Flood waters start to rise on Bolsover St, Depot Hill.Photo Amber Hooker / The Morning Bulletin
Flood waters start to rise on Bolsover St, Depot Hill.Photo Amber Hooker / The Morning Bulletin Amber Hooker

Airport shuts down for 'weeks' as flood tortures Rocky slowly

REVISED forecasts showing the Fitzroy River will take longer than expected to flood will see Rockhampton Airport remain closed for at least two weeks.

Councillor Tony Williams, chair of the Local Disaster Management Group, this morning said the latest advice from the Bureau of Meteorology indicated waters would peak at 9.0m on Thursday morning, rather than Wednesday evening.

FLOOD ALERTS | Receive breaking news alerts on Rockhampton flood updates here

He also confirmed the Rockhampton Airport was likely to remain closed for at least a further two weeks and urged those with flights booked to make alternative arrangements.

BoM senior hydrologist Andrew Preece told The Morning Bulletin The Bureau had a much clearer picture of the flood that Rockhampton could expect after the Fitzroy at Riverslea peaked.

"Prior to Riverslea peaking, you could have two or three flood peaks (in other rivers)," he said. "That's where the uncertainty lies for predicting for Rockhampton.

"So all of those flood peaks are in the Fitzroy by the time (the peak) reaches Riverslea."

AIRPORT SHUTS | Latest Rockhampton airport updates here

MEETING POINT: Flooding on April 2 at Riverslea, a major junction where the Fitzroy River meets other major rivers in the catchment.
MEETING POINT: Flooding on April 2 at Riverslea, a major junction where the Fitzroy River meets other major rivers in the catchment.

He said Rockhampton is in for what hydrologists call a "broad hydrograph" where the peak of 9m in Rockhampton will hang around for hours, as it did in Riverslea. 

The revision hasn't changed Rockhampton Regional Council's approach to the situation, with the clean-up set to start as soon as possible after waters start receding, likely to be Saturday at this stage.

"Those residents who are in flood affected zones need to decide whether to remain on their own properties or relocate to family and friends, or whether to take the opportunity of moving to the evacuation centre which is stationed at the Rockhampton Showgrounds," Cr Williams said.

LENGTHY PEAK: The Fitzroy at Riverslea is staying well above major flood levels for days.
LENGTHY PEAK: The Fitzroy at Riverslea is staying well above major flood levels for days.

Those who choose to stay should have enough provisions for several days without power and be aware they may not have phone connections due to the NBN Co. network replacing ADSL.

Cr Williams confirmed there had been no forced evacuations.

The Rockhampton Airport, which closed Monday, looks likely to remain out of action for another two weeks, but Cr Williams was hopefully the Australian Defence Force teams in town would be able to assist with the clean-up.

The airport was closed for three weeks in the 2011 flood.

Cr Williams again urged people to stay away from flooded areas, with the potential for extra damage to be done to already flooded homes by people sightseeing.

"There's no call for it," he said.

"Just stay out of there and give those residents in those areas some peace of mind."



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