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Author Topic: Australia by Tibrogargan January 2007 - present and 155216+ views later!  (Read 582278 times)
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« Reply #960 on: January 07, 2011, 09:44:05 AM »

Tibro, have been keeping up with these devastating reports on the news here as well.  Thanks for your reports.
My continued prayers for all the victims and their families . . . including our precious creatures.
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« Reply #961 on: January 07, 2011, 09:14:28 PM »

Thank you also Sister.  There have been pictures of stranded wildlife such as kangaroos and also of stock such as beef cattle.  Prices of food produced in these tropical areas have already skyrocketed in our local grocery supermarkets. For instance red capsicums (bell peppers?) have quadrupled in price this week. The people who live in the affected areas are our laid back Aussie battlers who still manage a moment of humour in the midst of chaos.  One lady interviewed while standing on the top story deck of her almost fully flooded house, while waiting for the rescue boat to arrive,  said she had always wished to live where she had water views.  Typical Aussie.

More news on the latest to follow.

Glad to know so many monkeys are following my posts.
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« Reply #962 on: January 07, 2011, 09:18:00 PM »

Gympie and Maryborough becoming isolated as rising flood levels cut off towns and close the Bruce highway

    * Suellen Hinde
    * From: The Sunday Mail (Qld)
    * January 08, 2011 11:19AM

MARYBOROUGH and Gympie are the latest Queensland towns facing isolation, as heavy rain and moving floodwaters head south.

Emergency crews were kept busy overnight with extensive rainfall and flash flooding reported in a number of areas including Gympie, Goomeri, Nanango and Kilcoy.

The Bureau of Meteorology reported heavy rainfall across the lower Mary catchment downstream of Gympie, where rainfall totals up to 250mm have been recorded since 9am Friday causing major flooding between Gympie and Tiaro.

The Mary River is bursting its banks, with police reporting that the Granville Bridge at Maryborough is closed.

Hervey Bay Police Senior Constable Milton Leitch said: "It's just showering now but we've got all the water coming down the river to worry about.''

Flood levels at Maryborough of at least 7.5 metres are expected during today.

Start of sidebar. Skip to end of sidebar.

End of sidebar. Return to start of sidebar.

The bridge at Saltwater Creek between Maryborough to Hervey Bay is also expected to close.

The SES hotline received 718 calls in the past 24 hours with most of these reported for the Brisbane (88), Rockhampton (28), Noosa (41), Cooloola (41), Bundaberg (34), Toowoomba (33), Logan (31) and Redlands (30) areas.

Police have closed the Bruce Highway to all traffic at the Inglewood Bridge near Gympie because of the rising Mary River system.

The Queensland Fire and Rescue Service and SES responded to two incidents where people had reportedly become trapped in rising floodwaters overnight.

On the Wide Bay Highway at Bells Bridge fire and SES personnel responded to reports of two people stranded on top of a bus in rising floodwaters around 10pm.

SES were able to reach them in a flood boat and transport them to safety.

They were uninjured but police have reminded people to stay out of floodwaters and avoid all non-essential travel.

At Upper Glastonbury, firefighters received a triple zero call to reports a young boy and man had fallen into a rising river behind a property around 6.20pm on Friday night.

It is understood the boy initially fell into the water and his father then fell in shortly after while attempting to rescue his son.

Fortunately both the father and son were able to get out of the rising waters before crews arrived and were uninjured.

"With school holidays still underway this incident is a timely reminder for parents to actively supervise their children and ensure they stay well away from swollen creeks and causeways,'' a Department of Community Services spokeswoman said.

"This also applies to drains and rivers.''

If residents require storm and flood assistance they should contact the SES on 132 500 and in a life-threatening emergency call triple zero (000).

Police are urging motorists to adapt their driving to suit the present conditions with some roads impassable or suffering from large volumes of surface water.

The adverse weather conditions are making travel extremely hazardous.

http://www.couriermail.com.au/news/crews-respond-to-flash-flooding/story-e6freon6-1225984083284
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« Reply #963 on: January 07, 2011, 09:26:59 PM »

Recovery chief describes Rockhampton region as "tropical islands" and says recovery from the floods will take years

    * Peter Michael, Jorja Orreal,Michael Madigan, Brian Williams and AAP
    * From: The Courier-Mail
    * January 08, 2011 7:25AM

THE man charged with leading the rebuilding of flood-ravaged Queensland has conceded it will take years for some regions to fully recover.

But Major-General Mick Slater said the group tasked with a massive effort expected to cost more than $5 billion would not seek ``short-term, temporary fixes''. And he said the future was about the people, not the water.

``They are not victims,'' Maj-Gen Slater said on his first sortie into the flood-ravaged state yesterday.

``(They) are hard-working Australians who have been dealt a pretty horrible blow. And all they need, and all they want, is a hand to get back on their feet.''

His visit came as:

    * The Bligh Government extended joint State and Federal Government disaster relief and recovery arrangements to storm-hit southeast councils.
    * The Insurance Council of Australia confirmed insurers had received about 4300 claims with a preliminary estimated cost of $150 million, which it said would increase.
    * Condamine and Theodore residents finally returned to their homes to start the cleaning, and St George and Dalby prepared for renewed flooding over the next few days.
    * A federal Opposition proposal for a series of dams to mitigate flooding was attacked as ill-conceived and in poor taste.
    * A Townsville youth, 19, whose car was swept off a flooded road in central Queensland, was charged over the death of a passenger  one of 10 Queensland flood-related deaths. He allegedly tried to cross a flooded causeway about 67km north of Aramac on January 2.

Maj-Gen Slater, a father-of-three and decorated army veteran of Iraq, Timor and the Cyclone Larry effort, was visibly moved as he told of the mission ahead to rebuild the state's damaged heart.

``I'm a Queenslander,'' he said. ``It's a big job that needs to be done. You'd be a stone-cold-hearted individual not to be touched emotionally. This is a tragedy.''

He is today due to tour flood-affected St George, Condamine and Rockhampton with Prime Minister Julia Gillard and Premier Anna Bligh.

After flying into Rockhampton, population 75,000, on Friday on his first day on the job, he described the state's flood-ravaged centre as like ``a group of tropical islands''.

``The volume of water out there is enormous,'' Maj-Gen Slater said, adding that there was ``a hell of a lot of work to do'' to get Rockhampton back on its feet.

The flood disaster chief met with the local disaster management group yesterday and said he wanted to get out and engage with the locals trying to cope with mud-filled homes, broken road and railway networks, and ruined crops, stock, mines and livelihoods.

``Short-term, temporary fixes won't work. We need to rebuild after this flood and I would like to see, and I'm sure we will see, parts of our infrastructure, parts of Queensland, that are better.

``We need to rebuild the infrastructure, we need to support the economy, we need to ensure that the large economic sectors in that part of the state get back on operational footing as quickly and as smoothly as possible  but we've got to get it right, we've got to get it right the first time.''

Ms Gillard is due back in the flood zone on Saturday as the Federal Opposition ramps up pressure to increase funding to damaged communities. She is expected to visit Rockhampton.

The State Government yesterday made Brisbane City, Gympie, Ipswich City, Logan City, Croydon, Torres Shire and Redland City councils eligible for assistance to cover the cost of damaged public assets and disaster operations.

A total of 49 of the 73 councils across the state are now covered.

Rain continues to batter parts of Queensland as emergency workers attempt to move into recovery mode for the biggest natural disaster the state has ever faced.

While flooding has stabilised over much of the central and southwest of the state, already sodden ground means that continuing storms can quickly cause flash floods.

Several roads on the western Darling Downs were again closed on Friday afternoon after further rain.

The community of St George will have to wait until Sunday or Monday for the Balonne River to peak, 33 people evacuating their homes.

Eight evacuation centres remain open, housing 640 people at Moura, Rockhampton, Emerald, Chinchilla, Dalby and Surat, towns hundreds of kilometres apart.

The communities of Dirranbandi, Thallon and Hebel remain on high alert while Theodore, Rolleston and Meandarra are cut off.

Residents of Condamine on the Western Downs and Theodore in central Queensland have been allowed to return to their muddy, smelly, devastated communities.

Condamine and Chinchilla received a lift on Friday following a visit by Governor-General Quentin Bryce.

``It's lifted spirits because little towns like this often go under the radar a bit,'' local councillor and hotel owner Andrew Smith told AAP.

