Queensland locals evacuated ahead of expected record-breaking floods
Rural Queensland is prepping for major flooding following the highest river levels seen in the state since the record-breaking March 2011 floods.
River levels in and surrounding Burketown have hit as high as 17m, causing major floods and warnings which are expected to peak on Sunday as the floods inch closer towards the township.
The flood warnings have prompted police to remove residents from their houses as experts warn the floodwaters haven't reached their peak.
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"The problem now is we are expected a significant downflow… all that water is expected to flow down through areas of Doomadgee and then onwards to Burketown," Mt Isa District Officer Superintendent Tom Armitt said.
"(Today) we are starting evacuation operations, we will be moving the vulnerable and the elderly first, and then looking at whether we should continue to evacuate the remainder of the town.
"At this stage, Burketown is surrounded by large volumes of water, the flood modelling is showing that there is expected record flooding into the township."
Police will shuttle the elderly in small, manned aircraft to Normanton, while young children and their parents will be taken to Mount Isa.
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The river level record for the area is 6.78m from the 2011 March floods.
In the 48 hours between 9am on Wednesday and 9am on Friday, the Nicholson and Leichhardt River catchments saw 293mm of rain.
Riversleigh has seen the highest river water levels, peaking at around 18m on Thursday before slowly easing on Friday.
The Gregory River In Gregory Downs peaked at 14.7m, causing major floods in the region surrounding the river.
The Leichhardt River and its surrounding areas were also impacted by major flooding, with flooding peaking at Lorraine at around 17m.
River levels over 6m are considered above the major flood level.
The area is still under a major flood warning, which is expected to remain until next week.
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