Emergency services ready for rain

MAYOR Brad Carter says emergency services are taking no chances with preparations amid predictions of moderate to heavy rain this weekend which could push the Fitzroy River peak over the 8 metre mark.

As police, SES, emergency services and government organisations underwent training in the emergency centre at the town hall yesterday, the mayor r addressed the current flood situation.

Yesterday the Bureau of Meteorology’s flood warning showed river rises causing moderate flooding were expected during the weekend from Riverslea to Yaamba, with the Fitzroy River at Rockhampton to exceed the minor flood level of 7 metres during the weekend.

Levels are expected to continue rising to reach 7.8 metres early next week.

However, Cr Carter said the biggest unknown was the rain depression storm forecast to bring moderate to heavy falls to Rockhampton late today and into tomorrow and Monday.

“If we do get significant amounts of local rain it can raise the flood levels much more than we’ve talked about,” Cr Carter said.

“At this stage we can’t predict or pre-empt that because we don’t know.

“We can prepare as well as we can should this situation worsen.”

Queensland’s floods will be prolonged by another two weeks at least, with rainfall of 25 to 50 millimetres expected over the 72 hours from yesterday.

Weather Channel senior meteorologist Dick Whitaker said the band of rain and thunderstorms that had been producing heavy falls across Victoria and New South Wales would concentrate over Queensland during the weekend.

“This will generate further flood peaks along the Fitzroy River basin, and the Balonne and Barcoo rivers,” he said yesterday.

“These peaks will gradually make their way downstream and produce further flooding across the surrounding countryside over the next two weeks.”

Cr Carter said among preparations taken was care for the homeless people, who normally slept on or near the Fitzroy riverbank.

“Nobody will be forced to sleep out in the open during when flood levels rise,” Cr Carter said.

“There are a range of shelters, short-term bedding and other support in place to look after these individuals.”

He said he was impressed with the preparation community members had put in place for the floods expected to be similar to those in 2008.

Cr Carter said while the showgrounds was accessible as an emergency only facility for livestock, impoundment facilities around the region weren’t expected to go under water.

The disaster co-ordination centre at Town Hall is open from midday to 5pm today and from 9am to 5pm Sunday. The council hotline is 1300 22 55 77.

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