SOUTHEAST Queensland rivers are hitting major flood levels, amid warnings the minor flood level of the Brisbane River in the city could be reached.
The Logan River at Beaudesert hit 14.76m at 5.30am, after an emergency alert was issued about midnight. The river was not expected to peak until 7am (AEST).
Logan City Council is urging residents in low lying areas to consider leaving for higher ground with the Albert and Logan rivers expected to peak at major flood levels today and tomorrow.
A Logan Flood Emergency Warning for major Albert River flooding has been issued.
The river is expected to peak at Beenleigh around midday today
For assistance call 34123412 or Emergency 000.
Residents are urged to seek shelter with family or friends, for those residents without access to other support an emergency evacuation centre will open at the Beenleigh & Districts Senior Citizens and Beenleigh PCYC, 20-38 Alamein Street, Beenleigh at 7am.
The Logan River is expected to rise to be level with the Maclean bridge at midnight Friday and will be at deck level at the Waterford Bridge midday Saturday.
Thousands of residents just south of the Gold Coast are in the grip of a flood emergency after the Tweed River broke its banks.
The streets of Murwillumbah and Chinderah are underwater with reports of residents standing on tables after the river level peaked at 6.2m.
The SES had to perform more than 70 rescues overnight.
"It's quite a disaster," an SES spokesman said.
In the southeast, some flood-prone Brisbane homes were left waterlogged and thousands of properties lost power.
Emergency crews were kept busy with more than 1500 calls for help and 50 swiftwater rescues.
One of the rescues occurred when a group were forced to huddle together for safety on top of a car on Beaudesert-Nerang Rd at Tabragalba.
They were among 20 people - 14 adults, five children and an infant - who became stranded in the area about 2pm. It was the largest group involved in a single swiftwater rescue effort during yesterday's storm.
A major operation was mounted to save them after they drove along the flooded causeway.
Queensland Fire and Emergency Service crews, the swiftwater rescue team and SES joined forces to bring them safely back to land.
It coincided with another rescue further north, on the Sunshine Coast, where a local family had to be saved from rising floodwaters which trapped them inside their house at Tanawha.
Four children and their mother were taken from the house in a swiftwater rescue at Sippy Creek Road.
More than 100 calls were made to Queensland Fire and Emergency Services for a swiftwater rescue, 60 in southeast Queensland alone. The SES were also called to about 130 incidents on the coast.
Major flood levels are currently occurring on the tributaries of the lower Brisbane River, including the Bremer River and Laidley and Warrill Creeks.
Major flood levels may reach 8.12 metres at Amberley, similar to the 2011 flood in this area.
Major flood levels may have reached 8.95 metres at Laidley, which is similar to the 2013 flood in this area.
The Brisbane River at Brisbane City may reach the minor flood level (1.70 m) overnight Friday into Saturday on the high tide.
Qld Police Commissioner Ian Stewart warns people in Beaudesert, Canungra near flooding to stay home rather than trying to get to work.— ABC News Brisbane (@ABCNewsBrisbane) March 30, 2017
The Bremer River at Rosewood was at 6.62 metres and steady. The Bremer River at Rosewood is expected to remain around 6.62 metres during early Friday morning. The river level is expected to fall below the major flood level (6.00 m) late Friday morning.
The Bremer River at Five Mile Bridge is currently at 7.96 metres and rising with major flooding. The Bremer River at Five Mile Bridge is likely to peak near 8.30 metres Friday morning.
The Bremer River at Walloon is currently at 9.22 metres and rising with major flooding. The Bremer River at Walloon is expected to reach around 9.50 metres Friday morning.
The Bremer River at Ipswich is currently at 9.75 metres and rising with moderate flooding. The Bremer River at Ipswich is expected to reach the major flood level (11.70 m) late Friday morning. The river level is likely to reach around 14.00 metres Friday afternoon.
River level data at Kalbar is currently unavailable. The Warrill Creek at Kalbar is likely to fall below the major flood level (9.00 m) Friday morning.
The Warrill Creek at Harrisville is currently at 5.78 metres and falling with major flooding. The Warrill Creek at Harrisville is likely to fall below the minor flood level (3.00 m) during Friday.
The Warrill Creek at Amberley is currently at 7.78 metres and rising. The Warrill Creek at Amberley may reach around 8.12 metres early Friday morning. This is similar to the 2011 flood level in Amberley.
A flood alert was also issued at 12am for the Logan River at Beaudesert, while an earlier alert at 11.06pm Thursday warned of rising levels on the tributaries of the lower Brisbane River, including the Bremer River and Lockyer, Laidley and Warrill Creeks.
