Lockyer Valley residents are fleeing to higher ground ahead of major floods as severe storms bring intense rainfall, flash flooding and potential landslides to southern Queensland.
A massive low-pressure trough is dumping intense rainfall - up to 132mm in six hours - on Brisbane, Ipswich, Lockyer Valley, Darling Downs, Moreton Bay, the Sunshine Coast, Wide Bay-Burnett, Bundaberg and Gladstone.
Queensland Fire and Emergency Services swiftwater teams conducted seven rescues overnight and responded to more than 900 calls for help.
Evacuation sirens sounded at Grantham, west of Brisbane, on Friday morning with people in all low-lying areas of the Lockyer Valley urged to flee to higher ground as Lockyer Creek rapidly rises to a major flood level.
"Act now - do not wait for emergency services to knock on your door," Lockyer Valley Regional Council said in an alert.
"The siren is intended to prevent any loss of life and relies on the community heeding the siren."
On Friday morning, Queensland Police shared an image of all the warnings and alerts issued for roads in the state with many already road closed.
"Ask yourself - Do you really need to be driving in this weather?" authorities asked.
About 120km southwest, Stanthorpe residents are also on alert as Quart Pot Creek continues to rise.
The Southern Downs Regional Council said the creek was already at a moderate flood level on Friday morning, with more intense rainfall forecast.
"If the situation worsens, warn neighbours, secure property and prepare to move to higher ground," the council said in an alert.
The Bureau of Meteorology has warned six-hour rainfall totals of up 160mm on Friday could lead to life-threatening flash floods, and potential landslides, between Gladstone, Coolangatta and the Darling Downs.
QFES Assistant Commissioner Andrew Short said residents should resconsider their need to travel, with hundreds of roads already cut by floodwaters.
Almost 70 schools have already been closed.
"Currently, we've got 18 emergency alerts out in a number of councils," he told ABC Radio on Friday.
"So we're looking for people just to listen and respond and act accordingly."
Brisbane City Council has suspended ferry services and opened sandbagging stations, with residents in flood-prone areas being advised to move their cars to higher ground.
Yes, the rain gauges agree, it was wet in #SEQ again. Broad areas received over 100mm and there are many #QLDFloods active again. Highest rainfall 290mm near #WilsonsPeak. More rain in the southeast today. Full warnings list https://t.co/FBmpsInT9o @QldFES pic.twitter.com/8z5KFQNIxI
— Bureau of Meteorology, Queensland (@BOM_Qld) May 12, 2022
The lower Brisbane River is expected to reach a minor flood level on Friday morning, but Emergency Services Minister Mark Ryan said updated forecasts of intense rain could pose a risk of flash flooding into Saturday.
"Those falls could be up to 160mm over six hours, so creek catchments could rise very quickly, particularly given the creek catchments are so water-saturated at the moment," he told ABC Radio.
"Anyone who is in a creek catchment or river area needs to be very well aware of their circumstances because the rain can become heavy to intense very quickly, and that means that there is a severe risk of flash flooding."
The Gold Coast has so far missed the most intense rainfall, but Mayor Tom Tate has opened sandbagging stations, warning of localised intense rainfall.
In Queensland's north and west, moderate to major flooding is underway on the Cape, Condamine, Balonne, Thomson, Barcoo, Georgina, Kolan and Flinders rivers.
The unseasonal deluge is Queensland's sixth deadly flood since December, which scientists have put down to a second La Nina weather pattern in two years.
Do you have a story tip? Email: email@example.com.