Floodwaters in Bundaberg have peaked, but more than 7,000 people are unable to return to their homes as the city remains in the grip of its worst flood on record.
In New South Wales, Grafton residents have escaped a major disaster despite the Clarence River exceeding new levels but concern has shifted to communities downstream.
This morning's peak in Brisbane was not as bad as previously feared but residents are being asked to conserve water because treatment plants have been affected by flooding.
The key points this evening:
- Bundaberg remains in the grip of a record flood, with 7,500 people displaced.
- Grafton's levee has held back a record 8.1m Clarence River flood but concerns are held for communities downstream.
- There are 41,000 people isolated across NSW where flood warnings for 14 rivers are in place.
- This morning's Brisbane flood peak was not as bad as expected but residents are told to conserve water.
- There are fears dozens of properties at Alberton on the Gold Coast may be inundated tonight.
10:55pm: The predicted flood peak of the Clarence River at Maclean, in northern New South Wales, has been revised and is now due to arrive early in the morning. The peak had been expected about now, midnight AEDT.
However, the weather bureau says the peak is expected in a few hours' time, reaching 3.2 metres, with the levy slightly higher at 3.3 metres.
10:20pm: German tourist Simone Haffner has been forced into an evacuation centre in Bundaberg. She told ABC reporter Bruce Atkinson that the backpackers hostel she was staying in was evacuated on Saturday and her car has been flooded.
I never thought it could happen to me... I miss home now more than before, but it's OK.
10:10pm: Residents living near the Logan River, south of Brisbane, are watching anxiously as flood waters steadily rise. The bureau says the river should peak early tomorrow morning and a number of people have chosen to evacuate their homes.
Waterford West resident Russell Leneham says he is surprised the water has risen so high:
In the 2011 floods, the water just touched on the road further down, where as now it is probably covering it now to about four, four-and-half to five feet.
9:59pm: Becky Gollings from the SES says Clarence River is expected to peak at Maclean at 3.4 metres at about midnight (AEDT).
So that should overtop the levee which is at 3.3 metres... so we could experience some inundation of homes in that area.
9:43pm: Volunteers from the State Emergency Service have been doorknocking homes in low lying parts of northern Maclean and nearby Harwood Island, telling people to leave now. The SES posted on Facebook:
A Flood Evacuation Order has been issued for Harwood Island on the Clarence River near Maclean. An All Clear has been issued for Grafton and parts of South Grafton. Low lying parts of northern Maclean are under an Evacuation Order. The river is expected to peak at 3.4m at midnight tonight.
9:20pm: State MP for Clarence Chris Gulaptis lives in Maclean and has told News 24 he is optimistic the levee in town will hold when floodwaters peak in coming hours.
The river is slowly climbing up the levee wall. I've been monitoring it all day and following also the predictions on the bureau website. The bureau website has been very accurate through the course of the flooding, through Grafton and here in Maclean there's quite a few people down at the levee wall, obviously anxious, but these are long-standing residents who have experienced many floods.
What we are seeing at the moment is that the floodwater is still about 450 millimetres from the top of the concrete levee wall in Maclean. It's not due to peak until about midnight and it's only a couple of hours away and it seems at this stage that it would be unlikely to rise at that amount, 450 millimetres in a couple of hours, so stranger things have happened.
9:10pm: ABC Breakfast presenter Karina Carvalho has tweeted:
| ||@Karina_Carv The Logan river is set to peak at Waterford at 9m between 2200 & 0100.|
9:05pm: Astronaut Chris Hadfield has tweeted another picture from the International Space Station, 350 kilometres from Earth. This photo shows floodwater in the Burnett River running out to sea at Bundaberg:
8:54pm: Authorities say it is now unlikely the greater Brisbane area will run out of water tonight. Residents were earlier asked to conserve supplies after muddy flood water forced the closure of the Mount Crosby treatment plant.
Justin Poulus, from Queensland Urban Utilities, says the facility is now partially back online.
It is starting to produce good high quality water again and that is feeding into the network and I guess what that means overall is that it is now very unlikely that we would be going to lose supply to suburbs.
It's still a possibility because the plant's not fully recommissioned yet but as every hour ticks past the likelihood of anyone losing supply diminishes.
8:45pm: Michael Cox, from the Muddy Waters Cafe in Maryborough, tells News 24 his business has flooded four times in recent years. The cafe is underwater again up to its roof. However, he says he has never been tempted to pack in his business.
I've never been tempted to throw it in. We get a lot of support and help from family and local support as well, so we are not a family to give up or throw it in.
We're pretty strong and we just have to wait and see what happens when the water goes down and assess the damage and go from there. You see a lot of mud. In 2011 that was probably the most devastating, one that we've had to date. This one is obviously looking a little worse for everyone in the region as well.
When we brought the business everything was fairly old and we sort of had plans to revamp the place and get it looking a bit fresher and after 2011 we had no choice, we just had to make sure everything was flood-friendly.
