Streets awash as flood peak hits Brisbane
Laaska News January 11,2011.
Thousands of people were forced to evacuate their properties as the Brisbane River hit the first of two predicted flood peaks in the Queensland capital this afternoon.
Homes and businesses were inundated in more than 30 suburbs as the river, swollen by water being discharged from the overloaded Wivenhoe Dam, hit a peak of around 4.5 metres.
The next peak will be around 4:00am tomorrow, when the surging waters are expected to reach around 5.5 metres, slightly higher than the level of the catastrophic 1974 floods.
The Brisbane River was a swirling torrent, with boats, pontoons and other debris being swept towards the sea and muddy water inundating low-lying areas.
By tomorrow morning almost 20,000 homes in the city will be flooded.
There were similar scenes to the west in the city of Ipswich, where homes and businesses in the CBD were submerged up to their roofs as the Bremer River approached a peak of 20.5 metres.
Ipswich Mayor Paul Pisasale said anyone found looting in the regional city would be “used as flood markers”.
About 95,000 people were without power across the region as Energex cut supplies in low-lying areas.
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Earlier, the death toll from the floods rose to 12 after two more bodies were found in the devastated Lockyer Valley, which was hit by an “inland tsunami” late on Monday.
There were no forced evacuations in Brisbane, where the CBD was a virtual ghost town this morning.
Bridges across the Brisbane River were closed ahead of the flood peak.
Phone services are also struggling and residents are being urged to only use them if absolutely necessary.
Today residents in Brisbane suburbs were wading through waist-deep water, frantically trying to clear out their homes and businesses or lending a helping hand to neighbours.
In the inner-city suburb of Rosalie, people formed a human chain trying to save stock from a local cafe before it became inundated.
As water crept up residential streets, furniture and other valuables were piled up high on verandahs and houses were abandoned.
Residents in Brisbane’s Jindalee, Moggill and Yeronga areas have also been badly hit.
The Moggill ferry has broken its guidelines and although it is currently stable, assessors are on their way to potentially sink or demolish it to prevent it from posing any danger.
The Inner-City Bypass is now closed but all tolls on the Gateway and Logan motorways have been lifted.
Premier Anna Bligh says there are now 3,585 people registered in 57 evacuation centres in Brisbane and Ipswich.
Around 400 of those are in Brisbane but Ms Bligh expects that to swell to almost 3,000 overnight.
Releases from Wivenhoe Dam have been reduced to allow the Brisbane and Bremer rivers to drop.
The giant dam is at 190 per cent and is releasing 205 megalitres of water a day.
SEQ Water is expecting to increase flows once Brisbane’s flood peak has passed.
Residents in the south-east are being asked to conserve household water use.
Authorities say the water is safe to drink but they would like to keep reservoirs full in case there are problems with treatment plants.
In the Lockyer Valley, military helicopters joined search and rescue teams heading to Grantham and Murphy’s Creek to search destroyed properties for bodies.
Ms Bligh says it is going to be a very hard day for the community.
“Families who are still holding out hope, some of them are likely to have their hopes tragically crushed,” she said.
“I think it’s going to be a tough and emotional day in the Lockyer Valley as those search and rescue teams get in there for the first time.”
A telephone hotline – 1300 993 191 – has been set up for people seeking information on friends and relatives caught up in the flooding disaster.