The Coomera river cutting a road at Clagiraba Road on the Gold Coast
Heavy rain and flooding are continuing to impact Queensland's southeast and northern NSW. Image by Dave Hunt/AAP PHOTOS
  • weather

ADF to help with clean-up as floods keep rescuers busy

January 2, 2024

The Australian Defence Force will be sent into southeast Queensland to help with recovery following storms and heavy rain. 

Federal Emergency Management Minister Murray Watt said 50 ADF personnel will head to the Gold Coast, Scenic Rim and Logan from Thursday.

“We know that right across those three councils there remains quite a lot of the energy network which needs replacement, power lines that are down,” he said.

“The ADF personnel will in particular be focusing on the clearance of debris to make it easier to access that infrastructure and get it repaired and reconnected.”

The Coomera river is seen cutting a road at Clagiraba Road
 The Coomera River on the Gold Coast is among those subject to flood warnings. Image by Dave Hunt/AAP PHOTOS 

Gold Coast Mayor Tom Tate said this was “a good start”.

“Let’s see the assessment and then let’s see what sort of equipment we can incorporate with that,” he said.

“I’d imagine that number will increase … but once they’re on the ground we’ll make a recovery plan.”

About 11,000 homes are still without power since storms lashed the southeast on Christmas Day.

“We know how frustrating it is, we know how difficult it is for families, in particular at this time of the year but we’re working as hard as we can to get that power restored,” Deputy Premier Cameron Dick said.

There have been 700 calls to the SES for help in the past 24  hours, with 50 people needing rescue from flood waters.

On Monday evening 44 people were rescued from a campground inundated with floodwater in the Gold Coast hinterland. One person was transported to hospital with minor injuries.

At Cedar Creek, southwest of Ormeau, more than 300mm of rain had fallen in the 24 hours to 9am on Tuesday, while North Tamborine got 261mm and 246mm fell at Beenleigh. 

Gold Coast theme parks – Movie World, Wet n Wild, Dreamworld and Whitewater World – closed on Tuesday due to the downpour. 

The Bureau of Meteorology said the worst of the weather had moved north of Brisbane on Tuesday afternoon. 

“For the rest of today the heavy rain risk continues about that southeast Queensland coast, starting to become patchier through the later part of today and easing back away from the Brisbane area,” meteorologist Miriam Bradbury said.

“The risk of heavy falls may persist in some parts through into early tomorrow morning however, so we should be aware of that.”

The bureau issued a flood warning for the Maroochy and Mooloolah Rivers on Tuesday afternoon, saying moderate flooding was possible at Palmview. 

Flood warnings also applied to the Dawson, Connors-Isaac, Logan, Albert, Nerang, Coomera and Paroo rivers.

Logan City Council said more than 100 roads have been affected or closed as a result of storm damage and rain, while the Gold Coast had 53 road closures, of which 32 were due to flooding.

Rescuers in NSW have responded to at least 115 incidents in 24 hours triggered by storms and flooding in the state’s north.

Crews completed 27 rescues in the Northern Rivers region alone since Monday although no significant injuries had been reported, the NSW State Emergency Service said.

“Many of our rescues have involved people that have been camping in low lying areas,” chief superintendent Gregory Swindells said.

Minor to moderate riverine flooding has occurred on the Tweed, Wilsons and Richmond rivers, with the most significant impact at Tumbulgum.

A flood warning was also issued for the RIchmond River at Coraki and Bungawalbyn. 

Severe thunderstorms are predicted for parts of NSW and further south in Victoria on Tuesday evening and throughout the rest of the week. 

“The severe thunderstorm risk actually extends through the eastern and northern suburbs of Melbourne, most likely through this afternoon and evening with those winds, rain and hail being a risk,” Ms Bradbury said.