Three new water bombers announced as we brace for floods

AS authorities across Queensland brace themselves to deal with flooding from this weekend's expected drenching, firefighters have announced preparations are underway for three water bombers to help during this year's bushfire season.

The three extra helicopters, on standby as part of the Queensland Fire and Rescue Services firefighting artillery, will be based at Archerfield Airfield in Brisbane from August to November.

Those aircraft will have a 120km initial response area, as part of a three-year contract with McDermott Aviation, but the service has access to another 90 aircraft across the state which can be called on when needed.

But with much of Queensland suffering drought conditions, this weekend's heavy rainfall will hopefully make a difference to ground conditions before the fire season kicks off in earnest.

The Bureau of Meteorology has forecast rain to impact areas south of Longreach and west of Clermont through to early Saturday.

Heavy falls are expected around the Townsville and Mackay coasts - particularly near Bowen, Ayr and Proserpine - with 48-hour rainfall totals of 75mm to 100mm likely.

The rain band will move south-east on Saturday towards Rockhampton, Biloela, Darling Downs and the south-east corner.

QFRS Commissioner Lee Johnson urged people to stay well away from floodwater as the bureau advised the potential for flash flooding.

"From tomorrow (Saturday) to early Sunday, the south-east is expected to receive 30mm to 60mm, with isolated totals of 100mm possible, particularly near the Gold and Sunshine coasts," Mr Johnson said.

"Under no circumstance should people enter flooded creeks or causeways by road or on foot. If you come across rising floodwaters, turn around and seek an alternative route.

"Parents, please discourage your children from playing or swimming in flooded creeks and drains. Floodwaters are deadly and the dangers are lurking beneath the surface."

Mr Johnson said State Emergency Service volunteers would be at the ready to respond to those vulnerable community members in need, but the public was urged to be patient and remember the SES was made up of volunteers who respond to hundreds of requests during severe weather events.

For emergency storm and flood assistance phone the SES on 132 500 and in a life-threatening emergency always dial 000.



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