The back of Blackwell Street, Tannum Sands. The Boyne River has risen to the backyards of homes.
The back of Blackwell Street, Tannum Sands. The Boyne River has risen to the backyards of homes. Lisa Maynard

Emergency services assess damage as flood levels drop

EMERGENCY services personnel are  assessing the damage caused by flooding throughout the Gladstone region ahead of expected fall in water levels this afternoon.

Gladstone Mayor Gail Sellers said the end to heavy rainfall caused by ex Tropical Cyclone Oswald and a drop in flood water levels was encouraging, but cautioned against people moving back into damaged areas prematurely.

"All emergency services have personnel assessing damage as they gain access to new areas, many of which are still isolated by high water," Cr Sellers said.

"All agencies, coordinated by the Gladstone Region Local Disaster Management Group, are working through the situation and are assessing the flood related issues on a priority basis.

"I can understand those who have evacuated their homes are desperate to get back to their properties, but I can only ask them to be patient as emergency personnel need to assess the affected areas for potential risks before residents can be allowed to return."

Residents in Boyne Island, Tannum Sands and Benaraby had to evacuate last night as flood waters rose ahead of this morning's 4.26m high tide on the Boyne River - the highest for the year.

Awoonga Dam last night reached a high of 8.3m above the spillway but has since fallen to 8.06m, with Boyne River levels expected to start falling later today and water levels to ease downstream in the residential areas at Boyne Island and Tannum Sands.

Gladstone Area Water Board authorities will also examine the integrity of the secondary saddle dam at Awoonga to ensure it does not spill additional water into the Boyne River, but Cr Sellers said there were no concerns with the structure of the main Awoonga Dam.

The saddle dam, constructed to cater for a one in 2000 year event, was today at full capacity.

Rainfalls of between 220mm and 276mm were recorded in the Calliope, Boyne and Baffle catchments over the past 24 hours but flood levels in these areas are starting to ease.

At Baffle Creek, river levels peaked at 22m at Mimdale, above the 1971 record flood height of 20.12m, but are now falling.

Cr Sellers advised residents and visitors in the Gladstone region to restrict their travel to necessary journeys, reminding motorists to obey road signage and not to attempt to traverse flooded roads.

"Floodwaters have peaked but there are still a large number of raging water courses throughout the region, and people are advised to avoid these areas as they risk the chance of becoming isolated and placing their safety, and that of emergency services personnel, in jeopardy," she said.

Cr Sellers said motorists should not attempt to travel south from the region with flood waters causing damage to the Bruce Highway at the Kolan River crossing, south of Miriam Vale.

"The damage is going to take two days to repair so I urge the public not to attempt to travel south through that area or they will be in for a lengthy wait," Cr Sellers said.

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