Entire suburbs to be flooded as mayor decides to release an ‘unprecedented’ amount of water from dam

More than one hundred homes will be deliberately flooded in Townsville as officials battle to save the city from a disaster described as a ‘one-in-100-year event’.

On Friday the spillway gates of the Ross River dam were opened to ease pressure and later that night the city’s mayor made the ‘difficult’ decision to open them further.

This meant that at least 100 homes within the catchment of the Ross River dam faced flooding in order to prevent an even greater catastrophe downstream.

The dam was at 200 per cent capacity on Saturday – while soldiers were mobilised to help sand-bag vulnerable properties as authorities went door to door telling people they should leave at-risk homes.

In recent days Northern Queensland has been battered by the downpour – with more than a metre of rain falling in parts of the state in the space of just four days.

Another 400mm is expected to hit some areas over the weekend.

There are fears this will see the region hit with a record-breaking ‘catastrophic’ flood situation from Cairns to Mackay – with Townsville expected to be the worst hit.   

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Queensland residents have been urged to seek safety as authorities are forced to open dam doors (pictured) even further as the state battles a one-in-100 year monsoon

Queensland residents have been urged to seek safety as authorities are forced to open dam doors (pictured) even further as the state battles a one-in-100 year monsoon

Queensland residents have been urged to seek safety as authorities are forced to open dam doors (pictured) even further as the state battles a one-in-100 year monsoon

 Townsville City Council announced it would open the dam doors of the town's Ross River in an attempt to drain out water from the overflowing dam

 Townsville City Council announced it would open the dam doors of the town's Ross River in an attempt to drain out water from the overflowing dam

 Townsville City Council announced it would open the dam doors of the town’s Ross River in an attempt to drain out water from the overflowing dam

Striking images showed roads and houses totally submerged by heavy flooding while 100 soldiers were called in to help stricken residents prepare for the worst

Striking images showed roads and houses totally submerged by heavy flooding while 100 soldiers were called in to help stricken residents prepare for the worst

Striking images showed roads and houses totally submerged by heavy flooding while 100 soldiers were called in to help stricken residents prepare for the worst

Further north, coastal communities on the Gulf of Carpentaria have been told to prepare for the highest tides of year as the monsoon trough whips up gale force winds. 

‘This is not a one-in-20-year-situation – it is a one-in-100 year event. Please take care on the roads there could be flash flooding. And if it’s flooded – forget about it,’ Queensland premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said. 

Striking images showed roads and houses totally submerged by heavy flooding while 100 soldiers were called in to help stricken residents prepare for the worst.

A disaster zone was declared in Townsville and businesses were yesterday being urged to allow their workers to stay at home where possible.  

Townsville Local Disaster Management Group Chair Mayor Jenny Hill said the decision to open the spillway gates further was not taken lightly.

‘The Townsville Local Disaster Management Group (TLDMG) has analysed expert advice and the decision to open the spillway gates will help protect more homes from flooding given this heavy monsoonal rain continues,’ Councillor Hill said.

She said the decision would affect some residents but would save others. 

Meanwhile, the disaster management group were forced to dispel what they called ‘fake text messages’ telling residents the dam was at risk of flooding.

Police are investigating the texts’ origin. 

‘We are making a tough decision that will impact on some residents but it will help to protect many more homes in the affected suburbs,’ Cr Hill said.

‘The TLDMG is totally focused on ensuring the appropriate response to this huge rain event affecting our community.’

Councillor Hill urged residents to consider leaving their homes if worried about safety.   

The conditions only worsened on Friday night with council advising residents the dam gates would be opened further

The conditions only worsened on Friday night with council advising residents the dam gates would be opened further

The conditions only worsened on Friday night with council advising residents the dam gates would be opened further

Townsville Local Disaster Management Group Chair Mayor Jenny Hill said the decision to open the spillway gates further was not taken lightly (pictured: flooding in Townsville)

Townsville Local Disaster Management Group Chair Mayor Jenny Hill said the decision to open the spillway gates further was not taken lightly (pictured: flooding in Townsville)

Townsville Local Disaster Management Group Chair Mayor Jenny Hill said the decision to open the spillway gates further was not taken lightly (pictured: flooding in Townsville)

