Queensland weather update: Tropical Cyclone Tiffany warning after Wide Bay-Burnett floods

Date: 2022-01-10 04:52:10

Police hold grave concerns for a teenage girl missing in Queensland’s flood emergency as a cyclone bears down on the state.

Tropical Cyclone Tiffany will sweep over Far North Queensland two days after devastating flooding elsewhere in the state left a man dead and a teenage girl missing.

The cyclone hit the Cape York Peninsula coast west of Cape Melville on Monday and will move west over the Cape before redeveloping in the Gulf of Carpentaria and tracking towards the eastern Northern Territory coast.

The Bureau of Meteorology issued an alert at 10.55am, telling people on the coast between Cape Flattery and Coen to complete preparations quickly and prepare to shelter in a safe place.

People between Lockhart River and Coen, and Weipa to Gilbert River Mouth should take precautions and listen to the next advice at 2pm (Australian Eastern Standard Time).

The weather bureau said Tiffany strengthened to a category two cyclone early in the morning, with sustained winds near the centre of 95 kilometres per hour with damaging gusts of up to 130 kilometres per hour.

Residents in Tiffany’s path are being told to brace themselves for widespread rainfall of between 100mm and 150mm on Monday through to Tuesday, with isolated falls of 200mm to 250mm possible.

The weather bureau says Tiffany will weaken slightly over land but may maintain tropical cyclone strength as it moves westward across the cape.

The system is then expected to move into the Gulf of Carpentaria on Tuesday and re-intensify quickly as it moves towards the Northern Territory coast.

A severe tropical cyclone coastal impact on the Northern Territory coast is possible on Wednesday or Thursday.

The warning comes as residents continue to fight to save the CBD of Maryborough on the Fraser Coast from inundation.

Council crews last night were using a dozen large diesel pumps to battle floodwaters that had washed through the town, with water levels beginning to recede on Monday morning.

On Monday the Bureau of Meteorology said major flooding would continue at Maryborough, with moderate to major flooding across the Mary River catchment from Gympie downstream, however river levels were generally easing.

Waters at Maryborough peaked just under 10 metres on Sunday evening.

The Wide Bay and Burnett, Fraser Coast and Gympie regions were all badly affected by the deluge from ex-tropical cyclone Seth, an event that saw more than 600mm of rainfall in some areas.

Police spent the weekend searching for a 14-year-old girl after the car she was in was swept away at Booubyjan and her companion, a 40-year-old man, was found clinging to a tree.

Queensland Police superintendent Michael Sawrey said on Monday rescue crews were still scouring the area but the girl was yet to be found.

“Unfortunately at this stage, we haven’t found the missing 14-year-old girl and we have grave concerns for her, but we’re putting in whatever efforts we can to try to locate her,” he told reporters.

Mr Sawrey said early indications were that 1000 residents in different towns may be isolated by the floodwaters.

He said emergency services were assessing the extent of the damage and that thousands of people were still isolated.

He said it would take days for the water to recede and that the clean up would take a while.

“The water was slow rising and with that, it’s normally slow getting away,” he said.

“But as you can see from last night even, how much water has gone down. So that’s a positive thing for Maryborough.”

Rescue crews were called to assist multiple people over the weekend.

The RACQ LifeFlight Rescue helicopter crew took a father and his young daughter to hospital, after they survived for two nights hanging onto a tree in the Gympie region, surrounded by deep floodwater.

The man told the rescuers he and his primary school aged daughter climbed onto the roof of their vehicle when it became submerged on Friday, but were swept into the water in the dark.

He told the crew he used rope to secure himself and his daughter to a tree, where they remained without anyone knowing where they were, until the water subsided on Sunday morning and they made their way to a nearby house to call for help.

LifeFlight personnel called it a feat of “miraculous flood survival”.

The same Toowoomba helicopter crew flew another man to hospital on Saturday, who had suffered back injuries after becoming trapped in his car.

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