Storms sweep south after Queensland floods

22:18, Jan 28 2013
NSW flooding
The usually tranquil Wategos Beach in the wake of Cyclone Oswald.
NSW flooding
The town of Bellingen was cut in half following torrential rain with the Lavenders Bridge covered in flood waters.
NSW flooding
Chickens are recovered in Brisbane.
NSW flooding
The town of Bellingen was cut in half following torrential rain with the Lavenders Bridge covered in flood waters.
NSW flooding
Debris goes down the Brisbane River.
NSW flooding
Greg Thistleton stands near a fallen tree in Brisbane where a young child was killed when the tree fell on him and his mother.
NSW flooding
Flood waters sweep through Ipswich.
NSW flooding
The Brisbane river seen from Mowbray Park.
NSW flooding
A Swift Water Rescue officer saves a young boy in Rockhampton.
NSW flooding
Riverside restaurants in Brisbane are bagged in preparation for the flood peak.
NSW flooding
The storms caused huge waves at Bronte Beach in Sdyney.
NSW flooding
Coogee Beach, Sydney, on Tuesday morning.
NSW flooding
Sydney being lashed with rain after cyclone Oswald headed south from Queensland.
Australian floods
A stranded boat in Redcliffe.
Australian floods
The flooded Mt Lindsay Highway at Jimboomba, Queensland.
Australian floods
Patients evacuated from Bundaberg Hospital wait to board Hercules running airlifts to Brisbane.
Australian floods
Bargara, east of Bundaberg, was slammed by a vicious storm, uprooting trees, downing powerlines and ripping roofs off houses.
Australian floods
Flood waters take over Bundaberg.
Australian floods
Water covers the bike path on the South Bank, Brisbane.
Australian floods
Flood warning ... sightseers gather at the Prince Street wharf in Grafton where official readings are taken.
A resident looks on at a neighbourhood in Bundaberg during record flooding in the wake of Tropical Cyclone Oswald.
A resident looks on at a neighbourhood in Bundaberg during record flooding in the wake of Tropical Cyclone Oswald.
A resident looks on at a neighbourhood in Bundaberg during record flooding in the wake of Tropical Cyclone Oswald.
US astronaut Chris Hadfield tweeted this image from space of flood waters heading into the Coral Sea near Rockhampton.
A resident looks on at a neighbourhood in Bundaberg during record flooding in the wake of Tropical Cyclone Oswald.
State Emergency Service patrol the streets on boat as parts of southern Queensland experiences record flooding.
A resident looks on at a neighbourhood in Bundaberg during record flooding in the wake of Tropical Cyclone Oswald.
These cows went to extreme lengths to keep dry as the floods came in at Pine Creek, east of Bundaberg.
A resident looks on at a neighbourhood in Bundaberg during record flooding in the wake of Tropical Cyclone Oswald.
The Queensland city of Bundaberg seen from the air.
The site of the damage in Bundaberg proves too much for this local.
The sun rises over flooded the Burnett river in Bundaberg.
This sign was put up in East Bundaberg after reports of looters.
Much of Bundaberg was left underwater after the storms.
Tackling the clean up in Bundaberg.
Residents collect belongings from their homes as the flood waters recede in Bundaberg.
The flood waters peaked at 9.53 metres in Bundaberg but have now begun receding, meaning locals residents and relief teams can start the clean-up.
Some of the debris swept into the streets by the floods.

Thousands of people have been evacuated in Queensland and northern New South Wales as deadly storms move south down Australia's east coast, drenching Sydney with its biggest downpour in decades.

Four people have been killed by ex-tropical cyclone Oswald in Queensland, with a three-year-old boy becoming the latest victim overnight.

The toddler was with his family watching floodwaters rise in northern Brisgane when a large gum tree fell on them.

The little boy died of severe head injuries at the Royal Children's Hospital.

His pregnant 34-year-old mother remains in a critical condition in hospital with several broken bones and severe head injuries after becoming trapped beneath the tree.

In the sugar town of Bundaberg, an emergency airlift was the only option for 1500 stranded residents to escape fast-flowing waters believed capable of sweeping entire houses away last night.

The force of the flood - running at an estimated 70kmh - meant residents could not be reached by boat.

"The water is everywhere ... it's the worst flood on record," Bundaberg Mayor Mal Forman said.

There were more than 2000 homes underwater in Bundaberg - by far the worst-affected city - with thousands of residents bunkered down in schools and at the site of the town's new showgrounds.

BRISBANE READY FOR FLOODS

Fears of a flood peak in Brisbane and Ipswich to the west appear to have eased.

The peak in Brisbane city would be marginally lower than predicted and it was business as usual in the CBD, officals said.

The Brisbane River was expected to peak at 2.6 metres at 11am  (2pm NZT), but the Bureau of Meteorology's updated forecast puts the peak  at the same level as on Monday, 2.3 metres, possibly creeping up to  2.5 metres.

Forecasters said a smaller than predicted tidal surge would give the city a small reprieve.

But Mayor Graham Quirk warned locals not to be complacent adding that any slight difference could have a big impacts.

''I don't want people to be lulled into a false sense of  security,'' he told ABC radio.''There is only going to be a marginal difference.''

The city would also see a flood peak on the high tide on Wednesday.

The Brisbane City Council had warned that up to 3600 homes and  1250 businesses could experience some flooding, but that could be revised down.

In Ipswich, most residents have escaped any damage from flooding after the Bremer river peaked at Ipswich at 13.9 metres overnight, well below the predicted 15 metres.

Ipswich councillor Paul Tully told the ABC not one of the 600 homes and businesses evacuated in his suburb of Goodna had flooded.

''People are going to wake to the most joyous news,'' he said. Mayor Paul Pisasale said people would be able to return home later today.

STORM MOVES ON

Southern NSW was being told to prepare for driving rain and 100km winds as the storms sparked evacuations in the state's north.

As the impact of the massive storm spreads from Queensland, more than 1500 people have been told to evacuate their homes in Lismore, Ulmarra, Cowper and Brushgrove in northern NSW with warnings of flooding as rivers peak throughout the day.

The NSW State Emergency Service said the focus would be on the south of the state, with a severe weather warning issued for Sydney, the Hunter and Central Coast, Illawarra and the south coast and parts of the Central Tablelands.

Floodwaters have also cut off all roads between the two states and isolated about 2000 people in northern NSW.

Hundreds of people were evacuated downstream of Grafton and spent the night in emergency accommodation.

Parts of Sydney have been drenched in their heaviest daily rainfall totals in more than a decade as the wild storm system washed over the city.

Weatherzone meteorologist Brett Dutschke said Sydney was saturated in widespread rainfall totals of between 80 and 150 millimetres overnight, causing localised flooding in some areas.

State Emergency Service spokesman Michael Eburn said officers had responded to 2900 calls for assistance for help across NSW, mostly in the north of the state.

However that number could rise rapidly as people woke and assessed the damage to their properties.

DEATH TOLL


Those killed in Queensland included a motorcyclist from Oxley Creek, south of Brisbane yesterday. He had been swept off a flooded bridge before horrified onlookers on Sunday night.

In Burnett Heads, near Bundaberg, an 81-year-old man died after falling off his yacht as he tried to secure it against wild weather on Sunday.

And a 27-year-old man, who is believed to have been disabled, was washed away on Sunday when he and his mother and step-father tried to cross a flooded creek near Gympie.

It is understood the man's step-father was rescued shortly after the car was swamped, but his mother was forced to cling to tree for more than four hours before she could be saved.

- Fairfax Australia and AAP

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