An emergency alert for residents in Cluden, Rosslea, Hermit Park, Oonoonba, Idalia and Railway Estate has been issued by Queensland Fire and Emergency Services (QFES) amid the conditions

An emergency alert for residents in Cluden, Rosslea, Hermit Park, Oonoonba, Idalia and Railway Estate has been issued by Queensland Fire and Emergency Services (QFES) amid the conditions

An emergency alert for residents in Cluden, Rosslea, Hermit Park, Oonoonba, Idalia and Railway Estate has been issued by Queensland Fire and Emergency Services (QFES) amid the conditions

‘The Heatley Secondary College is operational as an evacuation centre for anyone needing a safe place to stay,’ she said. 

‘It’s really important that residents use common sense and listen to emergency services or Council employees if they are in a flood-affected area.

‘This is one of the biggest wet seasons in years so please use common sense and stay safe.’    

Residents were notified they would likely experience increased flooding from the Ross River from about 9pm due to rising levels in the dam.

An emergency alert for residents in Cluden, Rosslea, Hermit Park, Oonoonba, Idalia and Railway Estate has been issued by Queensland Fire and Emergency Services (QFES) amid the conditions.

'This is one of the biggest wet seasons in years so please use common sense and stay safe,' Cr Hill said

'This is one of the biggest wet seasons in years so please use common sense and stay safe,' Cr Hill said

‘This is one of the biggest wet seasons in years so please use common sense and stay safe,’ Cr Hill said

Residents were notified they would likely experience increased flooding from the Ross River from around 9pm due to rising levels in the dam

Residents were notified they would likely experience increased flooding from the Ross River from around 9pm due to rising levels in the dam

Residents were notified they would likely experience increased flooding from the Ross River from around 9pm due to rising levels in the dam

The Heatley Secondary College is operational as an evacuation centre for those who need safety

The Heatley Secondary College is operational as an evacuation centre for those who need safety

The Heatley Secondary College is operational as an evacuation centre for those who need safety

‘If residents are concerned about their safety they are strongly urged to evacuate immediately, by the safest route possible,’ QFES said.

The evacuation centre at Heatley Secondary College is located on Fulham Road.

The update comes after a fake text message was sent to residents claiming the Ross River Dam is at risk due to the rain event.

‘Council recently tested the dam spillway gates and they passed with flying colours,’ Cr Hill said about the decision to open the gates.

‘We have rigorous procedures to guide how we operate the dam in these circumstances and the TLDMG has taken the step of opening the spillway even further.

Police have urged those in affected areas to reconsider unnecessary travel over the weekend

Police have urged those in affected areas to reconsider unnecessary travel over the weekend

Police have urged those in affected areas to reconsider unnecessary travel over the weekend

Queensland police have reminded residents that flood water (pictured) is dirty and full of hazards lurking under the surface

Queensland police have reminded residents that flood water (pictured) is dirty and full of hazards lurking under the surface

Queensland police have reminded residents that flood water (pictured) is dirty and full of hazards lurking under the surface

Residents are seen using colourful pool toys in flood water which has risen up the length of a tree

Residents are seen using colourful pool toys in flood water which has risen up the length of a tree

Residents are seen using colourful pool toys in flood water which has risen up the length of a tree

‘Unfortunately, there is completely inaccurate information circulating our community – and it is unhelpful and potentially dangerous while we are dealing with this weather event. 

‘For the most up-to-date information please Council’s Emergency Management Dashboard and stay tuned to local media.’

Forecasters said at the beginning of the day another 200mm of rain could be dumped over the region on each of the next few days.  

Ross River had already reached 140 per cent capacity by Friday morning in what the mayor has called a one-in-100 year event. 