8:38pm: Reporter Peter McCutcheon visited flooded communities in the Lockyer Valley, west of Brisbane, and filed this report for 7.30:
8:10pm: ABC reporter Bruce Atkinson tells News 24 the Burnett River at Bundaberg peaked at 7pm. Authorities do not expect the river to rise any further.
Excellent news here, about an hour or so ago, the river's been steady at about 9.3 metres all afternoon, or most of the afternoon, and about an hour or so ago they've confirmed that it has reached the peak at 9.53. They don't expect it to go any further. So it is still going, still flowing, lot of water in here but that peak has been reached so a lot of people around town would be really, really pleased.
The people in the hospital have all been taken out. There was so far today 97 have been air lifted to Brisbane by Air Force aircraft, there's 13 more to go and I assume even though it's peaked they'll still want them to go to Brisbane.
The river won't go down in a hurry here but the Bruce Highway, good news to the south, the Bruce Highway will reopen at some stage in the morning. There's army personnel on standby in Brisbane.
Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield, on board the International Space Station, has tweeted this photograph:
ABC reporter Lucy Carter has tweeted:
| ||@lucethoughts All clear announced for Grafton. People can return to businesses and homes.|
Bundaberg resident Ruby Rozenkrantz, who was evacuated from a retirement home in the city's east, is about to spend her second night in an evacuation centre.
She told ABC reporter Caitlyn Gribbon that emergency crews are doing an excellent job.
"We've got the best little position we could find, with a bit of breeze," she said.
"I picked the best bed in the room. I went around and saw that no-one was in it, so I slid it over, but I really think we're lucky to have a place like this to come to.
"They're absolutely fabulous people. The Red Cross and the other people, the Salvos, they do a fabulous job, don't they?"
More than 80,000 properties are without power across south-east Queensland.
About 28,000 of those are in Brisbane, about 11,000 are on the Gold Coast and about 10,000 are on the Sunshine Coast.
Emergency Management Queensland (EMQ) assistant director-general Bruce Grady has tweeted:
| ||@BruceGrady Has your community slipped under the radar during the #bigwet in #Qld? Let us know how you're going and what you need. ow.ly/1RBP6w|
Here's a photo we've come across of cattle at Pine Creek near Gin Gin in Queensland's Wide Bay region.
Here's hoping they don't have to moo-ve again before the water recedes.
The swollen Bremer River peaked well below levels recorded in 2011, much to the relief of residents in Ipswich.
The ABC's John Taylor filed this report earlier this afternoon:
The weather bureau says while the flood threat has reduced in Brisbane, flows into the Logan River south of of the city will peak tonight.
Logan Mayor Pam Parker told the ABC's PM program that council officials have letterbox dropped about 150 residents who will be affected.
"We expect a peak at the Waterford Bridge at between 10pm and 1am in the morning," she said.
"We expect the peak to be 9 metres in height, which is equivalent to the 1991 flood.
"So I say to people, if you're not one of the 150 people that got a letter, you'll be OK, but those who have received the letter, monitor your situation as best you can and be on standby.
"Most of them are going to be OK because their homes are up high enough on the parcel of land, but there are one or two that have been very cautious and they've packed all their goods and they're ready for evacuation if necessary."
On the western Darling Downs in Queensland, authorities are monitoring Charleys Creek in Chinchilla as it continues to rise.
The council is preparing for moderate to major flooding in the town, but they are hopeful no homes will be inundated.
Mayor Ray Brown says an evacuation centre has been set up at the local cultural centre.
Meanwhile in the Lockyer Valley, the focus turned to clean-up efforts as floodwaters receded across the region.
The RACQ has tweeted:
| ||@RACQOfficial We've had one of our busiest days ever with more than 4,900 roadside rescues and 3,058 insurance claims! #bigwet|
Parts of northern New South Wales are yet to bear the full brunt of the floods, as the swollen Clarence River makes its way downstream from Grafton.
The flood peak in Maclean is expected around midnight and is predicted to come within 10 centimetres of the levee's limit.
Clarence Valley councillor and local resident Jim Simmons spoke to ABC News 24 a little earlier:
Governor-General Quentin Bryce is to visit flood-affected areas in Queensland and New South Wales.
Tomorrow, Ms Bryce will visit patients evacuated to Brisbane from Bundaberg Hospital before travelling to the Lockyer Valley to meet volunteers and residents.
On Friday, Ms Bryce will attend a barbecue for volunteers and flood-affected residents in the Grafton area before travelling to Bundaberg.
ABC Open producer Lisa Clarke has managed to reach the Queensland town of Stanwell, near Rockhampton, which has been cut off for days.
She has spoken to locals who have told of a wall of water that crashed through the town. In Sackville Street, close to 20 houses were inundated.
Authorities says hundreds of Rockhampton residents will be affected, and the Bruce Highway will be cut, due to flooding from the Fitzroy River this weekend.
Saturday's expected peak is 8.5 metres - the river reached 9.2 metres in 2011.