``The recognition from the governor-general that there has been a serious flood here and that people have been devastated by it, does lift the spirits of people.''

In Condamine, 42 of the town's 60 homes, nine businesses and seven community facilities, including schools and churches, went under.

Ms Bryce also visited a local farming property that had 2.5 metres of water through its house.

In Brisbane, Premier Anna Bligh called on flooded-out Queenslanders to be patient as the waters recede.

Ms Bligh said roads and houses must be checked for safety before people could again access their devastated properties.

She told reporters 600 homes remain disconnected from power as a result of ``the biggest single event Queensland has had to face in its history''.

An area bigger than New South Wales is flood-affected.

Ms Bligh said flooding had stabilised for the moment, though more bad weather was threatening.

``As the waters go down that is the time the need for patience is only just beginning,'' she said.

Ms Bligh said it was understandable that people were impatient and frustrated that they could not return to their homes, but safety must come first.

Roads had to be checked and houses inspected, she said.

``The fact the water has receded from out of people's neighbourhoods does not mean they can immediately get into their homes,'' she said.

Ms Bligh declined to put a figure on the damage bill, conceding only that it will run to ``a multi-billion price tag''.

The premier said the public appeal for flood victims had reached $17.8 million dollars, including $5.3 million coming through people delivering donations to banks.

``That's overwhelmingly mums and dads digging into their own purses and wallets,'' she said, thanking all concerned.

Western Downs Mayor Ray Brown, who accompanied the governor-general, said whole communities had pitched in to help with the clean-up.

``That's when you're proud to be an Australian, mate,'' Mr Brown said.

http://www.couriermail.com.au/news/recovery-chief-describes-region-as-tropical-islands-as-seven-olympic-pools-of-water-rush-through-rocky-every-second/story-e6freon6-1225983599240
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« Reply #964 on: January 08, 2011, 12:03:34 AM »

Tibro this is just heart breaking. My heart aches for the people affected.
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« Reply #965 on: January 08, 2011, 04:58:14 PM »

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Princess Mary gives birth to twin boy and girl in hospital in Denmark

    * Lucy Carne
    * From: The Sunday Mail (Qld)
    * January 08, 2011 6:44PM

DENMARK'S Crown Princess Mary gave birth to healthy twins - a boy and girl - it was announced yesterday.

The Australian-born Princess went into labour at 5.15am local time (3.15pm AEDT) and was rushed to Copenhagen's public hospital Rigshospitalet.

The first to arrive at 10.30am local time was a boy who weighed 2674 grams and was followed 26 minutes later by a girl weighing 2554 grams.

Proud father Prince Frederik, 42, announced the arrival of the royal double bundle in the foyer of the hospital and was greeted by cheers from the press pack and a crowd of hospital staff and patients.

''Mother and children are in the best of health right now and we are all extremely relieved and overjoyed,'' he said.

''We're now processing the positive aftermath of becoming parents of twins. We could not be more happy."

He said both babies had dark hair and "look very good".

"There should be no doubt over who are the parents," he joked. "I give all my love, appreciation and acknowledgement to my wife.

"I can only take a bow to women because of what you can achieve like that. It is absolutely impressive."

Known to be emotional during the birth of his previous two children, Prince Frederik had cried during the birth of the twins."

He was doing well, but of course he was emotionally involved, especially when the children arrived," Dr Morten Hedegaard said.

The next big step is to pick names for the fourth and fifth in line to Europe's oldest throne. The Prince confirmed the couple was considering an Australian name for at least one of their twins.

"Of course, were still juggling with a few names," he said. "I was just told a host while ago, they are both born on Elvis Presley's birthday so one of them can be called Elvis.''

He also added he was keen to bring his young family to visit their mother's homeland "sooner rather than later".

"Believe me, we would love to be there as soon as we can," he said. ''We will have to check the condition of the mother and kids."

Dr Hedegaard said despite being "a few weeks early", the birth was "natural and normal" but he added the girl had arrived in breech position."

The mother was doing very well all the time," he said. ''We are very impressed by the way she is managing childbirth."

Midwife Birgitte Hillerup, who has delivered the couple's two other children, said she felt some pressure in delivering royal babies.

"In a way, its a special gift to assist the couple, but the delivery as such is like other deliveries," she said. "It was very touching, it always is.''

Word of the twins arrival spread quickly and the Danish prime minister sent flowers and two teddy bears wearing pink and blue ribbons to the hospital.

The twins' first visitor was proud grandfather Prince Consort Henrik, who arrived two hours after the birth.

He said he had been phoned and told of the arrival of his new granddaughter and grandson and that he had wanted to be the first to visit.

"I am so happy they are here and we are very glad to have a big family," he said.

But when asked by a Channel 7 reporter how he would handle so many young grandchildren, he replied sternly: "I do not babysit.''

Mary's father John Donaldson, meanwhile, was reportedly at the Amalienborg Palace babysitting Prince Christian, 5, and Princess Isabella, 3.

http://www.couriermail.com.au/news/world/pregnant-princess-mary-in-hospital-in-denmark/story-e6freoox-1225984254054
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« Reply #966 on: January 08, 2011, 05:00:52 PM »

Huge downpours in southeast are heading towards Maryborough and could leave 20 homes and businesses inundated

    * From: AAP
    * January 08, 2011 4:27PM

THE Mary River in Maryborough is expected to reach at least nine metres on Sunday - the highest level since 1968 - after 300mm of rain fell in the area in 24 hours.

Huge downpours in Queensland's southeast are rapidly heading towards Maryborough and could leave 20 homes and businesses inundated.

Up to 300mm fell in the Mary Valley in the 24 hours to 9am this morning Saturday and the deluge is expected to produce a major peak in the Mary River at Maryborough tomorrow morning.

The weather bureau said the river had reached 6.7 metres at 3pm, and was expected to reach at least nine metres on Sunday - the highest level since 1968.

Fraser Coast mayor Mick Kruger says he is closely monitoring the river levels.

``Tomorrow we might be in big trouble,'' Mr Kruger told AAP.

``A lot of the backwater will come up through part of the CBD, residential areas at the lower end of Ann Street will be inundated, and other pockets of areas that will experience similar situations.''

On Saturday, emergency services were doorknocking residents in the low-lying areas of The Pocket, Kent Street in the CBD and Portside, warning them they may have to evacuate.

``Up to 20 homes and businesses could be inundated,'' Mr Kruger said.

``At this stage, none are affected.''

 Nationals' leader and the federal member for Wide Bay, Warren Truss, said the water levels were rising extremely quickly. On Saturday afternoon, the river rose 20cm in an hour.

``The forecast suggests this will be the worst flood in Maryborough for more than a decade, probably 20 years, could even be 40 years,'' Mr Truss told ABC Radio.

``Areas like The Pocket are going to get very wet.''

The Granville Bridge is under water and isn't expected to be passable for a couple of days.

Mr Kruger said residents in Granville had been isolated already because of the floods.

``It's a self-contained suburb and we've got a temporary control centre set up at the hockey club with firies, ambulance and paramedics,'' Mr Kruger said.

The Lamington Bridge, south of Rockhampton, is also closed.

A bridge on the Bruce Highway, which bypasses the city, is unlikely to be inundated. Roads are cut off in Gympie, south of Maryborough.

Gympie received more than 102mm of rain in 24 hours to 9am today.

The Mary River at Gympie was at a moderate flood peak of 14.3 metres.

The Bruce Highway, which has been closed at the Inglewood Bridge and Kybong, both south of the city, could be re-opened as early as tonight.

http://www.couriermail.com.au/news/breaking-news/huge-downpours-in-southeast-are-heading-towards-maryborough-and-could-leave-20-homes-and-businesses-inundated/story-fn7ik8u2-1225984221465
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« Reply #967 on: January 08, 2011, 05:04:56 PM »

Maj-Gen Mick Slater pledges to get flood battered Queensland back on its feet

    * David Murray
    * From: The Sunday Mail (Qld)
    * January 09, 2011 12:01AM

MAJOR-General Mick Slater has outlined his battle plan to tackle the flood crisis, assuring residents their shattered regions would be rebuilt.

The top soldier recruited to piece the state back together aims to leave it better prepared for future events.

''We will rebuild Queensland,'' he told The Sunday Mail from his new Brisbane operations hub, before touring the stricken regions with Premier Anna Bligh yesterday.

