Rockhampton residents are facing a long week with floodwaters set to stay high into the weekend.
By late Wednesday afternoon, the Fitzroy River was at a level of 8.4 metres and rising slowly, with the flood peak now expected at noon on Thursday – just under the 2011 flood peak of 9.2 metres.
Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said the peak would be later than expected, but was still predicted to reach the nine-metre mark.
The current situation is:
- Authorities expect 1800 properties to be affected by the rising waters
- More than 300 homes and businesses to be inundated
- Flood levels will go down to 8.5 metres within 48 hours of peaking
- Throughout Queensland, more than 94 per cent of properties which lost power due to Cyclone Debbie have had power re-connected
- There have been more than 6474 requests for SES assistance, but it is expected to increase as recovery efforts continue and floodwaters rise in Rockhampton
Residents in areas that are likely to be cut off have been warned to decide whether they will leave or stay while it is still safe to do so.
Bureau of Meteorology meteorologist James Thompson said the river would remain high for several days.
“The peak’s expected to stay up even into Saturday morning,” Mr Thompson said.
“So, with all that water that’s come down, the Fitzroy’s quite a big catchment, so it takes quite while for that to subside.
“For many systems that would be unusual but for the Fitzroy catchment, that’s quite a big system.”
Ms Palaszczuk urged residents not to allow children to play in floodwaters.
“We do not know what is in those floodwaters – we don’t know what is underneath,” she said.
“Please do not allow your children to play in floodwaters. Keep them safe and keep them with you.”
Temporary flood barriers have been erected to protect homes in north Rockhampton.
Berserker resident Christine Dore hopes they will work.
“We get water under the house and through our stables so I’ve shifted all the horses and we’ve shifted everything that we need to up,” she said.
Resident Dawn Croyden cleaned out underneath her house.
“Everything has been put upstairs, my son has taken stuff to his place. Everything’s in the sheds, [we’ve] tied things up, got things ready upstairs for when the power goes off,” she said.
Ms Croyden knows her house will be isolated for a few days with no power until the floodwaters go down.
“[We’ll] just sit around and watch and try and clean the yard up a bit,” she said.
“Sometimes there is debris around the fence, we try and move that away, do things like that – everyone is ready.”
— Lisa Clarke (@lisaclarkephoto) April 4, 2017
Some businesses in East Street are already surrounded by water.
East Street bar owner Peter Hawkins is confident his business will not be inundated
“We think we’ll be fine here at nine metres the maps show that we’re just out of it,” Mr Hawkins said.
No more beer on tap at pub
Fitzroy Hotel manager Tiona McGugian, who lived in Rockhampton since last April, said the pub had been through this before and was prepared for the latest flood.
“I have had enough excitement – I knew what was happening and what was coming but the power got turned off yesterday at 5pm so we’ve been running on a generator and it’s very loud,” she said.
“And, yes, I’ve woken up to a beautiful river view.”
She said the pub had to move a lot of stock into Eskies.
“We’ve got about eight Eskies in there full with ice at the moment,” she said.
“I’ve been able to salvage, with the generator, two drop freezers to keep more ice happening, and I’ve had to move all of my cartons and things like that into the main fridge in the kitchen.
“The kegs are all gone now as the electricity is turned off … so we don’t have beer on tap any more, so it’s just stubbies.”