Bureau predicts heavy rain will continue across region

THE heavy rain of the past few days is set to continue this weekend. John McCutcheon. Courtesy: Sunshine Coast Daily

HEAVY rain was expected for the Sunshine Coast again today with the Bureau of Meteorology issuing a severe weather warning for the region and predicting falls to 35mm and higher. 

A flood watch was issued for all Sunshine Coast rivers and streams on Friday afternoon with forecaster Sean Fitzgerald saying it was likely they would be updated throughout today.

It was a day of chaos for emergency services, with several roads underwater, traffic crashes and reports of people falling into floodwater.

Queensland Fire and Emergency Service had extra crews stationed at Maroochydore and Gympie to prepare for the extreme conditions.

Sunshine Coast SES local area controller Janet Scott said teams were flat out working in Nambour, Caloundra and Maroochydore, having attended about a dozen jobs and another 25 jobs on the list as of 4pm on Friday – largely requests for assistance with flooding and roof leaks.

Schools and child care centres closed their doors by 2pm and the Sunshine Coast Council closed its Nambour landfill due to flooding.

The heavy cloud cover has suppressed conditions for thunderstorms but Mr Fitzgerald said the threat remained, as did the chance for rainfall totals to exceed forecast.

Nambour had received 97mm in the five hours from 9am to 2pm on Friday, while Boreen Point recorded 171mm in the 24 hours to 9am.

Heavy rain has pounded the hinterland throughout the week with Mapleton recording 244mm in 72 hours up to Friday morning.

Mapleton and Montville are still recovering from a wild storm that stripped branches and felled trees last Friday night.

Further west, the rising Mary River and its tributaries were expected to close several Obi Obi Creek crossings today.

Jacqui Slack at Mapleton Realty described conditions as “very, very wet” and foggy but with the occasional break between heavy showers.

Ms Slack said the smaller creek crossings on the back side of the Blackall Range were expected to flood with some parents keeping children home from school.

At Montville, art gallery owner Tony Gill said to describe falls during the past week as “good rain” would be an understatement, but to a degree it was just “summer rain”, as it used to be known.

Mr Gill said Main Roads staff were still clearing up after last Friday night’s storm which had dropped a 120-year-old Moreton Bay fig in his neighbour’s property crushing a shed.

“The tanks are all full but Baroon dam still needs more rain event though it’s the fullest it’s been for two years,” Mr Gill said on Friday.

“Yesterday afternoon was just like turning on the shower.”

At Boreen Point, Bob Abbot was surprised by the total although Lake Cootharaba was up about a metre.

“It bucketed down for a couple of hours yesterday afternoon and again in the early evening but there must have been more falls last night,” he said on Friday.

BOM forecaster Jess Gardner said on Friday that Eumundi (103mm), Nambour (99mm) and Maroochydore (70-90mm) had all received significant 24-hour totals, while Noosa Heads (47mm) and Noosaville (60mm) recorded lower totals.

Ms Gardner said a very moist air mass and a trough just off the Sunshine Coast would combine to deliver rain right through the weekend with the potential for storm cells to bump up predicted totals to higher amounts.

The rain would ease on Sunday as the unstable conditions gave way to a southerly change which would carry showers rather than the heavy falls of the past few days.

The BoM was predicting falls from 10-35mm today (Saturday) and between 1-8mm on Sunday.