''We need to make sure the rebuilding prepares us better for the next flood than we were for this one.

''Unfortunately you can't flood-proof Queensland but you can be smart about how you repair and where you repair roads and bridges and railways.''

Maj-Gen Slater, head of the army's 1st division at Enoggera, was having a barbecue at his Brisbane home near the base when Defence chief Angus Houston phoned on Tuesday night.

''He said: 'I've got a job for you. Go and report to the Premier tomorrow; you are leading the recovery taskforce'.

''It's a privilege to be here. I was told someone's got to do it, step up and do it, and you just do because people need help and we are capable of helping them.''

The flood effort involves three distinct phases - emergency management, clean-up and restoration, and long-term reconstruction and rebuilding.

Maj-Gen Slater is in command of the final stage, working out of the Government's George St executive building with defence personnel, police and public servants seconded to the job.

He said the recovery would be split into five key areas of priority: social and support services, the economy, environment, buildings, and roads and transport.

The mammoth task will involve balancing competing interests and he urged communities to work with him and be reasonable with expectations.

''We don't have enough resources to be able to do everything that needs to be done concurrently . . . which means we have to sort out our priorities,'' he said.

''We've got to listen, listen, listen to understand what their needs are in different areas.

''People have the opportunity to speak to me in the flood-affected area and know what they're telling me gets through to the Premier.''

For roads alone, thousands of kilometres will require repair work as the water recedes.

''One of the high-priority roads will be the east coast corridor up the Bruce Highway to make sure we're open for business from Brisbane to Cairns and to do that as quickly as we can,'' he said.

''There are some roads out west that are critical to the movement of cattle to the east coast to get them to market.''

In some cases, bridges may have to be moved to new locations in an attempt to flood-proof them for the future, he said.

Maj-Gen Slater, who previously headed operations in East Timor, was commander of the 3rd Brigade in Townsville when Cyclone Larry hit and sent troops in to Innisfail before roads were cut.

The floods cover a far wider area and will stretch the soldier, a father of three adult children, who said he had the full support of wife Danielle ''who has been through all of this a number of times''.

''This will be a tough job, there's no doubt about it,'' he said. ''It's no good doing quick temporary fixes that fail and fall over a short distance down the track.

''Some things we'll be able to achieve in a couple of months, some things might take a couple of years.''

murrayd@qnp.newsltd.com.au

http://www.couriermail.com.au/news/sunday-mail/maj-gen-mick-slater-pledges-to-get-flood-battered-queensland-back-on-its-feet/story-e6frep2f-1225984338031
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« Reply #968 on: January 08, 2011, 05:07:48 PM »

NZ volunteers arrive in Queensland

    * From: AAP
    * January 08, 2011 1:20PM

NEW Zealand help has touched down in Brisbane to help Queensland's flood recovery and clean-up.

State Emergency Services Minister Neil Roberts said 15 response team volunteers from across the Tasman on Saturday would head to Condamine after 42 of the town's 60 homes were inundated.

"There's a very long road to recovery ahead and the support we continue to receive from international and interstate sources is very much appreciated," Mr Roberts said in a statement.

The town's entire population of 150 was ordered to evacuate on December 30 as the Condamine River rose to a record 14.25 metres.

Black Hawk helicopters were called in for a rapid response, ferrying residents to nearby Miles and Dalby.

The volunteers are due to return to New Zealand on Wednesday.

http://www.couriermail.com.au/news/breaking-news/nz-volunteers-arrive-in-queensland/story-fn7ik8u2-1225984179437
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« Reply #969 on: January 08, 2011, 05:15:45 PM »

Nine's Flood Relief Appeal- Australia Unites

The Nine and WIN Networks will band together to help victims of the worst floods in Queensland’s history with a two-hour LIVE telethon this Sunday, January 9, from 7.30pm EST (Check your local TV guide for times in your area).

Nine’s Flood Relief Appeal – Australia Unites will raise money for the devastated population in a flood-ravaged area larger than New South Wales and bigger than France and Germany combined. More than 200,000 people are affected, entire towns have been evacuated and many others remain cut off from supplies.

At this stage the damage bill is predicted to run into billions of dollars and the situation is still worsening in some areas.

The telethon will be hosted by Nine’s Eddie McGuire, Leila McKinnon and Karl Stefanovic LIVE from Brisbane’s Suncorp Piazza in Southbank.

Nine’s Allison Langdon will host the flood relief call centre along with Queenslanders Natalie Gruzlewski and Ian Healy who will keep viewers informed on the donation tally. A host of familiar faces, including Channel Nine stars and sporting heroes, will support the appeal by manning the phones to take donations.

The telethon will also have the flood-stricken region covered, with Channel Nine reporters appearing live from some of the worst hit areas. Liz Hayes, Peter Harvey, Michael Usher, Sarah Harris and Ben Fordham will have updates throughout the evening on the latest news coming out of the flooded State.

Some of Australia’s top music acts will perform live to raise money for the telethon, including Tina Arena, Jessica Mauboy, David Campbell, Altiyan Childs and Lee Kernaghan.

Managing Director of the Nine Network, Mr Jeffrey Browne, said: “In this great tragedy the telethon gives all Australians the opportunity to support the people of Queensland who have been touched by this natural disaster. I urge all viewers to get behind the appeal and donate generously to help alleviate the suffering and long-term effects of these floods.”

Queensland Premier Anna Bligh, who on Tuesday inspected flood damage and clean-up efforts in Alpha and Jericho, congratulated the Nine Network for organising the telethon.

“The star power of Channel Nine will really help to kick along donations to the Premier’s Disaster Relief Appeal. There will be thousands of people reaching for their phones on Sunday night to donate money and I’ll be helping to answer the calls,” Ms Bligh said.

Mr Bruce Gordon, of the WIN Network, said: “Throughout Australia the WIN Network has long supported local communities in times of crisis. Being Australia’s largest network, we understand our responsibility to the communities in which we live and we have committed the full resources of WIN to support this telethon.

“Seven of our 26 news bureaus across Australia are located in Queensland. The communities of Cairns, Townsville, Rockhampton, Mackay, Wide Bay, Sunshine Coast and Toowoomba rely on their local WIN News bulletin daily, particularly in difficult times.

“Fortunately we have managed to stay on air with all stations throughout the crisis. Now we will lend the support of the whole WIN Network, which covers every State as well as the capital cities of Adelaide and Perth, to this fund-raising effort for those WIN viewers who have been disadvantaged by these disastrous floods.”

Mr Gordon said WIN news presenter Paul Taylor and weather expert Peter Byrne were locals who know the flood area. Their expertise, knowledge and experience will play a major role in the telethon.

“Flood information has been and will continue to be covered by the WIN Network for our viewers throughout Australia,” he added.

http://channelnine.ninemsn.com.au/article.aspx?id=8193294
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« Reply #970 on: January 10, 2011, 05:03:54 AM »

This just keeps getting worse. Floods and torrential rain is now heading southward and is now also affecting the capital city Brisbane and then expected to move through the river system through New South Wales and into Victoria and South Australian borders when it joins with the Murray River.  When will it ever stop?  We lived in Brisbane for 20 years and are very familiar with the areas now included in the disaster areas.

Toowoomba (nicknamed 'The Garden City') is a city in South East Queensland, Australia. It is located 127 km (79 mi) west of Queensland's capital city, Brisbane.[3] With an estimated district population of 128,600, Toowoomba is Australia's second largest inland city, and its largest non-capital inland city.[1]

A university and cathedral city, Toowoomba hosts the Australian Carnival of Flowers each September, and Easterfest is held annually over the Easter weekend. There are more than 150 public parks and gardens in Toowoomba.[4] It has developed into a regional centre for business and government services


Videos and interactive map are available at the link noted at bottom of this post.

Torrential rain raises alarm for Toowoomba, Maryborough, Gympie, Wide Bay, Kingaroy, Cooloola and Brisbane

    * From: The Courier-Mail
    * January 10, 2011 7:42PM

RESIDENTS from Ipswich to Gatton and Chinchilla are being advised to evacuate their homes as waters across the Downs and southeast rise.

Police are asking all people who live in low-lying areas in these regions to immediately self-evacuate their homes to higher ground.

While it is only precautionary, police said the high volumes water in all local waterways is too dangerous to risk.

