, Hawkesbury-Nepean and north-western NSW rivers.

-with AAP