Deluge causes road closures as Queensland faces 'life threatening' flooding

Brooke Rolfe
News Reporter

Major highways have been closed and residents are flooded in as up to 350mm of torrential rain bucketed down on southeast Queensland overnight. 

Two people were stranded after trying to drive through floodwater on the Gold Coast, with police receiving more than 50 reports of flooded roads across the city on Saturday morning. 

The deluge hit the Gold Coast the hardest with 330mm of rain falling at Loders Creek and more than 200mm in the Gold Coast Hinterland with floodwater closing the M1 at Helensvale. 

The slow-moving cell is now impacting northern NSW and starting to move offshore. 

“We have seen broad scale rainfall totals between 150mm to 250mm along the coast including the Sunshine Coast and the Gold Coast, with the Brisbane Metro only getting between 50-90mm,” meteorologist Peter Markworth from the Bureau of Meteorology told Yahoo News Australia.

“The Gold Coast saw the highest totals in the state. Loders Creek dam was our highest with 330mm that fell overnight and this morning.”

Roads were closed due to the huge downpour that created flooding. Source: Twitter/RACQ
Drivers still wading through the flooded M1 near Movie World, at Helensvale on the Gold Coast. Source: Facebook/Rebecca Heywood

Monterey Keys recorded 146mm of rainfall in two hours, breaking a 100-year Queensland weather record.

The storm, created by an upper trough, has now moved away from the Queensland region and is instead dampening coastal areas in Northern NSW.

There is currently a thunderstorm warning for intense rain out for people in the Northern Rivers region.

“Heavy, intense rainfall has eased, but showers and thunderstorms still possible through the weekend,” the Bureau of Meteorology in Queensland tweeted shortly after 11am. “Take care on the roads - if it's flooded, forget it.”

Earlier Saturday morning, the bureau warned drivers of likely flash flooding on roads in parts of the state.

“Very dangerous storms are producing intense rainfall around Coomera - 90mm recorded in the last hour. Dangerous and life threatening flash flooding is likely,” it said.

The Gold Coast Turf Club had to cancel a phantom meeting after facilities were drenched by 275mm of rain overnight.

Officials called Saturday's races off and any hopes of holding a phantom meeting were abandoned because of water inside parts of the infrastructure.

According to the weather bureau, triple the monthly rainfall has fallen on the Gold Coast in the past 12 hours.

The M1 remained closed at Helensvale throughout the morning as emergency crews tried to pump floodwater away. Heavy trucks were allowed to pass through but cars were diverted. 

Theme parks Warner Bros Movie World, Dreamworld and Whitewater World Theme Park were closed to the public due to flooding.

"Please be aware that due to severe weather and flooding, Warner Bros. Movie World will be closed today for the safety of our guests and team members," Village Roadshow said in a social media post.

The State Emergency Service (SES) has been called to more than 150 jobs across the Gold Coast in the past 12 hours.

Queensland has seen the worst of the rain with the slow-moving storm cell now impacting northern NSW as it moves offshore, but more rain has been forecast for the region across the weekend. 

"There is an 80 per cent chance of more storms and shower activity, but nothing to the extent that we have seen overnight," a BoM spokesman said. 

According to Weatherzone, Victoria and South Australia will also see rain in the coming days.

“Wet weather will continue to affect parts of eastern and southeastern Australia this weekend and early next week, with heavy rain and severe thunderstorms likely in some areas,” Weatherzone said.

“On Sunday, showers and storms will continue to affect parts of eastern Queensland and NSW and also spread into Victoria and South Australia as another low pressure trough deepens.”

Forecast rain on Saturday, January 18th, according to the ECMWF-HRES model. Source: Weatherzone

With AAP

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