As Queensland's flood emergency continues, residents in low-lying areas of the western Darling Downs town of Chinchilla have been told to evacuate.

"People in low lying flood-prone areas at Chinchilla should immediately evacuate to higher ground," a statement issued by Queensland police on Monday evening said.

"This is due to the volume of water in local waterways."

Large parts of the town, which services agriculture and mining industries, were flooded on December 27.

    * In pictures: Toowoomba and Queensland floods
    * Pics: Flash floods hit Brisbane
    * Send us your pics or MMS 0428 258 117
    * Coral risk: Muddy waters for Reef tourism

Residents downstream from Gatton in low-lying areas near Lockyer Creek have been told to evacuate immediately as a massive volume of water bears down on them.

Up to 5000 residents have been told to abandon their homes in low-lying parts of the Lockyer Valley, west of Brisbane, amid the worst flooding in more than a century.

Extreme flash flooding devastated some communities in the valley on Monday, even washing homes away.

All residents in low lying areas along Lockyer Creek have been told to make their way to safety, with flood levels at a record peak and rising.

Self-evacuations are under way in Gatton, Laidley and Forest Hill.

``It could be four or five thousand people,'' Lockyer Valley Regional Council Mayor Steve Jones said.

``It's very severe, it's a very, very big concern. It could be as big as (the) 1974 (floods).''

Mr Jones said there was no time to door-knock residents in the upper parts of the valley before the flash flooding hit this afternoon.

``There wouldn't have been time, it came up too quick,'' he said.

The Bureau of Meteorology said the creek was at 18.92 metres at Gatton at 6.30pm (AEST). The previous record was 16.33 in 1893.

``It's higher than the record at the moment and it's still rising, so we're just waiting to get some idea of what's going to happen there,'' a bureau spokesman said.

``Severe record major flooding is expected in areas downstream of Gatton overnight and during Tuesday.''
Police have told residents living near the creek to stay away from their homes until further notice.

A severe weather warning has been released for the southeast where flooding is already wreaking havoc, with two people confirmed dead in Toowoomba's flash flood.

The southeast coast region and eastern parts of the Darling Downs and Granite Belt are expecting further heavy rainfall overnight.

Thunderstorms and flash flooding are also expected to add to the rising waters in these areas.

The Bureau of Meteorology said the rainfall might not ease until late tomorrow.

A severe thunderstorm warning has also been released for north Queensland.

Areas such as Gulf Country, Northern Goldfields and Upper Flinders are to expect thunderstorms, heavy rainfall and flash flooding for the next several hours.

People in the small town of Withcott, at the foot of the Toowoomba Range, are "a bit bamboozled" after unprecedented rain caused massive flash flooding today.

"People just can't believe what happened," Lockyer Valley Regional Council Mayor Steve Jones said.

"Withcott's 800, 900 feet (245m to 275m) above sea level, and to be affected by floods is just something you'd never expect."

Cr Jones said petrol bowsers have been ripped out of the ground and swept 500m away, cars have floated through shop fronts, and houses have been swept off their stumps at Postmans Ridge and Grantham.

"At this stage we're all just a bit bamboozled by what's happened and at this stage we're trying to get them organised."

Cr Jones said the community had survived bushfires and would work together to overcome this latest natural disaster.

"There'll be some action here in the next couple of hours, but there needs to be because it is one hell of a mess."

On the Granite Belt, irrigator dams upstream of Stanthorpe could burst their banks, sending a torrent of water into the southwest Queensland town, the Southern Downs Regional Council warns.

The Quart Pot Creek peaked just before 3pm at the major level of 4.87m, inundating a number of homes.

About 15 people have taken refuge in the evacuation centre.

"Only a handful of residents were flooded as their houses were built up the bank," a spokeswoman for the council said.

Severe thunderstorms have been forecast for the area on Monday evening and if they hit the town could be in more trouble.

"If we had that coming through, it's a possibility that there will be a repeat of the flooding on Tuesday," the spokeswoman said.

Three large irrigation dams on private properties upstream of the town are nearly full, and one breached on Monday.

"The council is keeping a close eye on those dams, because if they did collapse it could cause a surge of water downstream and into Stanthorpe," the spokesperson said.

In Warwick, about 60km north of Stanthorpe, the troublesome Condamine River is expected to peak at a moderate 6m tonight.

The council said anyone living in the 100-year flood zone has been door-knocked and evacuations were under way.

The peak isn't expected to be as bad as the rise on December 27, when 30 homes were inundated in what was the second highest flood in history.

"There's three main tributaries coming into the Condamine from east of Warwick. Two weeks ago three of them were major catchments for the rainfall and flooded, this time only one of them has been the major catchment," the spokeswoman added.

In Toowoomba, police said a woman who'd been caught while walking in the floodwaters had been found dead.

 "This is unbelievable damage," Mayor Peter Taylor said.

"It's a real disaster scene where I'm standing at the moment in Russell St, Toowoomba.

"There's furniture and furnishings and it's just blown shops away.

"There's water literally pouring out of the front doors of shops here as a major flash flood came through the centre of the city ...

"We have a railway line about 60m or 70m suspended in mid air and two cars that are virtually unrecognisable that have floated and smashed into the rail."

Rescuers are scrambling across the city, after five vehicles were swept away.

At least two of those were at Withcott, where three pedestrians were also swept off the roadway.

A wall of water struck the CBD around lunchtime, catching many by surprise.

It rose from West Creek, in Queen's Park, which broke its banks after a morning of intense rainfall.

Locals have described the event as an unprecedented flash-flood.

Nearby communities at Dalby, Helidon and Gatton received torrential downpours today.

The Brisbane Valley is basically awash. And more rains are on the way for the southeast.

Ipswich and Brisbane are in the firing line tomorrow.

An announcement on the Toowoomba death was expected shortly.

Rescuers were on their way to the scene at Gatton-Helidon Rd, Grantham. A triple-0 call was made about 4.10pm.

Details remain sketchy but an emergency services spokeswoman said they should know by 5pm.

"There's a report of a vehicle washed away," the spokeswoman said. "There are reports there were three children in (a vehicle) and presumably one adult."

Email your flood pics or MMS to 0428 258 117

In Toowoomba, video footage shows vehicles, some with drivers still trapped inside, being swept away and thrown into the sides of other cars and caught up in trees.

One pedestrian could be seen trying to dodge cars charging along what was once a street.

Deputy Police Commissioner Ian Stewart said lives were under threat.

"We've had multiple triple-0 calls requesting urgent assistance from people caught in vehicles, caught on the street, caught in floodways," he told reporters.

"This has just evolved. There has been no warning of this event."

At least nine swiftwater rescues were under way to get to people trapped across the city, the Department of Community Safety said.

There are unconfirmed reports a child may have been killed, and that others are among those trapped.

At least six people were stuck in buildings on Ruthven St, in the heart of the city, the department said.

The flooding has caused severe damage to homes around Murphys Creek at the bottom of the Toowoomba Range.

A bridge has also been swept away in the city's south and a building has collapsed on Schofield St in the city's heart.

Witnesses have told police up to 2m of water swept through parts of the city after about three hours of extreme rainfall from about midday.

Premier Anna Bligh said a "massive deluge" had hit the city.

"The city has been split through the main centre of town," she said.

“Just as we started to think mother nature might leave us alone for a little while it has come back with full force into new parts of the region."

Toowoomba councillor Joe Ramia said he'd never seen anything like today's downpour.

"I've lived here all my life and I've seen streets and football fields and ovals and school ovals that are just oceans of water," he said.

"All the water ran down on to roads, into homes - just incredible."

He said cars were floating down a street in the CBD.

"Cars were floating, they've got streets barricaded off, there were wheelie bins floating around," Cr Ramia said.

"I've seen streets in Toowoomba that I never, never thought would carry that much water. It it was just horrendous."

The town of Withcott, at the foot of the Toowoomba Range, looks like it was hit by "an atomic bomb" or a Cyclone Tracy, Lockyer Valley Mayor Steve Jones said.

Mr Jones and his son were near casualties after an unprecedented deluge hit the town on Monday morning.

"I was just coming back from Withcott when it started ... I was driving across about 10 inches (25cm) of water and a wall of water came down, picked my ute up, pushed it sidewards.

"If it had been a little car it would have killed everyone in it."