Around 15,000 homes and businesses are still without power on the New South Wales north coast.
The Tweed, Ballina, Byron, Lismore and Richmond Valley council areas are all affected.
Essential Energy says some regions will continue to be without supply overnight.
The North Burnett Regional Council says Gayndah residents are requested to stop using water except for essential purposes as the water storage tanks are almost empty.
The council is currently experiencing difficulties maintaining essential water levels at current usage rates.
It says water should only be used for hygiene purposes and drinking.
Residents are also advised to boil water prior to use.
The ABC's Caitlyn Gribbin has sent this photo from an evacuation centre in Bundaberg:
Bundaberg authorities say they expect more properties to be flooded this afternoon.
The level at the Burnett River has stayed at 9.5 metres since 11am.
Weather bureau hydrologist David Berry says they are still monitoring the water level.
"It's difficult to call a peak in these situations until [the levels] start to drop," he said.
Forty-one Bundaberg patients are being treated at hospitals in Brisbane, the Sunshine Coast and Hervey Bay.
A Hercules plane remains on standby to evacuate a further 60 patients.
A total of 160 military personnel from Brisbane are on their way to the city to assist emergency authorities in the worst-affected areas.
While Grafton residents are relieved the town's levee has held back a record 8.08-metre flood peak, concern has now turned to communities further downstream who will be affected in the next 24 to 48 hours.
Many communities have been cut off by floodwaters including Ulmarra, Cowper and Brushgrove.
There is widespread flooding at Ulmarra and the river is expected to peak at Maclean later tonight.
The Pacific Highway between Ballina and Grafton is closed to traffic in both directions and could be cut off for days.
The ABC's Jeff Waters filed this report earlier this afternoon:
More than 40 properties may be at risk of inundation on the northern Gold Coast between 6pm and 8pm.
The council is monitoring the Alberton area where the Logan and Albert rivers meet.
Mayor Tom Tate says 18 properties could be inundated to floor level and owners are on standby to evacuate.
He says he visited the area earlier today and says safety messages are not being heeded.
"I witnessed myself the message of 'if it's flooded, forget it' hasn't quite got through," he said.
"There was a tractor out there crossing over and it appeared it was going to stall, and with a bit of luck it came through.
"Now if that tractor had stalled right in the middle, we would have had to find a larger tractor to pull that one out."
Here is video of Campbell Newman's press conference earlier this afternoon when he said the floodwaters were nearing their peak in Bundaberg.
He also warned of the need for people in the greater Brisbane area to conserve water as treatment plants went offline because of flooding. Read the story here
Electricity provider Ergon Energy says people in Mundubbera and Eidsvold should prepare for another night without power.
Ergon says its efforts to restore power are being hindered by significant damage and access issues.
A coastal management expert has warned against frolicking in the large swathes of foam which are blanketing Australia's eastern beaches.
Many are flocking to the coast to witness the natural phenomena, stirred up by ex-Tropical Cyclone Oswald's ferocious winds and torrential rain.
But Professor Rodger Tomlinson from Griffith University's centre for coastal management says the foam may contain sewage and toxins.
Read the full story here
Here is video of a press conference held a little earlier by NSW Premier Barry O'Farrell and emergency officials in Grafton.
The Premier says the town has suffered enough hardship in recent years.
Queensland Police say a flooding emergency has been declared in Alberton near Beenleigh and is likely to experience inundation throughout today.
Residents are urged to warn neighbours, secure belongings and prepare to leave if necessary.
Anyone that requires assistance is urged to contact the SES on 132 500.
Prime Minister Julia Gillard and NSW Premier Barry O'Farrell have announced that 10 flood-stricken local government areas in northern NSW will be able to access jointly funded disaster assistance.
Residents, small business owners and farmers in shires including Ballina, Bellingen, Coffs Harbour, Lismore, and Clarence Valley will be eligible for the funds.
Queensland Premier Campbell Newman holds a press conference to provide an update on the latest flood developments.
He says the Burnett River is expected to peak in Bundaberg around now at 9.6 metres.
That means about 2,000 homes and 200 businesses would be flood-affected.
Mr Newman also repeats earlier advice that the muddy nature of the floodwaters in the Brisbane area have seen officials ask that residents conserve water.
He says Brisbane is currently drawing water from Gold Coast and Sunshine Coast reserves.
The Premier warned that some Brisbane reservoirs could dry up overnight if people did not limit their usage to around 150 litres per day.
"The normal consumption of water across the greater Brisbane area is around 450 megalitres per day, and right now, and this is the issue, we can only probably produce and supply around about half that.
"We'd like you to only use water for cooking, for drinking, for washing, showering and bathing and to completely cease using water for topping up pools, washing down driveways, cleaning boats and cars for the next couple of days or until further notice."
Mr Newman says restrictions do not apply to people cleaning up flood damage.
The Insurance Council of Australia says it has teams of assessors ready to move into flood-stricken parts of New South Wales.
