Residents in the town of Laidley in the Lockyer Valley, west of Brisbane, are among the worst hit by major flooding, as towns throughout south-east Queensland like Gatton, Grantham, Gympie, Ipswich and Warwick are once again pummeled with rain.
Areas of Laidley have been inundated, with locals seeking shelter and sandbagging their businesses as fire and emergency crews travel on rescue boats down the main street.
Resident Janice Pitts has described the feeling as heartbreaking as she left her home through knee-height floodwaters.
“Oh not good, no not good,” she said.
“This is my third time, but yeah, I’m staying up at my daughter’s house, it’s not in my house yet but I’m just getting everything out.
“There’s not much you can do about it.”
Resident Sharon Hass has sought shelter with a neighbour, after lifting what she could to higher ground in her own home.
“It’s very frightening, it happened not that long ago. This time it’s a lot worse, it’s very frightening,” she said.
“Can’t really believe it’s happening.
“Lifting everything up and just hoping for the best but this current is coming in from the canal down there.
“We really just need the sky to clear and a bit of sunshine to give us hope the rain will stop.”
The QFES issued an emergency alert for the Lockyer region this morning, warning residents affected by the February floods to take immediate action and to have an emergency plan in place.
Lowood State High School on Prospect Street has been opened as a place of refuge, with those heading there asked to bring bedding, food, medication and any personal items.
“If you flooded in February 2022, now is the time to activate your emergency plan,” the QFES said this morning.
“If you are concerned seek shelter with friends, family.”
Matt Towers in Gympie said several residents were still homeless from the last floods, with the community shocked by how quickly the current floodwaters have risen.
“It’s just come as a bit of a shock,” Towers said
“A lot of people are still recovering from the last floods – it’s been pretty hectic.
“There’s still people that are homeless, they’ve lost their homes, they can’t find accommodation because the rentals in this town are that expensive and non-existent really… and they’re finding it really hard.
“They’re still living in tents, there’s people couch-surfing, they’re about to open the caravan park up for flood-affected people. It’s still pretty bad.”
Low-lying areas have turned to rivers, with streets and road signs in the town completely submerged.
Gympie mayor Glen Hartwig said predictions indicated catchments could reach a 13-metre peak, and residents and low-lying businesses shouldn’t panic, but be aware they may need to evacuate.
“BoM are suggesting that there could be another 150 to 160mm dropped in the catchment,” Hartwig said.
“If that occurs, we are then looking at the 15 to 16-metre mark.
“At 13 metres, we’re underwater here, and when it hits 16, it’s snorkels or nothing.
“Hopefully this event doesn’t reach that height and we don’t have that residential inundation and the disruption to people’s lives. But if it does reach that 16-metre mark we do still get businesses affected and there are implications for them.”
Hartwig said south-east communities were better prepared after the February floods and were able to better anticipate flood risks.
“The flooding event now is predictable, rain is falling into the catchment… February there was nothing predictable about it and they were two completely different events,” he said.
“I’m very comfortable with the information we’re getting from BoM.”
Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk confirmed 300 homes across south-east Queensland had been affected by flooding.
SES crews have responded to 150 calls for help and performed nine rescues.
“Where possible, if you don’t need to be out and about please don’t be out on roads unless you must,” the premier said.
Residents are urged to follow the advice and emergency alerts of their local councils and keep up to date with BoM updates.