Mr Jones said cars had been swept from a local service station into shops.

"There's petrol pumps taken out and taken half a kilometre down the road.

"It's like Cyclone Tracy hit it."

Mr Jones said about 1000 people, including stranded motorists, were involved.

"There's houses come off the stumps at Postman's Ridge and taken down the creek, possibly two or three."

The town has no power and communications are limited to mobile phones, he said.

Further north, floodwaters have cut Gympie in two while dams outside Brisbane are being credited with saving the city from widespread flooding.

Acting Gympie Regional Mayor Tony Perrett says up to 40 businesses and 40 homes could be inundated if the Mary River reaches 20m, as expected, in the next 24 hours.

The Bureau of Meteorology has warned the river could go even higher than that.

If it gets to 21.9m it will match the 1999 flood that saw homes and businesses inundated and the city declared a natural disaster area.

Mr Perrett  said about a dozen businesses just off Mary St were inundated and up to 40 in the CBD could follow.

Meanwhile, low-lying areas along the Brisbane River could see some flooding by tomorrow or Wednesday, Bureau of Meteorology hydrologist Peter Baddiley said.

Floodwaters have cut off the towns of Kilcoy and Toogoolawah in the Brisbane Valley.

About 15 houses at Toogoolawah, near the dam, were evacuated overnight and about 40 people were forced to take refuge at an RSL hall.

Dams outside Brisbane are being credited with saving the city from widespread flooding.

The Wivenhoe Dam is at 140 per cent and Somerset Dam is at 150 per cent, and there's a lot more capacity available.

Brisbane residents are being offered sandbags and warned to prepare for flash flooding as the capital gets a taste of Queensland's flood emergency.

Brisbane City Council this morning advised residents in flood-prone areas that sandbags were available at depots around the city.

 A high alert has also been issued to recreational users of all swollen dams and waterways.

The Brisbane River is in minor flood again as a huge amount of water backs up behind Wivenhoe Dam.

While no properties are in danger of serious damage, flows are fast and dangerous.

Recreational sites at Wivenhoe and Somerset dams will be closed for days.

Low-lying roads near southeast Queensland dams are expected to be shut while opened dam gates try and get rid of huge flows.

Overnight rains flooded streets and river crossings at Fernvale and Crosby Weir bridges.

Twin, Savages, Burtons, Kholo and Colleges Crossing bridges were already swamped and remain so.

About 170,000 megalitres is now gushing out of Wivenhoe Dam in to the river.

Last Thursday, authorities opened one of the dam gates but on Saturday decided to open all five.

Increased rains since then are surging downstream and being joined by large in-flows from the Bremer and Lockyer systems.

Brisbane City Council are monitoring the minor flood levels along the river but no damage to homes has been reported.

The North Pine Dam also has all five gates open.

Flows from Leslie Harrison Dam are also being released today.

The bureau's top rainfalls for the past 24 hours were recorded in the Sunshine Coast hinterland, with West Bellthorpe recording 343 mm, and Maleny 337 mm. Brisbane Airport had 85.6mm and Everton Hills, in Brisbane's north-west, had 188 mm.

A severe weather warning was issued at 5am for flash flooding and worsening river floods on Queensland's southeastern coast, southern parts of Wide Bay and the Burnett and eastern parts of the Darling Downs and Granite Belt districts.

As the clean-up continues in central Queensland and the west, up to 90mm of rain fell in the state's capital city yesterday.

The Bruce Highway at Elimbah, north of Caboolture, was closed earlier this morning but has since reopened.

A police spokesman said water is still threatening the road and it could close again later today.

Motorists are urged to drive with caution and not attempt to cross flooded roads.

The Brisbane Valley Highway is closed at Fernvale and north of Toogoolawah. The D'Aguilar Highway is also closed before Kilcoy.

Earlier yesterday, police closed both lanes of the Bruce Highway because of flooding at Kybong, 10km south of Gympie, and it had not reopened late last night.

Further north, authorities declared the Bruce Highway north of Gladstone a danger zone, and both lanes remain cut off by flooding surrounding Rockhampton.

Late last night 2844 homes across Brisbane's east and bay areas, Brisbane Valley, Caboolture, Redcliffe, Gympie and Mary Valley, the Ipswich area and the Sunshine Coast remained without power.

Energex said 10,000 homes were affected earlier in the day amid 5000 lightning strikes.

Although the southeast faces rain today and tomorrow, conditions will ease to showers on Wednesday, with a welcome forecast for mostly sunny conditions next weekend.

The first glimmer of sunshine is not expected until Saturday.

Emergency Management Queensland acting assistant director-general Warren Bridson warned residents in low-lying areas of affected towns to prepare immediately by securing personal belongings and planning an escape route.

About 116,000 megalitres of water a day is being released from the Wivenhoe Dam flood compartment. Releases may impact upon Twin Bridges, Savages Crossing, Burtons Bridge, Kholo Bridge and Colleges Crossing for several days. Local councils have details on road closures.

Substantial releases have been made from Leslie Harrison Dam at Redland City, east of Brisbane, and minor releases from Hinze Dam on the Gold Coast.

Mr Bridson warned that people should be aware that 100mm to 200mm of rain on saturated catchments had a dramatically different effect in terms of rapid flooding compared with the same amount of rainfall during dry periods.

He said residents were not so much complacent but rather failed to understand how rapidly streams could rise.

Police Chief Superintendent Alistair Dawson said the state-wide floods were now so large and had hit so many districts that it had reached the stage where there was hardly a person in Queensland who did not know someone who had been impacted personally.

"It's an amazing situation," Supt Dawson said. "We've got water police stationed in St George. Who would have thought that?

"We've got swift water rescue crews stationed in Dirranbandi and there are Navy Sea King helicopters at Roma and an (aviation) fuel dump at St George."

Supt Dawson warned that with some residents in the Sunshine Coast hinterland areas of Kilcoy and Woolooga in fear of their lives because of fast-rising water over the weekend, it was important people had plans in place about what to do should their area flood.

"People need to think about how to get out," he said. "And if you don't need to travel, stay off the roads."

Mr Bridson said many roads had become deadly to cross and appealed to drivers to think about the consequences of their actions and the risk to the lives of others.

More than 200,000 people and more than 10,700 properties have been affected in the Christmas-New Year floods.

The repair bill stands at $5 billion for the deluge that has seen water sweep through an area the size of France and Germany combined.

At St George in the southwest, floods peaked yesterday about the same height as last year's record flood, easing fears of a major inundation.

Four houses had water damage, a further four were surrounded by floods and about 20 yards inundated. A total of 35 residents had moved out to higher ground.

Supt Dawson said Gympie had 20 businesses affected by floodwaters but no homes.

In Maryborough, three homes and three businesses had been inundated.

In Rockhampton, 158 people remained evacuated and 400 homes and 150 businesses were still affected by flooding in some way.

A large number of people were helping with the Condamine clean-up but the hamlet is not yet safe, with the Condamine River set to submerge the town bridge again last night.

Towards the border, water was rising at Dirranbandi but the town was dry and safe, while at Emerald the clean-up had begun amid serious accommodation issues.

 - Anna Caldwell, Brian Williams, Kathleen Donaghy, Peta Fuller, James O'Loan and AAP

http://www.couriermail.com.au/news/torrential-rain-raises-alarm-for-maryborough-gympie-wide-bay-kingaroy-cooloola-and-brisbane/story-e6freon6-1225984664015
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« Reply #971 on: January 10, 2011, 05:06:31 AM »

Coral at risk as floods muddy the waters for Barrier Reef tourism

    * From: The Courier-Mail
    * January 10, 2011 12:01AM

Wayne Rumble and Laureth Craggs

MURKY FUTURE: Wayne Rumble and Laureth Craggs, owners of the Pumpkin Island resort in the Keppel Island group. Picture: Jeff Camden Source: The Courier-Mail

QUEENSLAND'S precious coral reefs face devastation after being polluted by murky flood waters with 90 per cent set to be wiped out off the central coast.

Scientists have warned it may take up to 15 years for much of the vegetation and fish stock to recover as the deluge starts to encroach on the crystal blue waters of the Great Barrier Reef.

Hardest hit include reefs off the bloated Burdekin and Fitzroy Rivers and tourism havens such as the Great Keppel islands.