Ross River had already reached 140 per cent capacity by Friday morning in what the mayor has called a one-in-100 year event 

Ross River had already reached 140 per cent capacity by Friday morning in what the mayor has called a one-in-100 year event 

Ross River had already reached 140 per cent capacity by Friday morning in what the mayor has called a one-in-100 year event 

Soldiers have been deployed, homes evacuated and dam gates opened as Queensland wrestles with a one-in-100 year monsoon (pictured, Ross River at Townsville)

Soldiers have been deployed, homes evacuated and dam gates opened as Queensland wrestles with a one-in-100 year monsoon (pictured, Ross River at Townsville)

Soldiers have been deployed, homes evacuated and dam gates opened as Queensland wrestles with a one-in-100 year monsoon (pictured, Ross River at Townsville)

Townsville City Council announced it would open the dam doors of the town's Ross River in an attempt to drain out water from the overflowing dam

Townsville City Council announced it would open the dam doors of the town's Ross River in an attempt to drain out water from the overflowing dam

Townsville City Council announced it would open the dam doors of the town’s Ross River in an attempt to drain out water from the overflowing dam

‘We haven’t taken this decision lightly, we’re looking into what could happen over the next two to three days, we know that we’re seeing really a record event, we know that the Ross River has hit a new milestone in terms of outflows out into the ocean with a one-in-a-100-year event,’ Mayor Jenny Hill told ABC news.

Townsville Police District acting chief superintendent Steve Munro and Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk have both said they are behind the decision to release water from the dam.

‘We’re very comfortable with the decision they have taken and of course by opening up the gates it’ll let a substantial amount of water out,’ Ms Palaszczuk said at a conference this morning.

‘Can I just urge all Townsville residents there just to make sure that they are following all those emergency alerts.’

Forecasters said at the beginning of the day another 200mm of rain could be dumped over the region on each of the next few days

Forecasters said at the beginning of the day another 200mm of rain could be dumped over the region on each of the next few days

Forecasters said at the beginning of the day another 200mm of rain could be dumped over the region on each of the next few days

Residents in the Rosslea, Railway Estate, South Townsville, Idalia and Oonoonba areas have been warned their properties could be flooded as a result.

They are urged to sandbag their homes and move items to higher ground.

Council has already handed over 25,000 sandbags and sourced another 18,000.  

All schools and childcare centres in the area have been closed. 

Townsville Police District acting chief superintendent Steve Munro and Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk have both said they are behind the decision 

Townsville Police District acting chief superintendent Steve Munro and Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk have both said they are behind the decision 

Townsville Police District acting chief superintendent Steve Munro and Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk have both said they are behind the decision 

Residents in the Rosslea, Railway Estate, South Townsville, Idalia and Oonoonba areas have been warned their properties could be flooded as a result 

Residents in the Rosslea, Railway Estate, South Townsville, Idalia and Oonoonba areas have been warned their properties could be flooded as a result 

Residents in the Rosslea, Railway Estate, South Townsville, Idalia and Oonoonba areas have been warned their properties could be flooded as a result 

Supermarkets have taken a hit amid the panic and stocks have slowly dwindled over the day.

Though Woolworths has assured residents it has 14 semitrailers waiting south of the Ross River for when roads opened again.

Though that may come as little relief for the residents who have already found themselves stranded in the flood waters. 

QFES Commissioner Katarina Carroll said close to 30 rescues had already been made over the days.

‘We have conducted some 28 rescues already and where we’d like to get in and start looking at what damage has been caused and conduct those assessments, our resources have been pulled away to rescue people,’ she said. 

‘That’s ranging from rescuing people caught in flash flooding, minor flooding and major flooding, caught on roofs, you name it.’

QFES Commissioner Katarina Carroll said close to 30 rescues had already been made over the days

QFES Commissioner Katarina Carroll said close to 30 rescues had already been made over the days

QFES Commissioner Katarina Carroll said close to 30 rescues had already been made over the days

Meanwhile an emergency alert has been made for Bluewater, Black River, Beach Holm, Toolakea and Yabulu residents with more flash flooding expected to head their way

Meanwhile an emergency alert has been made for Bluewater, Black River, Beach Holm, Toolakea and Yabulu residents with more flash flooding expected to head their way

Meanwhile an emergency alert has been made for Bluewater, Black River, Beach Holm, Toolakea and Yabulu residents with more flash flooding expected to head their way

Burdekin LDMG has sent out a helicopter to assist council officers to assess potable water supplies and top up chemicals at the Giru Water Treatment Plant. 

The chopper has also been used to deliver medicine to residents. 

Meanwhile an emergency alert has been made for Bluewater, Black River, Beach Holm, Toolakea and Yabulu residents with more flash flooding expected to head their way. 

