Coastal chaos in north as Ross River Dam reaches capacity

Townsville flood 2019

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The spillway gates were opened at the Ross River Dam for the first time in almost five years. Photo: Phil Copp Photos.

The spillway gates were opened at the Ross River Dam for the first time in almost five years. Photo: Phil Copp Photos.

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The Bruce Highway is cut, residents are being evacuated and electricity disrupted as wild weather lashes Townsville.

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RESIDENTS are being evacuated, roads have turned to rivers and power has been cut as wet weather wreaks havoc in the North.

Areas around Townsville have been the hardest hit with torrential downpours today and the Bureau of Meteorology is warning that more is yet to come.

The suburb of Bluewater, north of Townsville is awash with some isolated residents being evacuated by Queensland Fire and Emergency Services swift water rescue crews this afternoon.

An evacuation centre has been established at the Bluewater Community Centre located at 14 Forestry Road Bluewater.

The Townsville District Disaster Management Group is coordinating the response to severe weather impacting the region.

Several properties along Forestry Road were inundated today and crews are out checking properties in the area.

The Bruce Highway is also cut on the northern side of Bluewater Creek.

Ergon Energy has cut power to Bluewater as floodwaters rise. A total of 433 customers have been affected by the emergency outage which was necessary while rescues were undertaken. 

A tree has fallen on powerlines at Kelso, interrupting the electricity supply to another 434 customers.

Ergon Energy crews are on standby to restore power when it is safe and to undertake any emergency repairs.

Townsville City Council has also made sandbags available to the public at their Dalrymple Road centre.

Townsville residents flocked to the Ross River Dam after it reached capacity this afternoon to watch the spillway gates open for the first time in almost five years.

“There’s still expected to be a bit more rain coming down over the next few days so that’s why Council, in conjunction with Sunwater, has opened the spillway gates,” Townsville Water and Waste Committee Chair Cr Russ Cook said.

The spillway was last opened in April 2014.

Townsville City Council also closed their animal shelter at the Bohle this afternoon and evacuated all of the animals, amid fears roads would be cut and pens inundated.

Meanwhile, a major flood warning remains in place for the Haughton River and Giru residents were this morning been advised to evacuate, or enact their flood plan.

Residents have been waned to stay out of floodwaters after rising river levels closed the Bruce Highway at the Haughton River Bridge.

Roadblocks were in place on the Bruce Highway at Sandy Corner and Alligator Creek.

The Haughton River is continuing to rise at Powerline and Major Creek. The river has now reached 3.1 metres in Giru and may exceed 3.2 metres later today, which is the record flood level recorded in March 2018.

The Burdekin Local Disaster Management Group (LDMG) along with Queensland Police Service and SES will continue to monitor the current weather conditions and river heights.

Herveys Range rescue

And last night, four campers were rescued by a mustering pilot at Table Top Station at Herveys Range after they were cut off by floodwaters.

Two women, aged 29 and 26, and two men aged 31 and 28 were stranded whilst camping on the long weekend.

Rescue helicopters from Townsville were unable to reach the group due to weather conditions and a mustering helicopter from Charters Towers was called to get the group to safety.

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