It has declared catastrophe zones for the Tweed and Northern Rivers regions, as well as coastal areas from the Queensland border to the Illawarra.
Council spokesman Campbell Fuller says until now the industry has mainly been focused on Queensland, but it is expecting a rising number of claims from NSW residents.
"Claims are trickling in from northern New South Wales, they're at modest levels at the moment.
"We are of course still seeing rivers rising in many areas and we expect that the number of claims will increase over the next 24 to 48 hours."
The Queensland Police Media Unit has tweeted:
| ||@QPSmedia Extra police are patrolling Bundaberg to ensure the safety of businesses and residential properties. #bigwet|
Grafton residents in northern New South Wales are breathing a sigh of relief as the town's flood levee appears to be holding floodwater from the swollen Clarence River.
The river has peaked above normal levels and is just below the levee.
Clarence Valley mayor Richie Williamson has told The World Today program that he was confident Grafton had the infrastructure to withstand the pressure of so much water.
"We have never seen heights at this level before since records were first taken in 1839.
"The levee systems are holding, I am told that the levee systems are doing their job perfectly, although it is touch and go with regards to levels this afternoon.
"The engineers, when they designed the levee system around Grafton, designed it to slowly breach in a location.
"The flood engineers tell me that what you don't want is all levees breaching at the same time."
The latest flood warning from the weather bureau can be viewed here
The ABC's Eric Tlozek has filed this report from Gympie, where residents are cleaning up as water levels drop after inundating most of the town centre.
Queensland's Water Supply Minister, Mark McArdle, is asking people in Brisbane to conserve and limit their water use.
The Mount Crosby water treatment facility is currently offline after becoming clogged with muddy floodwater.
It will take days to fix.
Mr McArdle says people in the Brisbane, Logan, Ipswich, Redlands, Moreton Bay, Lockyer, Somerset and Scenic Rim council areas need to limit their water use for the next 24 to 48 hours.
Retailers including supermarket chains Woolworths and Coles are struggling to re-open or re-stock their stores in flood-affected parts of Queensland and New South Wales.
Michael Batycki, the Queensland operations manager for Woolworths, says operations have been seriously disrupted because of flooded stores, roads and railway lines.
"Yesterday we had some 20 stores that had the situation where power was cut and we had up to six stores closed at one stage.
"The most concerning stores at this stage of course are in the Maryborough and Bundaberg region, where we have two stores that are pretty much under water at the moment."
Wing Commander Kathleen Pyne describes how RAAF planes are helping to evacuate hospital patients from Bundaberg as the city's river reaches its predicted flood peak.
The Bureau of Meteorology says the Burnett River will peak at 9.6 metres this afternoon, slightly higher than the previous prediction of 9.5 metres.
12:12pm: Authorities are preparing to release more water from Brisbane's Wivenhoe Dam after today's flood peak was lower than expected.
| ||@612brisbane SEQ will start re-releasing water from Wivenhoe Dam later on today. More details to come.|
12:02pm: PM Julia Gillard says she will be heading up to Queensland to meet flood victims later this week:
"I've had the opportunity to speak periodically to Premier Newman. I've been getting very, very regular briefings about what's happening. Deputy Prime Minister Wayne Swan's on the ground in Queensland and integrated into the efforts there and I will be coming to Queensland myself during the course of the week."
Ms Gillard says she's been made aware of the problems experienced with the triple-0 service over the weekend.
"We will follow up with Telstra about what happened here and what, if any, engineering solutions are available for the future.
"If there's a lesson that can be learned here about the future and how we can make sure triple-0 services are available in the future, then let's learn it and let's make sure it's in operation for the future."
12:00pm: It now looks like Brisbane's flood peak came in at about 2m so far, below predictions.
Photo: A pontoon floats on this morning's flood surge at South Bank.
11:53am: Coffs Harbour has emerged largely unscathed from last night's storm, but the same cannot be said for the town's marina.
Reporter Jeff Waters says worried boat owners worked through the night moving and securing boats as the rain poured and huge waves crashed over the marina's northern wall.
Only one boat was damaged but workers fear the marina itself may be beyond repair.
Floating pontoons are being smashed as massive swells continue to break over the walls above them.
11:36am: Here's Brisbane Lord Mayor Graham Quirk speaking to ABC News 24's Joe O'Brien.
11:33am: Maryborough update: Flood levels peaked at around 10.7 metres about 8:00am.
11:19am: The Grafton Jockey Club's Michael Beattie says there's a "real air of confidence that the levee system is going to hold".
"There's been a couple of little minor breaches where there's been some water coming over the top and the SES have been there and they've sandbagged.
"I think everybody sort of thinks we're probably getting close to being past the worst of it. So there's a pretty confident air amongst the locals.
"I probably own the lowest set of floor boards on the Grafton side of the river and if it comes over I think I will be the first one in trouble - and I haven't hit the panic button yet."
