Depot Hill resident Heather Wisley makes her way along Bolsover Street in Depot Hill on her way into town as the Fitzroy River approaches 8.6m. Photo: Chris Ison / The Morning Bulletin
Depot Hill resident Heather Wisley makes her way along Bolsover Street in Depot Hill on her way into town as the Fitzroy River approaches 8.6m. Photo: Chris Ison / The Morning Bulletin Chris Ison

The Fitzroy River recedes and the flood clean-up begins

AS THE Fitzroy River continues to recede, many are readying themselves for the clean-up ahead.

The bulging body of water caught Rockhampton by surprise when it peaked at 8.6m on Saturday morning, rather than at 8.7m on Saturday evening as predicted by the Bureau of Meteorology.

Gauging this flood has been particularly difficult after localised flooding caused by ex-tropical cyclone Oswald overflowed a number of the 22,000 creeks and tributaries running into the great Fitzroy.

The repeated revision of the expected flood height has highlighted a need for more flood gauges along the river.

Deputy Mayor Tony Williams said it was discussed by the Local Disaster Management Group yesterday morning.

He said Telstra's communications breakdown during the flash flooding was also something that needed to be addressed to ensure the safety of residents in future floods.

Cr Williams said up to 650 properties were expected to be inundated by about 50cm of floodwater, but there were no reports of water above people's floorboards.

Twenty-three of those properties had their power turned off by Ergon Energy.

Cr Williams said there were 32 people who sought refuge at council's evacuation centre at the Rockhampton Showgrounds, but council was expecting to close the centre as soon as people returned to their homes. The showgrounds' makeshift pound was full yesterday.

The Yeppen roundabout closed to light vehicles on Friday and Saturday nights, but reopened early yesterday morning.

The Rockhampton Airport was also open, but only to smaller turbo-prop aircraft of up to 74 seats capacity during the day.

Cr Williams said the runway would be cleaned off and engineers would assess it after the floodwater receded.

The water level is expected to drop to 8m today and to 5.6m by Wednesday.

CRUNCHING THE NUMBERS

  • 8.6: the number the Fitzroy River peaked at in metres
  • 32: people who stayed at the evacuation centre in the Robert Schwarten Pavilion at the Rockhampton Showgrounds
  • 1100: properties that were flooded to different degrees
  • 650: properties that were inundated by about 50cm of floodwater
  • 23: homes that had power turned off by Ergon Energy
  • 136: installations turned off by Ergon Energy (including homes, businesses, pumps, street lights, sports fields)
  • 17,000: sandbags handed out by the SES
  • 140: dollar figure of the fine for driving through roads closed because of flooding


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