"It is frightening to think that if 90 per cent of the coral dies, then all the sea life and tropical fish will also die with it or disappear,'' one tourism operator said yesterday.

"It is like we have gone from living on a tropical island to living in the middle of a lake.''

Debris, trees, household items, a fridge and even a cow have washed up on nearby shores.

It comes as the flooding heads towards the southeast with the front now bearing down on Maryborough, Gympie and the Sunshine Coast forcing several rescues on roads and rivers.

Brisbane is also on flash flood alert with up to 90mm falling at Samford, Geebung, Dayboro and Everton Hills yesterday.

Laureth Craggs is heartbroken to think entire coral reefs, giant clams and swathes of other sea life might be killed off by the state's massive flood disaster.

Queensland's flood plume stretches 2300km along the coast from Cooktown to Grafton  and up to 120km out into the Coral Sea.

But in one of the likely disaster hot spots, the Keppel Island group near the Fitzroy River delta  where the 1991 floods wiped out vast swathes of coral  the true impact is yet to be seen.

"Visibility is down to 1m,'' said Ms Craggs, 29, co-owner of Pumpkin Island resort, 8km off Yeppoon.

"It is usually 25-30m under water, but the usually crystal-clear turquoise water is a murky mud brown.

"You can't see a thing.''

Ms Craggs, who owns the five-cottage eco-island with partner Wayne Rumble, said: "It is frightening to think that if 90 per cent of the coral dies, then all the sea life and tropical fish will also die with it or disappear.''

"It is like we have gone from living on a tropical island to living in the middle of a lake,'' Mr Rumble said.

Hydrologists estimate the equivalent of three Sydney Harbours of floodwater is flowing out to sea through nearby Rockhampton and into the Great Barrier Reef lagoon every day.

World-respected marine scientist Dr Ian Poiner, head of the Australian Institute of Marine Science, said the huge layer of fresh water was stressing corals and fish, which would lead to a high mortality rate.

He said it was dumping sediment, chemicals, rubbish and other contaminants onto the reef, effectively smothering the fragile eco-system.

Fellow researcher and coral expert Dr Peter Doherty said the huge flood plume was likely to lead to coral bleaching, particularly in vulnerable fringing reefs in a 30km-wide band along the east coast.

Scientists, however, are divided on whether it will take a year or as many as 15 years for the coral reefs and fish stocks to recover.

There are also fears for the tourist trade.

Capricorn Tourism and Economic Development CEO Mary Carroll said the floods had had a "monumental effect'' on the tourism industry.

"We've got stunning summer weather here, but the irony is people can't access the area from the south, where most of our business comes from, because it's cut off,'' she said.

Ms Carroll said the the tourism industry had seen a 50 per cent decline in holiday-makers during the 10 days over the Christmas and New Year period.

"We've also seen a 70-80 per cent drop for the rest of January because of lack of access by road or air,'' she said.

http://www.couriermail.com.au/news/coral-at-risk-as-floods-muddy-the-waters-for-barrier-reef-tourism/story-e6freon6-1225984652653
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« Reply #972 on: January 10, 2011, 05:10:48 AM »

Deluge of donations as $11m in pledges pours in at telethon event for flood victims

    * From: The Courier-Mail
    * January 10, 2011 5:27PM

GENEROUS Australians swamped the phone lines with about 12,000 calls in the first minute of the joint The Courier-Mail/Sunday-Mail and Channel 9 Flood Relief Appeal.

It comes as flood waters continue to bear down on the state, with many residents bracing for more pain today.

Last night celebrities, sports stars and politicians came together to man the phones for the "Flood Relief Appeal Australia Unites''  at a State Government call centre at Zillmere, on Brisbane's northside.

At 10pm, there were 16,439 pledges and more than $11,050,000 had been made in on-air donations, including $842,201 promised from individuals.

The support was so massive that more than 12,000 calls within the first minute forced the phone system to crash, initially delaying calls to the two designated Flood Relief Appeal call centres at Zillmere and Mount Gravatt.

Phillip Bradstreet and his daughter Cassie made the journey up the M1 to attend the telethon at South Bank's Suncorp Piazza.

Mr Bradstreet said though his family had escaped the worst of Queensland 's big wet, he felt a special affinity with flood victims further north.

"I'm up in Rockhampton fairly regularly and at least three of my friends have water all through their houses,'' he said.

"I have spoken to them and once the water does go down I will try to get up there and help out. In the meantime we thought coming along here tonight was the best way to show that we care.''

Marc and Louise Moore of The Gap brought their young family to the flood appeal, having had their own taste of severe weather when violent storms hit Brisbane in 2008.

"We couldn't drive out of our street for a while and there was plenty of damage but it really only affected us for a few days,'' he said.

"It wasn't a patch on what these people are going through.''

Meanwhile, Maryborough residents Shane Chesterman and Kymbaly Head escaped before the weekend deluge that had the town on flood watch last night.

"We got out about a week ago on holidays but I've spoken to people up there and they can't get out now,'' Mr Chesterman said.

Even those with no immediate vested interest in the crisis turned out to the fundraiser.

Brad Curtin, of Shailer Park, whose children came to the fundraiser with a placard pleading for a "flood of money'' said the night was all about supporting Queenslanders.

A Channel 9 spokesman said 182 phone lines were available at the two centres, with a queue of 800 initially figured in.

Jessica Origliasso, lead vocalist alongside twin sister Lisa of The Veronicas who is on holidays in her hometown of Brisbane from the US, said she was saddened by the tragedy.

"The positive thing is we can all come together as a nation and help those people out,'' she said.

The Commonwealth Bank led the way with a $1.3million donation. Etihad pledged $1million. News Limited, publisher of The Courier-Mail and Sunday Mail tipped in $500,000, a figure matched by the AFL.

The NSW and Victorian governments each pledged $1 million to the cause.

http://www.couriermail.com.au/news/deluge-of-donations-as-8m-in-pledges-pours-in-at-telethon-event-for-flood-victims/story-e6freon6-1225984674268
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« Reply #973 on: January 10, 2011, 05:12:48 AM »

Pope donates thousands to flood victims

    * From: AAP
    * January 10, 2011 5:16PM

THE Pope has expressed "his closeness" to the victims of Queensland's floods and donated thousands of dollars to help them rebuild their lives.

"As a gesture of solidarity, His Holiness has instructed the Pontifical Council to allocate $US50,000 in response to the urgent needs of those affected by the natural disaster," the Apostolic Nunciature Australia said in a statement today.

The donation will go through the Rockhampton Diocese to the St Vincent De Paul statewide appeal.

"The Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI, having been informed of the recent flooding in northeastern Australia, has wished to express his closeness to the victims and their families," the statement said.

http://www.couriermail.com.au/news/queensland/pope-donates-thousands-to-flood-victims/story-e6freoof-1225985156212
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« Reply #974 on: January 10, 2011, 05:23:25 AM »

There are so many decent people in the world . . . we sometimes forget (speaking for myself).  So good to read the telefon went so well and companies and individuals responded.  May God pour out His blessings on the donations so the money will multiply beyond its face value for the work to be done.  Thank God too for those so willing to give of themselves.  Though there is evil in our world . . . there is far greater good.
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« Reply #975 on: January 10, 2011, 06:30:29 PM »

I agree, Sister. We do tend to forget how many good and decent people there are in the world who are always there to help and support others in need.  I also think we do focus more on the ones who do evil and commit crimes, especially against the defenceless such as children and animals, which is partly the fault of the media as we all know "feel good" stories do not sell papers or draw viewers.  Browsing forums about missing persons and the cruelty inflicted upon the victims cannot help but cause one to think that evil is rampant in our society.  Time for the good people to stand up and show they are not willing to let evil become any more prominent and that there is a better way to live life.

Thank you for your words of comfort that you post in many threads.  They always come just when they are needed and I know help many who read here, be they members or guests.

God bless you and your work Sister, for it is apparent to me that part of your ministry has been directed here by divine influences.
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« Reply #976 on: January 10, 2011, 06:39:20 PM »

More tragic news on the floods in Queensland.  There are other areas in our big country suffering flooding and bush fires, such as in Western Australia, but they all pale in significance to the floods I have been posting about here.


Toowoomba and Lockyer Valley flash floods claim at least eight lives, dozens missing


    * From: The Courier-Mail
    * January 11, 2011 9:26AM

The Qld city of Toowoomba has been devastated by a deadly wall of water in scenes reminiscent of a tsunami.