11:12am: Brisbane Lord Mayor Graham Quirk says there are no reports so far of living areas of homes being flooded.
"I don't want to say there isn't any. We're just saying we've had no reports of some at this stage. Once this peak concludes we'll get a situation report over the whole city."
He says the flooding has been "less than the model predicted but not by a great extent", and "in the main it's not looking too bad."
ABC reporter Chris O'Brien tweeted this picture of flooding in the inner-city suburb of Milton in Brisbane.
11:05am: The Brisbane River is hitting a minor flood peak in the CBD now. So far the impact appears to be similar to yesterday, with no major inundation of residential properties. There are floodwaters in streets on low-lying parts of the riverside suburb of Milton.
11:00am: We've set up a Flickr group for people to upload their shots of the big wet.
10:51am: A house is submerged up to its roof near Grafton.
Roads across the flooded regions are closed because of rising rivers and water damage like this landslide across the Gwydir Highway at the Gibraltar Range.
10:44am: On Twitter:
| ||Wayne Swan @SwannyDPM A RAAF C17 has been deployed to help transport equipment from Brisbane to Bundaberg for QLD emergency services. Two C130s already deployed|
| ||@shelleylloydabc 600 Goodna residents given the all clear to return to their homes after the Brisbane R peaked lower than expected|
| ||@shelleylloydabc Transport and Main Rds says Capricorn H'way will be closed for up to a week due to flood damage|
10:34am: Queensland Police Minister Jack Dempsey says 2,000 homes in Bundaberg have been flooded.
7,500 people across the city have been displaced. More than 1,500 people are in evacuation centres and there have been more than 1,000 air rescues in the last 24 hours.
Mayor Mal Forman says the Burnett River is currently at 9.45 metres and heading for a peak of 9.5m about 2:00pm or 3:00pm.
There have been no reports so far of houses being swept off their stumps as feared late yesterday.
10:30am: Queensland Premier Campbell Newman is speaking in Bundaberg, which he says is the "number one priority of myself and my government."
He thanks all the emergency workers: "They haven't had much sleep and they have been working very hard and they are under a lot of stress."
"I have also been down to the evacuation centre in the civic centre, and I have talked to a number of people who clearly have lost an awful lot, if not everything. But are dealing with this in a very stoic fashion. They are showing a lot of guts, and they aren't going to give up on this.
"Today it's all about the people of Bundaberg".
10:15am: Grafton woman Hayley Hooklin is telling ABC News 24 that the mood in the town is "not good".
"I have lived in Grafton my whole life and been through a few floods, especially where I used to live in Dovedale which has already been evacuated. I have never seen the river rise this fast in my life."
10:08am: In Grafton:
| ||@lucethoughts Clarence River at Grafton now expected to peak at 8.1m at midday. It's over the top of the flood gauge.|
In Brisbane: The peak will come in the next hour, expected to be 2.3 to 2.5 metres
In Maryborough: The Mary River will peak at about the same time, up to 150 homes and 30 businesses could be affected.
In the Lockyer Valley: Police are escorting people back into Laidley as the flood threat subsides.
10:00am: In Bundaberg, ambulances are now taking patients from the hospital to the C-130 Hercules plane for evacuation to Brisbane.
The Burnett River is expected to peak tonight or tomorrow morning at 9.5 metres.
The previous highest flood was just under 9m in 1942.
9:54am: In Ipswich, Mayor Paul Pisasale is holding a press conference with Wayne Swan, who says the city has "escaped the worst that nature can throw at us."
"I am told that a maximum of 50 houses have been impacted out here. That is an enormous relief to a lot of people in this community and it is great to see how the state, federal and local governments have worked so well together during this disaster," Mr Swan said.
The Deputy PM says the Australian Defence Force, already at work in Bundaberg, is on stand-by to help south of the border in flooded areas of New South Wales.
He says a 100-strong ADF task force will move into Bundaberg over the next couple of days to help with the floods.
Swan also pays tribute to "Mud Army" volunteers across the flooded regions and says communities are pulling together.
He says more than 40 local government areas have been declared disaster areas, meaning residents are eligible for disaster assistance.
The cost of the floods has already topped $70 million, according to the Insurance Council of Australia.
9:28am: The first of two Defence Force C-130 Hercules transport planes has arrived in Bundaberg to help evacuate patients from the town's hospital. It's carrying a medical team and supplies for the flooded city.
Here are some ABC Twitter follows if you need to keep up to date with the Bundaberg situation:
9:21am: Good riddance to Oswald: the weather bureau says the system is finally heading out to sea just south of Sydney. The storm has left a trail of death and destruction from the Gulf of Carpentaria southwards.
9:19am: Here's Lucy Carter's latest cross from Grafton. She's standing in front of the breeze-block levee which is protecting the town.
9:17am: The SES's Steve Pearce has told ABC News 24 that a "very serious situation is unfolding" in Grafton.
