Rockhampton firefighters, including Blair Grice, risked their lives to save three people trapped in rising floodwaters overnight on Monday.
Rockhampton firefighters, including Blair Grice, risked their lives to save three people trapped in rising floodwaters overnight on Monday.

Firies risk lives to save 3 people

ROCKHAMPTON firefighters, including Blair Grice, risked their lives to save three people trapped in rising floodwaters overnight on Monday.

The three were rescued in separate incidents. Two were trapped in their vehicles which were stuck in rising waters while the third was stuck in a shed.

“It all went pretty much to plan,” Mr Grice said yesterday after the previous night’s drama.

Meanwhile it has been a dramatic 36 hours across the district.

Fifteen people including a five-month-old baby spent their second night stranded by floodwaters 50km south of Gladstone last night.

State Emergency Service crews shipped food and supplies to the people in three prime movers and five vehicles, who are stuck between two overflowing creeks along Fingerboard Road, near Miriam Vale.

Other incidents saw the derailment of a Pacific National train about 40km west of Rockhampton about 1.40am yesterday, towns including Rolleston and Keppel Sands cut off, Struck Oil residents stranded without power, more road closures, Kemp Beach closed and SES volunteers and Rockhampton Regional Council’s call centre swamped with calls for help and information.

Mr Grice said a man’s car was washed across the road at Bouldercombe and crews fitted the man with a lifejacket before helping him to safety through fast-flowing knee-deep water at 10.40pm.

At 10.50pm in Marmor, crews used a raft to paddle a woman 800m after one metre of water trapped her in a shed on a property on San Jose Road.

A woman rescued from a vehicle at Stanwell was released from hospital yesterday after being escorted to safety from her stranded vehicle along Stanwell-Waroula Road.

Experienced weather forecaster Mike Griffin said the weather was an “exceptional occurrence”, the first time since 2003 that many places had recorded totals of 100/200mm in such a short time.

Mr Griffin said the rain was caused by ex-tropical cyclone Olga.

“We’ll be telling our kids and grandkids about this,” he said.

While the rain was expected to continue over the next few days, he said, it might not happen again any time soon.

Mr Griffin said the Rockhampton region regularly received more than 1000mm a year in the 1970s and 80s, but things had been “very dry” since the 1990s.

He said the heavier rain was finished but the region could expect light falls over the next few days.

The downpours have led to a flood warning for rivers and creeks between Rockhampton and Maryborough, with minor flooding expected north of the city.

Bureau of Meteorology senior forecaster Mike Marrinan said it would take a while for any flooding effects to be seen in Rockhampton.

“There’s a possibility of minor flooding north of the city but at the city we’re not expecting anything,” he said.

“We’re expecting some moderate flooding in various parts that flow into the Fitzroy and a few peaks that will arrive at different times.

“We’ll start to see the effects in the city late this weekend or early next week.”

Flood warnings are in place for the Connors and Lower Isaac, Comet and Dawson rivers.

FLOOD WARNING UPDATE

Yesterday’s Fitzroy flood warning at 3.42pm:

  • Minor flooding is expected along the upper Fitzroy River during next week, however river levels at Rockhampton are expected to remain below minor flood level.
  • Minor to moderate flooding is occurring in the upper Dawson River in the Taroom area.
  • Moderate flooding has peaked on the Connors River in the Pink Lagoon area.
  • Moderate flooding continues to rise on the lower Isaac River at Yatton.
  • Moderate flooding continues on the lower Isaac River in the Pink Lagoon area, where at 2pm yesterday the river level was 13.5 metres and falling.

Bureau of Meteorology (BOM)



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