AT least eight people have died in the latest wave of flooding in Queensland and dozens more are missing.

Premier Anna Bligh this morning said eight people had died in the floods and another 11 people are confirmed missing near Toowoomba.

The deputy commissioner of police Ian Stewart said 72 people had been reported as missing throughout the whole region.

 Ms Bligh said the dead included a mother and two children whose car had been swept away in the floodwaters.

She said wet weather was hampering the rescue efforts and the search for the 11 missing people.

"We have a further 11 people confirmed missing and we have very grave fears about them," she told the Nine Network on Tuesday morning. The 11 came from four homes in Murphys Creek.
 More heavy rainfall and possible severe storms were expected in Toowoomba today.

"We're very very worried about the safety of a number of people in this valley," Ms Bligh said

Laidley is the latest area advised to evacuate by authorities with Jordan, Lyons and Short Streets among those locations requested to move to higher ground.

Police are urging all communities in low-lying parts of the Lockyer Valley to move to higher ground.

Scores of people are missing and numerous rescues are underway including people trapped in a car on the Gore Highway at Westbrook in Toowoomba.

Seven swift water rescue crews are being relocated from the central region to Brisbane, on standby to assist the four in Toowoomba today.

 Full details are still not available, but it's known the dead include a woman and a boy, whose bodies were found dead in the Toowoomba CBD.

And in the nearby community of Murphys Creek, a man and a boy were found dead after being washed away from a house.

Emergency authorities last night feared for 30 people believed to be sheltering in a one-storey wooden school building at Grantham, 100km west of Brisbane.

Premier Bligh called the disaster the "darkest hour of the last fortnight".

"Mother Nature has unleashed something shocking out of the Toowoomba region," she said.

Authorities were working frantically to rescue people in Postmans Ridge, where houses were reportedly swept away, Withcott, Grantham, Helidon and Murphys Creek.

The floodwaters are expected to rush through Ipswich's Bremer River and into the Brisbane River tomorrow.

The crisis in Toowoomba began about 1pm yesterday as fierce waters raged through the city and down the Range.

Witnesses likened the disaster to a tsunami.

The river through Gatton rose 9m during the course of the day.

At least 26 people were pulled to safety from rooftops and last night three times that number were still awaiting rescue.

Through Toowoomba city and down to the Lockyer Valley, the torrent washed houses off their stumps and snapped 4m-high trees at the base of their trunks.

Video footage showed families scrambling desperately to get out of their cars as they were washed away in a sea of water.

Landslides and the wild water picked up cars and tossed them into trees, turning the vehicles some with people still inside into missiles.

People cowered on their roofs and pleaded to be rescued as the water engulfed homes.

At least one person is missing at Grantham, and five at Withcott, east of Toowoomba.

"We have unconfirmed reports out of Grantham that have us holding very grave fears for the safety of a number of people in the Grantham township," Ms Bligh said. "We believe we're looking for at least three young pedestrians and two vehicles that seem to have been washed away."

She said every possible asset had been deployed but bad weather had hampered efforts.

The Warrego Highway has been in a number of places which combined with cuts to Bruce Highway would create significant supply issues in to central and western Queensland, she said.

Outside Toowoomba, the Queensland flood crisis widened dramatically yesterday, with the town of Dalby ravaged by rising waters for the second time in 10 days with 300 homes set to be inundated.

Last night, heavy rain off the Sunshine Coast prompted further evacuations and another warning the system could head for the Toowoomba region.

Residents of Ipswich were warned the Bremer River could peak as high as 13m today.

In Brisbane, council warned 445 properties would be inundated as more water than ever before is released from Wivenhoe Dam and rain continues to fall on the already sodden region.

Late last night, more than 5600 homes were without power with the Lockyer Valley, Brisbane Valley and Gympie the worst affected areas.

In Toowoomba, the crisis began when West Creek running through the centre of the town burst its banks, followed by Murphys Creek, at the bottom of the Toowoomba range.

"It's like an atomic bomb hit this place, or it's like Cyclone Tracy," Lockyer Mayor Steve Jones said. "The intensity was impossible to explain."

Weather Bureau forecaster Ben Annells described water rises as "meteoric" and said the intensity and speed of the rainfall was at the heart of the crisis.

"The creeks and rivers around Toowoomba rose incredibly quickly because of the amount of rain that fell on the city between 1pm and 2pm," he said.

Emergency services desperately called on police to help with swift water rescues, with scores of people left trapped as the waters surged around them.

While authorities had focused their efforts on Gympie and Dalby where rivers slowly rose, no one was ready when disaster struck Toowoomba.

"It has just occurred, the heavens have just opened up," Deputy Police Commissioner Ian Stewart said.

James Street Motor Inn owner Troy Campbell said the flood happened "so quickly".

"Today just went from a normal wet day with heavy rain to a day of disaster here," he said.

"There was a lot of heavy rain here and then all of a sudden some light thunder and lightening and all hell broke loose."

Last night, it was believed a bridge in south Toowoomba had been destroyed by the raging water and a building had collapsed in the city centre, the Department of Community Safety said.

Hours after the deluge, rescue crews were still trying to reach pedestrians and motorists who had been swept away.

Toowoomba Regional Council Mayor Peter Taylor said people were "literally . . . swept off their feet."

The clean-up will continue today if the weather holds but many were already suffering from recent floods.

Yesterday marked the first day since 1999 that Toowoomba's three major dams were full.

The Old Bank Bed and Breakfast manager Judith Glenfield said her guests included a family that had to be pulled out of their home by rope yesterday.

Resident Greg Kowald, 54, said the city centre looked "like an alien planet" yesterday.

"The destruction is like from the Armageddon, (I) have never seen anything like it," he said. "Cars piled up in the air and jammed under bridges as they were smashed together."

Postmans Ridge resident Gary Schmidt was left trapped with his two-year-old daughter in his home after the collapse of a nearby bridge.

"The people who live over the road . . . two to three of their houses have washed away," Mr Schmidt said.

Fifteen-year-old Matthew Ferries was in a car with his parents around noon.

"We saw a lounge suite float out of Rowes Furniture and then all of a sudden the rest followed, just floating along in six-foot water.

"The building across the road also had water pouring out the window and when we came back the whole wall was gone.

"We then drove near Queens Park and cars were piled up on each other. They looked like Jatz biscuits, just all stacked up."

The head of Queensland's recovery taskforce Major-General Mick Slater was in Bundaberg yesterday.

- Anna Caldwell, James O'Loan, Anthony Templeton and Rikki-Lee Arnold

http://www.couriermail.com.au/news/toowoomba-and-lockyer-valley-flash-floods-claim-at-least-four-lives-leave-up-to-50-missing/story-e6freon6-1225985290369

The pictures on the videos at this link are especially heart breaking as we have driven through the streets of Toowoomba many times.

BTW Jatz biscuits are the equivalent of your water crackers.
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« Reply #977 on: January 10, 2011, 06:45:52 PM »

Brisbane flood alert as Wivenhoe threatens to spill over

    * Brian Williams
    * From: The Courier-Mail
    * January 11, 2011 12:00AM

A BODY of floodwater larger than Sydney Harbour threatens Brisbane, with only the Wivenhoe Dam's 2.3km-long earthen wall standing in its path.

Brisbane Lord Mayor Campbell Newman warned yesterday that more water was flowing into the dam than the Brisbane River had received in the 1974 floods.

The Brisbane City Council last night issued a warning for residents in more than 30 suburbs to expect flooding.

Wivenhoe was rising fast, but it had the potential to go past 200 per cent capacity before overflowing. Cr Newman said the dam was doing its job but could not fully protect the city because of the dimension of the floods.

Wivenhoe holds 1,728,590ML the most it has ever held and faces its greatest test as a city flood mitigation project since it was built after the 1974 floods.

The 1.45 million ML flood compartment is close to half full, with managers yesterday scrambling to increase releases from 116,000ML to 170,000ML a day as rain fell in its 7020sq km catchment. It also holds a further 1.17 million ML of drinking water supplies.

SEQ Water Grid spokesman Barry Dennien said Wivenhoe peak inflows had hit 1,032,000ML per day. Somerset Dam inflows were about 360,000ML per day.

"Considering Wivenhoe's flood storage compartment holds 1.45 million megalitres, at this rate the compartment could fill within 1.5 days," Mr Dennien said.

