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Water could be released from controversial dam

Dumbleton weir overflowing.
Dumbleton weir overflowing. Tony Martin
  • Flood warning issued for Proserpine and Don rivers.
  • Water to be released from Kinchant Dam before heavy falls arrive in Mackay
  • 400mm of rain could fall in some areas of Mackay and Whitsunday
  • The Bureau of Meteorology has predicted local flash flooding
  • Most of the heavy rain so far has been north of Proserpine and in Pioneer Valley

UPDATE 8.30pm: Sunwater will be releasing water from its recently controversial Kinchant Dam before heavy rainfall is expected in the Mackay region overnight.

Kinchant Dam is the centre of an investigation after TC Debbie caused widespread damage to communities downstream when the dam reached 120% and water ran over the spillway.

The communities downstream were ordered to self-evacuate but most residents say they did not receive the message and were trapped in floodwater.

The decision to release water from the dam comes after the Bureau of Meteorology forecast heavy rainfall for the Mackay region overnight.

The bureau has a floodwatch in place for the Pioneer River and a flood warning for the Don and Proserpine rivers.

The large weather system has already dumped significant falls of rain north of Proserpine.

Hamilton Island had 87.6mm of rain Thursday, Bowen had 76.2mm and Ayr had 55mm to 3pm, with higher totals expected by 9am Friday.

The Bureau of Meteorology has maintained its warning that 100-200mm of rain could fall in the Mackay and the Whitsunday regions and cause flash flooding.  

Homebush cane farmer Tony Camilleri checks the weather.
Homebush cane farmer Tony Camilleri checks the weather. Tony Martin

Sky News Weather meteorologist Tristan Meyers said that Mackay was still expecting the heaviest rainfall overnight, despite it being a slow moving system that was spending a lot of time over the Whitsundays.

"It looks to still be on track to forecasts and tonight and into tomorrow morning will see the heaviest falls," Mr Meyers said.

"Storms have been skirting the coast. Alva Beach (near Ayr) has received three months of rain in three hours."  

UPDATE 4.33pm:  Mackay forecaster Liam Leonard said the rain has come at the predicted time but, so far, the heaviest falls were between Bowen and Proserpine.

"The systems (the low pressure system and the trough clashed) just north of where it was expected to," Mr Leonard said.  

He said the unstable weather intensified around 10am-11am on Wednesday night.   

"There might be 400mm or more north of us because there was some thunderstorm activity there last night and there are some areas that have already had over 100mm."  

UPDATED: Current road closures

In the Mackay region, most of the heavy falls have been along the range and in Pioneer Valley.  

Finch Hatton received 63mm and Eungella received 64mm in the 24 hours to 4pm on Thursday.   

But more intense rain could still be on the way with the system moving very slowly south.

Both Bowen and the Don River catchment have received more than 100mm.  

The rainfall has prompted the Bureau of Meteorology at 4pm to issue a flood warning for residents living in the Don River and Pioneer River catchments.

The bureau still has a Flood Watch warning for the Pioneer and Fitzroy rivers.

UPDATE: Some residents in the Whitsundays have already received more than 100mm of rain from the large wet weather system moving over the region.

Preston, east of Proserpine, had received 114mm while Cannonvale recorded 75mm of rain to 9am Thursday.

Most of the heavier rainfall so far in Mackay has been in the Pioneer Valley, with Mt Roy (34mm), Teemburra Dam (41mm), Gargett (36mm) and Finch Hatton (45mm).

The heaviest widespread falls from this system are still being recorded in the Burdekin, around Home Hill (56mm).

The rain in the region started about 10pm Wednesday as the low pressure trough moved down the coast. According to the Bureau of Meteorology, more rain can be expected Thursday afternoon.

Flood watch warning are still current for catchments right across the region.

People who work or live in low lying areas near creeks or rivers should keep an eye on weather updates and be prepared to move to higher ground if necessary.

There has also been a car crash in the Isaac region overnight.

Paramedics took a woman in her late teens to Dysart Hospital after a single vehicle crash.

The crash happened at the Fitzroy Developmental and Rolfe Creek-May Downs roads intersection at 10.38pm on Wednesday.

 

Ann and Kevin Parker travelled all the way from South West Australia and are holidaying in "sunny Queensland" they said.
Ann and Kevin Parker travelled all the way from South West Australia and are holidaying in "sunny Queensland" they said. Jacob Miley

WHERE IT'S FALLING:   THURSDAY RAINFALL FORECAST (BOM)   QLD

  • Bowen: 150-200mm
  • Bundaberg: 1-5mm
  • Charleville: 1-5mm
  • Dalby: nil
  • Fraser Coast: 1-5mm
  • Gladstone: 15-25mm
  • Gympie: 1-5mm
  • Mackay: 50-100mm
  • Moranbah: 50-100mm
  • Rockhampton: 25-50mm
  • Sunshine Coast: 1-5mm
  • Toowoomba: nil
  • Warwick: nil

  FRIDAY RAINFALL FORECAST (BOM)   QLD  

  • Bowen / Proserpine: 150-200mm
  • Bundaberg:  10-15mm
  • Charleville: 10-15mm
  • Dalby: 1-5mm
  • Fraser Coast:  10-15mm
  • Gladstone:  10-15mm
  • Gympie:  15-25mm
  • Mackay: 25-50mm
  • Moranbah: 25-50mm
  • Rockhampton:  15-25mm
  • Sunshine Coast: 25-50mm
  • Toowoomba: 10-15mm
  • Warwick: 10-15mm

Heavy rain is expected to soak much of Queensland over the next three days as two separate weather systems hit the state, sparking fears of widespread flooding.

A month's worth of rain is expected to fall on some regions, prompting the weather bureau to issue a flood watch for residents from Tully to as far south as Cunnamulla.

The Whitsundays - still reeling from the damage of Cyclone Debbie - will receive the heaviest of the deluge today, with the weather bureau forecasting possible falls of up to 200mm.

Near-capacity dams around central Queensland are also on standby to release water.

The "unusual" weather event is being driven by a surface trough which has developed in the Coral Sea and tracking southwest towards the Queensland coast.

 

Robert Greg didn't let the wet weather stop him from going on his smoko.
Robert Greg didn't let the wet weather stop him from going on his smoko. Jacob Miley

A separate upper trough is also moving through western Queensland, bringing thunderstorms and rain.

The Bureau of Meteorology's National Operations Centre senior meteorologist, Scott Williams, said it was shaping up to be a huge weather event.

"(Today is) becoming very active for rainfall on the Queensland coast, especially the area from Innisfail down to Gladstone with totals broadly 100-200mm developing in that area and even some isolated thunderstorms ... west of Mackay could reach 400mm."

The rain event is then expected to shift south-easterly tomorrow, bringing showers to the southeast coast. Brisbane and the Gold Coast could get rainfall of up to 50mm before an overcast and drizzly weekend.

"Rainfall amounts ranging broadly from 30 to 60mm are also possible along the coast and eastern ranges near the Queensland border," Mr Williams said.

"Depending on how this system develops and tracks, higher totals are possible locally in that region as well."

Topics:  editors picks flood watch mackay mackay weather pioneer valley rain rainfall wet weather whitsundays

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