More than 2000 people in Dovedale and North Meadow are being issued with evacuation orders and the rest of the town's population is being given evacuation warnings.
"They too will have to evacuate if this river continues to rise above that level of 8.1 metres predicted at midday today," he says.
The SES says it is carrying out multiple flood rescues.
And Mr Pearce warns that the Clarence River could even exceed the new predicted peak of 8.1 metres.
"The heights that it's now reaching weren't predicted as of yesterday. The amount of water that has fallen over the Northern Rivers area ... has never been seen before. This flooding that we're seeing now in Grafton has never been seen by a generation. So again, like Queensland, we now have a very serious situation here on the Clarence River at Grafton."
Some 23,000 people are still isolated by floodwaters across the region.
In Lismore there are evacuation orders for 150 people.
8:49am: This is the map showing at-risk areas in Grafton:
8:41am: Premier Campbell Newman has tweeted this aerial shot of Bundaberg this morning.
The flood threat remains, but the weather has officially cleared in Queensland.
| ||@QPSmedia Severe Weather Warning has now been CANCELLED. Severe weather is no longer occurring in SEQ. #bigwet|
8:32am: URGENT: The SES says flood water could be entering the Grafton suburbs of Dovedale and North Meadow "now", or the areas "will have water starting to enter the levee banks in the very near future."
"What we're dealing with here is a flood of record. There has never been a flood of this height in recorded history of Grafton... there isn't historical data to go on. The river is showing signs of dropping further upstream and that's what we have to work with at the moment."
The weather bureau is predicting a "peak near 8.1 metres around noon Tuesday with major flooding."
8:31am: URGENT: The SES is holding its Grafton presser now. Says the town is under threat from an "unpredictable" flood. An evacuation centre has been set up at the South Grafton High School on Tyson Street. The "indications so far" are that the town's levee is "not experiencing any major problems". The peak is due around noon and police say residents should not wait until the last minute before evacuating.
8:30am: The foam is dying down on Queensland's Sunshine Coast:
Bundaberg locals speak about the town's plight:
8:22am: The wild weather in Sydney has now eased and the SES says it does not expect any more flash flooding.
"We are not expecting any more flash flooding to eventuate given the forecast we've had from the Bureau. There is still a chance of strong winds later today as a small low tracks down the coast past Sydney and the Illawarra but we are hopeful that low will not cause any further damage," the SES's Phil Campbell says.
8:18am: The latest from Lucy Carter in Grafton.
| ||@lucethoughts Grafton press conference delayed. SES deciding if more evacuation orders are necessary in suburbs. Mayor joining the conference shortly.|
8:09am: Here's Lucy Carter's update from Grafton as the river hits 8 metres:
The evacuation order has now been extended to cover Dovedale and North Meadow.
8:03am: URGENT: An evacuation order has been issued for Dovedale in Grafton.
The levy in the city will overflow at 8.1m to 8.2m.
7:56am: The latest on the Queensland power cuts - some homes have been without power since Sunday.
7:47am: URGENT: The ABC's Lucy Carter says the Clarence in Grafton is now at 8 metres - "well and truly a record flood".
| ||@702sydney We're in unknown territory now in Grafton - the river hasn't ever been this high - local councillor Jeremy Challacombe.|
7:34am: Queensland Police Minister Jack Dempsey tells Kerrin Binnie the Bundaberg rescue operation is still going.
7:28am: The latest on the Burnett River flood level:
7:21am: The BoM says this morning's Brisbane flood peak is likely to be the similar to yesterday - which could be a relief for many homes and businesses which had been under threat.
The BoM website says:
"Minor flooding is expected along the lower Brisbane River downstream of Moggill, with levels at Jindalee expected to be higher than yesterday. At the Brisbane City gauge, minor flood levels are expected on the peak of the high tides from Tuesday morning to Thursday morning. The highest level is expected on the high tide at 11am Tuesday and is likely to be similar to Monday morning's high tide level of 2.3 metres but possibly up to 2.5 metres."
7:15am: The manager of chef Matt Moran's Brisbane restaurant riverside chats to Karina Carvalho about the rising waters.
7:05am: Wayne Swan says a Hercules transport plane is on its way to Bundaberg to help evacuate patients from the town's hospital.
| ||@SwannyDPM The ADF have advised a C130 Hercules is in the air on its way to Bundaberg to assist with the evacuation of the hospital.|
7:02am: Grafton is facing a record flood this morning, the ABC's Lucy Carter is on the scene. Follow her on Twitter at @lucethoughts.
| ||@lucethoughts Residents are scared in Grafton. No one has seen water rise this fast. Just spoke to owner of the cinema in town, he's ripping up the seats.|
6:55am: The ABC team reports from Brisbane, Bundaberg and Grafton - the three main towns in the flood situation this morning.
6:50am: There has been a collective sigh of relief in Ipswich and Logan, as many homes and businesses that had been evacuated have not flooded.