Peak flows varied depending on rainfall but releases under way will provide relief from the inflows.

Under conservative operating rules set by State Parliament, managers must empty the flood compartment within seven days to prevent a second flood.

Cr Newman warned property owners along the Brisbane River and suburban creeks of the potential for increased flooding over the next fortnight.

The combination of heavy rain, dam releases and higher than usual tides meant the river could rise significantly. The biggest impacts could be felt tomorrow and particularly Friday week (January 21) due to a king tide.

"This is currently the projected worst-case scenario for the next few days, and I hope it doesn't happen, but people need to be forewarned so they can prepare themselves for flooding," he said.

 The 30 suburbs set to experience flooding tomorrow are: Albion, Auchenflower, Bowen Hills, Brisbane City, Bulimba, Chelmer, Coorparoo, East Brisbane, Fairfield, Fig Tree Pocket, Fortitude Valley, Graceville, Hemmant, Indooroopilly, Kangaroo Point, Lytton, Milton, Moggill, Murarrie, New Farm, Newstead, Norman Park, Oxley, Pinkenba, Rocklea, Sherwood, South Brisbane, Tennyson, Yeronga, Yerongpilly, Windsor and Wacol.

Council has asked residents in flood-prone areas to collect sandbags from the following locations: Darra Works Depot, Shamrock Rd, Darra; Morningside Works Depot, Redfern Street, Morningside; Newmarket SES Depot, Wilston Rd, Newmarket and Zillmere Works Depot, Jennings Street, Zillmere.

http://www.couriermail.com.au/news/queensland/brisbane-flood-alert-as-wivenhoe-threatens-to-spill-over/story-e6freoof-1225985251560

For those checking the map at this link - you will find the main city area of Brisbane marked CBD a little to the right of the bottom of the inset picture of the dam. Follow Toowong - Milton -CBD.
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« Reply #978 on: January 10, 2011, 11:42:35 PM »

CBD, suburbs evacuate as police warn floodwaters greater than 1974 set to hit Brisbane and southeast

    * Brian Williams
    * From: The Courier-Mail
    * January 11, 2011 2:27PM

OFFICE workers are streaming out of Brisbane's CBD as the Brisbane River breaks its banks with floods greater than 1974 expected to hit the southeast.

Flood waters are heading towards Brisbane, with residents warned to prepare for a major flood as office workers and shoppers leave the CBD.

There have been no forced evacuations in Brisbane, although the flood situation is rapidly worsening.

Traffic is building up in and around Brisbane as people try to get home in the ongoing rain.

The Myer Centre in Brisbane's CBD has been evacuated and will close its doors due to possible flooding.

Police are urging residents in Red Hill to take care after reports of rocks falling on the roof of the Catholic Church in Musgrave Rd.

Traffic is streaming out of the city as office blocks in Eagle and Wharf streets and restaurants along South Bank are evacuated. Congestion is heavy along Coronation Drive.

Car parks in Brisbane's CBD have opened their boom gates and advised people to get their cars out.

Queensland's largest hospital, the Royal Brisbane and Women's Hospital, has cancelled all elective surgery and specialist outpatient appointments because of the floods crisis.

Elective surgery and specialist outpatients' appointments have also been cancelled at Caboolture, Toowoomba, Ipswich, Oakey and Nambour.

Caboolture, north of Brisbane, is now isolated by floodwaters and police have told all residents in low-lying areas to immediately move to higher ground.

Police have told residents in low-lying areas of Strathpine and Caboolture to evacuate immediately.

``The flood levels are expected to be greater than the 1974 floods. Do not stay in your homes please leave immediately,'' the police alert said. ``Cars should be moved from low-lying areas.''

Inner-Brisbane suburbs New Farm, West End, Fortitude Valley and Bowen Hills are now being evacuated.

The Brisbane River has broken its banks at West End. Rivers and creeks throughout the region are still rising.

Laidley residents have been told to get out as rapidly rising water threatens the Lockyer Valley community west of Brisbane.

Water is rising quickly and properties are being inundated, posing an immediate danger to residents.

Emergency services have told people to leave their homes and move to either Laidley Hospital or Laidley Works Depot, Frome St, Laidley.

Evacuations are now being made int he suburbs of Forrest Hill, Laidley, West End, Strathpine, Caboolture, Toogoolawah and Esk.

The Ipswich City Council is now opening evacuation centres.

Bribie Island is also isolated, with all roads in and out cut off, whille there are reports of landslides at Dayboro and Mt Nebo.

Places facing floods include Ipswich, Moggill, Jindalee, West End, Caboolture, Pine Rivers, Amberley, Walloon, Rosewood, Kalbar, Boonah, Kilcoy and Aratula and through a wide arc south including Stanthorpe and NSW border areas.

Weather Bureau forecaster Peter Baddiley warned of fast river and creek rises west of Brisbane as flood waters from the Lockyer Valley and surrounding catchments move east.

This will impact the Brisbane and Bremer rivers and Lockyer and Warrill and Laidley creeks.

Mr Baddiley described floods in Toowoomba and the Lockyer Valley as shocking.

He said low lying area near creeks and rivers faced fast river rises as water moved from those regions into the Brisbane area.

``We've got a continuing high but narrow rainfall band and are warning residents to move away ... to higher ground,'' he said.

``We're not talking flash floods here (like Toowoomba). This will be over a slower time scale and the river will continue to rise for several days.''

Rapid rises are being recorded along Tenthill Creek in the Lockyer, with the main flood waters at Lyons Bridge. Levels above 17m are forecast.

Flows from the Bremer and Lockyer catchments combined with releases from Wivenhoe dam will increase levels in Brisbane today.

At the Brisbane city gauge, minor flood levels of about 2.1 metres are expected
with the afternoon high tide and moderate flood levels of 2.6 metres with the overnight high tide.

Rises to 3.5 metres (major) are expected on Wednesday afternoon, with higher levels likely on Thursday.

The Moggill reach of the river will rise to at least 15 metres (moderate) Wednesday and 9 metres at Jindalee.

Police are advising people near the Brisbane River at West End to move to higher ground.

""The Brisbane River has risen and we are starting to see the water enter streets in the low lying areas of West End." a police spokesman said.

Bureau of Meteorology spokesman Brett Harrison says tomorrow's high tide is likely to push the Brisbane River level to three metres.

Lord Mayor Campbell Newman says the flood threat is real and residents should heed the warning.

The Bremer River at Ipswich, west of Brisbane, is expected to peak at midday.

Several homes at Karalee are expected to be inundated but Ipswich Mayor Paul Pisasale says the city's central business district should not be affected.

 This comes after Cr Newman warned yesterday that more water was flowing into the Wivenhoe Dam than the Brisbane River had received in the 1974 floods.

Queensland Premier Anna Bligh says more water will be released from Wivenhoe Dam today to try and reduce the flood threat.

"The releases being made from Wivenhoe Dam are not optional," she said.

The Brisbane City Council last night issued a warning for residents in more than 30 suburbs to expect flooding.

The 30 suburbs set to experience flooding tomorrow are: Albion, Auchenflower, Bowen Hills, Brisbane City, Bulimba, Chelmer, Coorparoo, East Brisbane, Fairfield, Fig Tree Pocket, Fortitude Valley, Graceville, Hemmant, Indooroopilly, Kangaroo Point, Lytton, Milton, Moggill, Murarrie, New Farm, Newstead, Norman Park, Oxley, Pinkenba, Rocklea, Sherwood, South Brisbane, Tennyson, Yeronga, Yerongpilly, Windsor and Wacol.

Council has asked residents in flood-prone areas to collect sandbags from the following locations: Darra Works Depot, Shamrock Rd, Darra; Morningside Works Depot, Redfern Street, Morningside; Newmarket SES Depot, Wilston Rd, Newmarket and Zillmere Works Depot, Jennings Street, Zillmere.

A telephone hotline - 1300 993 191 - has been set up for people seeking information on friends and relatives caught up in the flooding disaster.

http://www.couriermail.com.au/news/brisbane-flood-alert-as-wivenhoe-threatens-to-spill-over/story-e6freon6-1225985251560
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« Reply #979 on: January 11, 2011, 02:28:35 AM »

Tibro...The devastation is unbelievable. My heart and prayers are with all the effected people.
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