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Cairns in Australia experiencing ‘life-threatening’ flash-flooding

17 December 2023 05:26 pm - 0     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

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Cairns in Australia is experiencing “life-threatening” flash-flooding due to ex-cyclone Jasper, with dramatic images showing Cairns Airport under water.

Wild weather and life-threatening flooding in far north Queensland are not expected to ease for days as a 10-year-old girl fights for life after being struck by lightning in the state’s southeast.

Ex-tropical Cyclone Jasper is lashing the north of the state, with areas between Daintree and Ingham receiving more than 450mm of rain.

The Bureau of Meteorology said more than 20 rain gauges in the region had recorded more than a metre of rainfall, with water levels expected to break 1977 records.

Premier Steven Miles called the situation very serious, with the potential to get worse.

”There is a serious weather emergency playing out right now,” he said.

”There’s been a very high level of rainfall overnight and during today, and it’s likely to continue.”

Bureau meteorologist Laura Boekel said rivers and creeks were responding rapidly to further rainfall and urged people in the area to stay up to date with evolving warnings.

”These are really high amounts of rainfall and they’re falling into catchments that are already saturated,” she said.

There was a “very high likelihood” conditions would not ease until Tuesday afternoon.

More than 10,500 people were without power on Sunday evening with parts of the state also experiencing a heatwave.

There have been multiple evacuations and rescues, mostly at Mossman, Douglas, Gordonvale and Innisfail.

No people have been reported missing in floodwaters.

Several low-lying homes have been impacted by floodwater, Deputy Police Commissioner and State Disaster Co-ordinator Shane Chelepy said.

Cairns airport shut down on Sunday afternoon, with floodwaters predicted to exceed 3.8m.

Severe thunderstorms have also lashed the state’s southeast across the weekend.A 10-year-old girl was struck by lightning at a private property in Beerwah on the Sunshine Coast at 2.30pm on Saturday during a storm and was in a critical condition in hospital as of Sunday evening.

Storms with potentially damaging winds, large hailstones and heavy rainfall that could lead to flash flooding were forecast for parts of the southeast on Sunday evening.

Additional government and non-government personnel were called to the far north on Sunday to assist with the evolving situation.

People at the Blue Water Estate in Trinity Park were urged to leave the area immediately on Sunday afternoon due to dangerous flooding and to seek shelter in a high place.

Roads were closed throughout the Cairns area due to life-threatening flash-flooding with major arterial the Bruce Highway closed at 13 places between Cairns and Ingham on Sunday afternoon.

Homes, buildings, roads and bridges have been inundated while authorities also warned of landslides and the risk that vital services such as power, water, sewerage and telephone services could be cut.

Residents have been urged not to drive, to take shelter inside, and to stay up high, with people in the Barron catchment and Machans Beach particularly at risk.

Black Mountain in the Barron catchment received the highest total amount of rainfall in the period from 9am on Sunday with 652mm.

Major flood warnings have been issued for the Daintree, Mossman and Herbert rivers, Johnstone River Catchment and the Mulgrave, Russel and Tully rivers.

Jasper has reached the waters of the Gulf of Carpentaria as a low after dumping heavy rain on parts of the state for four days.

The system is slowly moving west and could redevelop into a cyclone from Wednesday as it moves north, Angus Hines from the Bureau of Meteorology said. (AAP)


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