Residents in flood prone areas along the Logan River are advised to move to higher ground due to rising flood... https://t.co/QRZOZUdFAJ— Scenic Rim Council (@ScenicRimRC) March 30, 2017
Residents in low-lying and flood-prone areas along the Logan River are advised to move to higher ground due to rising flood waters. Record flood levels are expected.
Residents can use Beaudesert Uniting Church and Tamborine Memorial Hall as safer places.
There is no evacuation alert for Beaudesert township itself, the advice is for residents in low-lying and flood-prone areas.
The bureau has warned major flood levels may exceed 8.12 metres at Amberley, similar to the 2011 flood in this area.
Major flood levels may also reach 8.95 metres at Laidley, similar to the 2013 flood in this area.
Category four winds and associated rain that blasted the northern coastline have turned towards the inland and the south of the state where almost almost 500mm fell in 24 hours near the Gold Coast.
Springbrook in the Gold Coast hinterland was the most heavily-drenched on Thursdaay - 486 millimetres until dusk - while the Redlands was expecting a full day total of about 400mm.
Brisbane and surrounding areas copped, 226 millimetres, more than twice a month's worth of March rainfall on Thursday.
Across the state's central and southern regions, 58 swift water rescues were performed by authorities, who are pleading with people to stay indoors. The wild weather has been forecast to intensify overnight.
More than 1000 schools will remain closed today after ex-Cyclone Debbie unleashed a deluge that caught authorities by surprise, causing flash flooding and forcing widespread closure of businesses.
The southeast was plunged into chaos when the State Government made the "unprecedented late call" at 7.20am yesterday to shut schools, with people warned to stay home and businesses urged to close by midday.
Brisbane's CBD was a virtual ghost town by the afternoon and peak hour on the roads was reversed.
Parts of Brisbane received more than 200mm of rain and more than 660mm was dumped on Springbrook in the Gold Coast hinterland.
Last night, destructive wind gusts of up to 115km/h were being felt around Brisbane, with winds on the Gold Coast reaching 125km/h.
A helicopter pilot was also treated for minor injuries after wild winds caused the chopper to crash near Toowoomba about 6pm.
Power was cut to 25,000 Brisbane homes, 34,000 on the Sunshine Coast, more than 4000 in Logan and nearly 2000 on the Gold Coast last night.
As the state's battered north assessed the damage from this week's Category 4 storm, emergency crews raced to rescue people in the inundated Mackay region and residents dealt with flooded homes in Gladstone and Bundaberg.
Dam levels were being closely monitored in case releases were needed to prevent the kind of catastrophic build-up that condemned Brisbane to mass flooding in 2011.
Water Minister Mark Bailey said Wivenhoe Dam was at 69 per cent capacity, with water releases required if levels reach 90 per cent.
"SEQ Water have got all their people working on this, modelling the data as it comes in. We are watching it very closely," Mr Bailey said.
Weather bureau senior forecaster Matthew Bass said the storm was expected to clear the southeast coastline about 3am today.
"We're seeing flash flooding across the southeast, and these heavy rainfall periods that are occurring will lead to further flash flooding," Mr Bass said.
Brisbane residents scrambled for sand bags to protect their properties yesterday, with wait times of more than an hour at some council depots.
At the Newmarket depot, there were delays of up to two hours as people queued for supplies.
More than 40,000 sand bags were filled in advance and council machines were busy filling a further 4000 an hour to keep up with the huge demand.
Evacuation centres were opened in areas including Ipswich, Redlands, the Gold Coast, Sunshine Coast and Moreton Bay.
Flash flooding revived horror memories yesterday for victims of the 2011 floods.
Rosalie's Salt cafe owner Mario Perna couldn't shake thoughts of the past as water lapped at the entrance yesterday morning.
"I'm thinking about 2011 and how high it's going to come," Mr Perna said.
The business suffered thousands of dollars worth of damage in 2011 when 2m of water swamped the Nash St eatery.
Rocklea resident Yenju Chen came home from work at midday to find 10cm of floodwater in her ground-level apartment.
"I've only just moved in here and I didn't know it would be raining like this today until I received the message from the government," Ms Chen said. "Once I came back there was water everywhere inside. I've been cleaning all morning and I think I'll be cleaning all afternoon."
After he had prepared his home as best he could, Martin Kornaus took his jetski through floodwaters in Rocklea's Corella St.
But the dirty brown water brought back bad memories of 2011, when the houses disappeared underwater completely.
"There's water damage, but we've been pretty good. It's a revisit of the post-traumatic stress from 2011."
"We've lifted everything of value off the floor and killed the power," he said.
"They are just the precautions we have to take to protect our valuable items. If the water just keeps on coming up we are in a lot of trouble."
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