BOM said Bluewater copped another deluge on Friday morning, after residents were just starting to mop up after Wednesday’s flood.

More than 200mm of rain fell fell in the space of three hours and the banks of the town’s nearby creek buckled under the total 365mm of rain.

BOM said Bluewater copped another deluge on Friday morning, after residents were just starting to mop up after Wednesday's flood

BOM said Bluewater copped another deluge on Friday morning, after residents were just starting to mop up after Wednesday's flood

BOM said Bluewater copped another deluge on Friday morning, after residents were just starting to mop up after Wednesday’s flood

More than 200mm of rain fell fell in the space of three hours and the banks of the town's nearby creek buckled under the total 365mm of rain

More than 200mm of rain fell fell in the space of three hours and the banks of the town's nearby creek buckled under the total 365mm of rain

More than 200mm of rain fell fell in the space of three hours and the banks of the town’s nearby creek buckled under the total 365mm of rain

Authorities have been doing the rounds in the small town to help any residents left stranded in their homes.

Now BOM has released major flood warnings on catchments in the town and surrounding area. 

A landslip at Stanley Street in Townsville City on Thursday led to extensive damage to the foundations and retaining walls of an apartment complex. 

Emergency services evacuated the complex and its 13 residents and two nearby houses amid growing fears the building could crater. 

1,200 homes at Townsville South were left without power yesterday as gale force winds brought down a tree onto powerlines.

Haughton River has reached record flood levels and Majors Creek in the Catchment peaked at 12.75m at 8.40pm on Thursday.

 River levels at Giru remained around the March 2018 flood level of 3.2m on Friday morning

 River levels at Giru remained around the March 2018 flood level of 3.2m on Friday morning

 River levels at Giru remained around the March 2018 flood level of 3.2m on Friday morning

 Police spent Thursday night searching around Giru for a 32-year-old man last seen on foot near Black Gully about 5pm on Thursday

 Police spent Thursday night searching around Giru for a 32-year-old man last seen on foot near Black Gully about 5pm on Thursday

 Police spent Thursday night searching around Giru for a 32-year-old man last seen on foot near Black Gully about 5pm on Thursday

That smashed the previous record of 11.72m set back in March 1990. 

River levels at Giru remained around the March 2018 flood level of 3.2m on Friday morning. 

Police spent Thursday night searching around the town for a 32-year-old man last seen on foot near Black Gully about 5pm on Thursday.

They feared he tried to enter floodwaters in an attempt to get home.

The search continued until just before midnight but the atrocious weather forced a halt, with officers left to monitor the creek line during the night.

Much to their relief police announced the man had been found alive and well the next day. 

 The Bruce Highway remains cut south of Townsville and there are major disruptions to the city's transport services, with most urban and school bus services affected by the deluge

 The Bruce Highway remains cut south of Townsville and there are major disruptions to the city's transport services, with most urban and school bus services affected by the deluge

 The Bruce Highway remains cut south of Townsville and there are major disruptions to the city’s transport services, with most urban and school bus services affected by the deluge

The Bruce Highway remains cut south of Townsville and there are major disruptions to the city’s transport services, with most urban and school bus services affected by the deluge.

‘Creek and river catchments are already saturated and will therefore respond very rapidly to any rainfall,’ Bureau of Meteorology warned.

‘The monsoon trough is expected to remain active into next week, with further heavy rainfall expected for already saturated catchments between about Cairns and Bowen. 

‘The potential for significant and dangerous flash flooding will likely continue into next week.’

 Supermarkets have taken a hit amid the panic and stocks have slowly dwindled over the day

 Supermarkets have taken a hit amid the panic and stocks have slowly dwindled over the day

 Supermarkets have taken a hit amid the panic and stocks have slowly dwindled over the day

Burdekin LDMG has sent out a helicopter to assist council officers to assess potable water supplies and top up chemicals at the Giru Water Treatment Plant

Burdekin LDMG has sent out a helicopter to assist council officers to assess potable water supplies and top up chemicals at the Giru Water Treatment Plant

Burdekin LDMG has sent out a helicopter to assist council officers to assess potable water supplies and top up chemicals at the Giru Water Treatment Plant

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