A fifth person has died in floodwaters in Queensland as hundreds have been evacuated

The entire region was inundated Saturday afternoon and was hit by multiple severe thunderstorms from a low pressure trough that has been over the southeast of the state for five days.

The body of 37-year-old Goomborian, who disappeared in floodwaters near Gympie on Friday night, was found by police divers on Saturday, bringing the state’s death toll to five.

Gympie Council has started evacuating 700 people living along the swollen Mary River, which will rise above its highest level in 23 years in the next 24 hours.

Residents of affected areas in Southside and the hospital side of the river were told to evacuate immediately and seek higher ground.

Flood sirens sounded in Grantham, west of Brisbane, on Saturday afternoon, urging residents of low-lying areas near the Lockyer River to move to higher ground.

The Lockyer Valley Council subsequently encouraged residents to register with the Red Cross

service.

“The Council is currently responding to calls from concerned family members, seeking to locate loved ones who may be staying in accommodations or who do not have access to their phones,” a statement read.

“The community is advised that this is not a test and should respond accordingly,” the statement read.

“Residents should move to higher ground and move in with family and friends urgently.”

A provided image shows an aerial view of flooding in Gympie, Queensland, on Saturday February 26, 2022.

A provided image shows an aerial view of flooding in Gympie, Queensland, on Saturday February 26, 2022. Credit: Drone photography of Brett via AAP

Among the five people who died from the floods, SES volunteer Merryl Dray was killed when the car she and three other volunteers were in was swept away by a road en route to a rescue in the Lockyer Valley on Friday evening.

Queensland Fire and Emergency Services Commissioner Greg Leach described the 62-year-old’s death as a “tragic loss”.

“Merryl was a highly valued member of the Lowood SES group, where she has contributed over 520 hours of her time over the past four and a half years,” he said.

Prime Minister Annastacia Palaszczuk said the Mary River is expected to exceed 21.95m recorded during the 1999 floods.

She says emergency evacuation alerts will be issued for 700 Gympie residents, who would otherwise have to be isolated or trapped.

“People would understand that it’s extremely important at this point,” she told reporters on Saturday.

“Our concern is for your safety, and that is why this is happening.”

She said three days of supplies will be delivered to the indigenous community in Cherbourg, west of Gympie, which is expected to be cut off.

Major flooding is occurring at Tewantin near Noosa, as well as Picnic Point and Dunethin Rock on the Sunshine Coast.

“It’s something completely unpredictable, in terms of this big rain event that’s happening over the whole of southeast Queensland,” Ms Palaszczuk said.

“So please listen to the alerts, everyone, please stay calm.”

Disaster payments

Meanwhile, disaster assistance has been activated for 10 council areas in South East Queensland.

Aid will be made available to cover the cost of cleanup efforts in Fraser Coast, Gold Coast, Gympie, Ipswich, Lockyer Valley, Logan, Noosa, North Burnett, Sunshine Coast and Toowoomba LGAs.

Federal Minister for Emergency Management Bridget McKenzie said the support will be jointly funded under Commonwealth-State Disaster Recovery Funding Agreements.

“This rainy event is still ongoing, but we already know that the severe flooding has unfortunately resulted in the death and evacuation of people from their homes and businesses,” she said on Saturday.

“For the second time in as many months, South East Queensland finds itself at the center of another ongoing emergency, with many of the region’s roads and bridges already submerged.”

The flooded One Mile Bridge in Ipswich, Queensland on February 26, 2022.

The flooded One Mile Bridge in Ipswich, Queensland on February 26, 2022. Source: AAP / Jono Searle/AAP

By Saturday, more than 300mm of rain had fallen in several areas around Brisbane, the Lockyer Valley and the Sunshine Coast.

At Mt Glorious, northwest of the capital, 690mm landed between 9am Friday and 7am Saturday and 535mm was recorded at Pomona on the Sunshine Coast up to 6am.

Senator McKenzie says the funding will also be used to repair damaged roads and other infrastructure in hard-hit areas.

“The Australian and Queensland governments will continue to monitor this developing flood and work with all affected communities to ensure they all have the appropriate level of support they need so they can get back on their feet as soon as possible. possible,” she said.

Mr Ryan said the disaster has again flooded areas trying to recover from last month’s flood.

Flood water is seen in Murwillumbah in northern New South Wales on Friday February 25, 2022.

Flood water is seen in Murwillumbah in northern New South Wales on Friday February 25, 2022. Source: AAP / JASON O’BRIEN/AAP

In New South Wales, the rain has eased slightly but is expected to return with renewed intensity in the north.

Several heavy fall days where some areas received more rainfall in 24 hours than they usually would for the whole of February are expected to be followed by the arrival of the Queensland Low.

Severe localized falls and thunderstorms are expected on Sunday and could cause flash flooding, the Bureau of Meteorology warns.