"Instead of thousands of houses, hundreds of houses have been affected - a lot of people will be able to go back into their homes morning," Ipswich Mayor Paul Pisasale has said this morning.
Logan Mayor Pam Parker says she has had no reports of homes or businesses flooded from rises in the Albert and Logan rivers.
Energex says 165,000 homes and businesses are still without power across south-east Queensland. Some 400 crews are on the job this morning.
6:30am: The heavy rain seen overnight in Sydney is easing and the winds will not be as bad as was feared earlier.
The weather system is expected to move out to sea by this afternoon.
The BoM says rainfall totals for the rest of the day will only be 5-10mm and the strongest winds this morning will be 60kph.
"Although we've received falls of up to 150mm in parts of Sydney overnight and some strong winds, that should start to reduce now," SES Commissioner Murray Kear told ABC News Breakfast.
Two people have already had to be rescued after their car was trapped by flood waters at St Ives on the north shore.
Qantas says it is expecting operations to return to normal this morning, after the weather caused delays at Sydney airport last night.
The airline says one additional flight will be put on for passengers from Sydney to Brisbane, and other passengers will be helped onto flights throughout the morning.
Sydney airport was operating with a single runway last night.
6:13am: Reporter Lucy Carter has just been on ABC News Breakfast updating the situation in Grafton, where the Clarence River is rising fast.
The river was already up to 7.9m at 7:00am local time; it had not been expected to hit that level until 9:00am.
Crowds of locals are watching anxiously to see how much higher the Clarence will go.
The coastal town of Yamba is cut off and travel between Sydney and the Queensland border is at a standstill, with most major roads closed due to flooding.
This dramatic video captures the moment a boat owner became stranded when he swam out to try to save his boat on the flooded Clarence.
6:07am: The Bremer River at Ipswich is falling after peaking at a lower-than-expected 13.9m last night.
The Ipswich Council expects to know the extent of the damage by about 9.30 this morning.
5:59am: ABC Local Radio's Eliza Rogers says the atmosphere in Bundaberg as day broke was "eerie", after a night spent listening to the sound of army Black Hawk helicopters lifting people off roofs.
5:50am: The situation in New South Wales this morning:
- The SES has received 2,800 calls for help in northern New South Wales.
- 3,000 people are on flood alert in Grafton; evacuation orders in place in Grafton and north Lismore.
- There are reports of well over 100mm of rain in some Sydney suburbs overnight.
- Severe weather warnings are in place for much of the state, including Sydney, Hunter, Illawarra, the South Coast and southern Tablelands.
- 7,000 people are isolated by floodwaters in the state's north, 20,000 homes are without power
- Quick links: SES website; BoM NSW warnings page.
5:37am: Here's this morning's early wrap-up from ABC News Breakfast.
5:30am: Brisbane hospitals are on standby to receive patients as authorities prepare to evacuate the Bundaberg Hospital.
Ten high-care patients have already been transferred to Brisbane.
Medical transport hubs are due to be set up in the Bundaberg and Brisbane Airports to help with the transfer of 130 patients. The Australian Defence Force, the Royal Flying Doctor Service, and CareFlight are expected to take part in the operation.
The town's Burnett River is expected to reach a record 10 metres over the next few days - two metres higher than the 2010 floods.
It is feared houses could be swept away in the fast-flowing waters.
Yesterday helicopters were used to rescue about 1,000 stranded residents. About 2,000 people have spent the night in evacuation centres.
5:21am: For a list of the Brisbane streets still closed this morning, go to http://www.brisbane.qld.gov.au/about-council/council-information-and-rates/news-and-publications/Newsroom/062875
Overnight floods coverage
Flooding rains that have swept across Queensland are now hitting New South Wales.
5:15am: Ipswich Mayor Paul Pisasale tells ABC News Breakfast that "Mother Nature is a little bit on our side at the moment" after the Bremer River peaked lower than expected.
The river peaked at 13.9m last night - a metre lower than expected - and many homes which had been at risk of flooding escaped unscathed.
Around 4am this morning the weather system was located near Tamworth.
The Bremer River in Ipswich peaked at below 14m yesterday evening - the predicted high had been 15m.
Councillor Paul Tully from the Ipswich City Council spoke to Queensland local radio from the banks of the Brisbane River at Goodna, upstream from the Brisbane CBD.
He says no properties have flooded, which is good news for people living downstream.
"I can't even hear the river at the moment - I'm at the top of the banks and the river is below me.
"My observations show that no home, no business has flooded here in Goodna. Nothing at all. People were expecting it up above their floorboards yesterday; people got out, they knew what to do.
"There is a possibility of a second peak but at this stage this is fantastic news for Goodna."
Emergency crews are now heading to a property near Grafton in northern NSW where 20 people are reported to be stranded.
The SES says there are reports of localised flooding around Toongabbie and Camden in Sydney's south-west and are bracing for a busy day.
The latest advice from the weather bureau indicates the Bremer River at Ipswich is now easing from a peak of 13.9m about 9:30pm last night. At 3:00am, the river level at Ipswich was 13.25m and falling.
