An emergency has been declared in south-western Queensland, with major flooding expected in the town of St George on Tuesday and Wednesday.
Police say the Balonne River might peak at 12.5 metres overnight on Wednesday.
An emergency declaration was issued for St George, which is about 500 kilometres west of Brisbane, by Queensland Police on Tuesday morning following downpours at the weekend.
If the river reaches 12.5 metres, the flood will be on par with the 1950 deluge – which remains the fifth largest flood recorded in the small rural community since 1890.
As the water continues to rise, authorities have warned rural properties might be isolated, and residents have been urged to stock up on essentials such as food and medical supplies.
Police have also asked residents to avoid the use of personal watercraft in the water system.
But Balonne Shire Council Mayor Richard Marsh said locals had mostly welcomed the rain, which came after a decade of drought.
“You can make more money from mud than dust,” Cr Marsh told the ABC.
“It might be a pain for some that have got to move a little bit, but for the rest of the community it’s an opportunity for us to really go forward.”
The town of Dirranbandi, about 90 kilometres south of St George, is also preparing for major flooding later in the week.
The emergency declaration has been issued for the Balonne River from Beardmore Dam to the Queensland-NSW border.
Beardmore Dam, which supplies water to St George, has been spilling for almost a fortnight.
The dam was almost empty at the start of February and has filled to overflowing in less than two weeks, according to the local water authority. It had gone from just 6 per cent full to 100 per cent in just 10 days, a SunWater spokesperson said.
“SunWater expects that inflows will provide more than 12 months’ urban water supply to St George,” the spokesperson said.
Towns across Queensland’s south-west and southern interior have experienced flooding this week.
Charleville, Mitchell and Surat have all had floods after recent heavy rain. Floodwaters in the Warrego River at Charleville were falling on Tuesday after peaking lower than expected.
The river reached 5.7 metres on Monday night, below the expected 6.3 metres.
Murweh Shire Council Mayor Annie Liston told the ABC the town’s bridge was closed early on Monday night as a precaution.
“We took the fire trucks and the ambulance and all that over the other side of the river, just in case something happened over the river,” Cr Liston said.
Murweh Council was to assess damage in Charleville on Tuesday morning.