Bruce Highway cut

Floodwaters continue to rise in the North


Motorists travelling between Townsville and Cairns have been warned to delay travel with the Bruce Highway cut at Tully.

North Johnstone River bridge, Innisfail.

North Johnstone River bridge, Innisfail.

FLOODWATER has cut the Bruce Highway at Tully with motorists planning on  driving between Townsville and Cairns being warned to delay travel.

The highway is closed at Banyan River, Tully, while there is also water over the road at Sandy Pocket.

It comes after the Bureau of Meteorolgy issued major flood warnings for the Johnstone River Catchment, Tully and Murray Rivers, Herbert River and Flinders River.

Police have warned motorists travelling through the Cassowary Coast to check road conditions before checking out with a number of roads between Tully and Innisfail flooded.

More rain is forecast for the next few days in the region.

The weather forced the closure of the Tully visitor information centre, swimming pool and library earlier today.

Innisfail police said they were monitoring waterways to ensure boats have not came loose from their moorings

Further south, stinger nets have been removed from several Townsville beaches after heavy rain washed debris into Cleveland Bay.

Council said the nets had been taken down to allow machinery to clear weeds and logs.

Crews are today working at North Strand beach, with the net to be put up before the weekend if debris is cleared.

Work at Pallarenda and Balgal Beach is expected to be completed early next week.

The Paluma camp ground has also been closed after debris from trees blocked the access road.

The Paluma Dam received 150mm of rain overnight causing damage to trees in the area. The camp ground closure is effective immediately, with council crews to reassess the situation on Monday.

A search and resuce operation was launched at Mossman early this morning after police received reports that a vehicle had entered floodwaters near Foxton Bridge, about 500 metres north of the town on the Mossman-Daintree Road.

A witness told police that they had seen a white vehicle enter the floodwater about 1am and had not seen it exit at the opposite side.

Police and local emergency service crews attended and searched the area on foot, and a specialist swift water rescue team attended from Cairns to conduct a water-borne search.

The Queensland Government Rescue Helicopter was also deployed at first light and conducted a comprehensive aerial search, however no evidence of any vehicle or people was located.

Police have not received any reports of anyone recently missing or overdue from local road trips.

Crews are monitoring the area, but believe the car was able to continue north and was not washed away as initially feared.

They urged motorists to heed road closures and not to attempt to negotiate flooded crossings.

Out west, Queensland Fire and Emergency Services (QFES) swift water rescue crews remain on standby in Mount Isa, Cloncurry and Julia Creek.

Fire and Emergency Services Minister Craig Crawford said several communities were isolated by floodwaters today, including Burketown and Doomadgee.

“In the past few days, there has been a significant amount of rainfall landing in the Gulf, and areas out to the back off Townsville and down into Channel Country,” Mr Crawford said.

“The big issue out there is that this country is really flat, so where the water lands – it stays, at can take quite a long time for it to move through.

“While there have not been any requests for food or supply drops at this point, we are in contact with the local councils and if there is a call then we will look at bringing in essential supplies.

“Around Richmond, where there has been a large amount of damage to the road network, food drops may be required on some isolated properties within the next 48 hours.

“This will be done at a local level. The local disaster management group will have to call for food drops, and in an extreme situation these could be carried out using helicopters.

“Our swift water rescue crews remain on standby in Cloncurry, Julia Creek and Mount Isa, where agencies are reporting they are low on diesel.

“While our emergency services have a large quantity they can access, I’m certainly asking people not to panic buy. If you don’t need to fill up today, then don’t.”

Mr Crawford warned that a strengthening monsoonal trough in the Gulf would cause further heavy rain and showers in the Tropics.

He said agencies were currently monitoring flood warnings and significant rainfall in river systems between Cairns and Townsville.

The story Bruce Highway cut first appeared on North Queensland Register.


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