The Brisbane River is still on track to peak at the Brisbane City gauge about 11am today at a level of 2.6m, about 1.9m lower than the January 2011 flood.
The river is then expected to have multiple minor flood peaks above 2m, coinciding with the high tides, until at least Thursday.
The SES says it has received more than 2,800 calls for assistance in northern New South Wales.
The Clarence River is expected to peak later this morning and evacuation orders are in place for parts of Grafton and north Lismore.
Becky Gollings from the New South Wales SES says crews have been out overnight helping those affected.
"Most of those jobs have been on the north coast and mid north coast of New South Wales and we've been seeing lots of things like trees down and leaking or damaged roofs.
"We've also had our volunteers out in the field sandbagging a lot of homes and businesses in places like Coffs Harbour, Lismore and Grafton."
Meanwhile, the weather bureau has issued a new flood warning for the Albert and Logan Rivers south of Brisbane, with rainfall expected to continue throughout Tuesday morning.
The Bremer River was originally expected to peak early yesterday evening but Jeff Carey, from the weather bureau's Brisbane office, says it is always difficult to give an exact prediction.
"We've got the Bremer River and also Warrill Creek responding at the same time, so these peaks - it's very hard to understand exactly when both those floods are going to move into the Bremer River at Ipswich. So there's a bit of a timing issue there, but within six hours is about usually how good we can get them."
The weather bureau says the Bremer River at Ipswich, west of Brisbane, is close to peaking but the situation is still changing.
The river is predicted to peak near 15 metres on Tuesday morning, which is four metres below 2011 levels, but still enough to flood hundreds of homes.
The weather bureau has reissued warnings for the Bremer and the lower Brisbane River.
You can read the latest warnings for the Bremer and lower Brisbane rivers here
UPDATE: The bureau later changed the information about the Bremer - see our 3:50am update.
Ian Hatton gives us a sense of scale of the flooding situation faced in North Bundaberg yesterday. He snapped a group of residents evacuating by boat as helicopters continued operations overhead.
There has been a slight reprieve for people in Bundaberg. The SES says floodwaters in the town have dropped slightly.
However, a spokesman says the water will continue to rise and fall over the next two to three days.
Bundaberg has already broken its previous record flood level of 9m, which was set in 1893. On Monday night the Burnett River hit 9.3m.
The weather bureau still expects a peak to occur on Tuesday night or Wednesday morning, but it says the river is currently steady.
BOM has updated its severe weather warning for NSW. Ex-tropical cyclone Oswald was over the North West Slopes and Plains east of Narrabri at midnight and is continuing to move south.
The storm will reach metropolitan Sydney and the Illawarra coastal areas at dawn, and may bring flash flooding, destructive winds and abnormally high tides.
Heavy rainfalls, which may lead to flash flooding are forecast with rain and thunderstorms for the Metropolitan, Mid North Coast, Hunter and Central Coast, Illawarra and South Coast forecast districts and parts of the Central Tablelands forecast districts.
Rain, although still falling, has eased in the Northern Rivers and Northern Tablelands, and the risk of heavy rainfall leading to flash flooding will contract southwards during the morning.
Read the full update here
Here are the latest predicted flood peaks for Queensland from the Bureau of Meteorology:
Ipswich: Major flood peak near 15.0 metres during Monday night.
Moggill: Peaking below the minor flood level (10.0m) at about 9.5 metres overnight Monday.
Jindalee: Peaking near the minor flood level (6.0 metres) early Tuesday morning, about 7.0 metres below the January 2011 flood.
Brisbane: Multiple minor flood peaks above 2.0 metres will coincide with the peak of high tides between Monday and, at least until, Thursday, with the most significant of 2.6 metres about 11am Tuesday.
Bundaberg: Further small rises on Tuesday. A peak above 9.3 metres is expected late Tuesday or early Wednesday.
Walla: Rises up to 24.0 metres on Tuesday.
You can view the latest BOM warnings here
Lachlan Patterson has sent us this photo of cane fields turning into an inland sea on the outskirts of Murwillumbah in northern NSW yesterday:
On Monday night Ipswich Mayor Paul Pisasale said he was increasingly confident the Bremer River would peak at 14 metres, which would mean significantly less flooding than an earlier prediction of a 15-metre high.
"If it stops at 14 we're going to be a very happy city, that means the pressures on our city and some of the houses won't be there, there'll only be a few houses that'll be inundated and there'll be a lot of people back in their homes tomorrow."
Arveen Singh has sent us in this picture of a tree that has collapsed onto a Forest Lake house in Brisbane's south on Monday. Please take care. Trees can fall due to soggy ground even after the rain has passed.
The ABC's David Spicer gives Lateline an update on the situation in NSW, as storms and floodwater travel through the state's north, causing flooding in several cities:
Look back over the flooding events in Queensland and New South Wales on Monday in Lateline's wrap up of the day: