Floodwaters could cut off properties in southwest Queensland from the rest of the world for as long as a month, stranding locals as they wait for the waters to recede.
That’s what locals fear after outback Goondiwindi held its breath while flood levels came close to spilling over the town’s 11-metre levees, only to drop at the last moment.
“Our levee has saved our town as it has done time and time again,” Goondiwindi Mayor Lawrence Springborg told AAP on Sunday.
Mr Springborg said floodwaters peaked on Saturday, with the peak now travelling slowly downstream to inundate flood plains in western Queensland and NSW.
But he warned residents downstream of Goondiwindi, towards Mungindi, will likely be isolated for a month.
“Resilience is being cut off by floodwaters for two weeks or more than a month, and these people survive that,” he said.
The Macintyre River reached 10.43m at Goondiwindi on Saturday morning before starting to recede overnight, and was about 10.27m on Sunday morning.
It was amongst the biggest flood threat the town has faced in a decade, but below the levels reached during the 2011 flood peak of 10.64 metres.
Bracing for more rain
Bureau of Meteorology forecaster Andy Barnes told AAP the river would remain above the major flood level throughout Sunday and Monday, and he warned more rain is likely in catchments next week.
“Midweek, there’s the potential for showers and thunderstorms for the area with the risk of flash flooding,” he said.
Mr Springborg advised people in the path of the slow-moving flood to make their way to the nearest town to stock up on essentials.
While 90 fire and emergency services personnel are ready to be deployed, along with three helicopters, he said resupply by air should be an exception.
Roads to Goondiwindi from the east should open by late on Monday, but the town is likely to remain cut off in other directions.
“The big challenge now is that our infrastructure is severely damaged, the roads were seriously knocked about before this, now they are extensively damaged,” Mr Springborg said.
Meanwhile, the clean-up continues in the towns of Inglewood and Texas.
Crews had conducted 352 building assessments by Saturday, with two properties found to be severely damaged, 15 moderately damaged and 105 suffering minor issues.
Major flood warnings remain in place for the Condamine, Balonne, Dawson, Macintyre and Weir rivers.
Moderate warnings have been issued for the Bulloo, Moonie and Paroo rivers.