Cow Swept Out To Sea, Tractors Washed Away In Wild Townsville Floods
Shipping containers have been washed away and animals are missing, as wild weather and rising floodwaters hits north Queensland.
Two people and a dog are among those reportedly trapped in houses at Bluewater, near Townsville, after more than 200mm of rain fell in three hours on Wednesday morning.
In a local Facebook group, residents are offering assistance, asking for help, and running an online 'lost and found' section as possessions go missing amid rising waters.
One resident pleaded for people to look out for a shipping container that had been washed out of her yard, others reported seeing a tractor and quad bike floating in the floodwater, and one person even said they had rescued a cow which had been swept out into the ocean.
"If anyone needs a hand cleaning up I can send my wife," one man wrote.
Other people are offering their homes as refuges for those who can't access their own houses, while some are asking for help to check on pets and possessions.
"The shed down the back's gone, my ute's gone, my ute's gone under the house," one man said in a video posted by ABC Brisbane.
Bluewater Community Centre treasurer Darla Astill says the local creek has burst its banks along Forestry Road after torrential rain.
"A few of the locals stuck at home have rung me and one lady said she'd seen a tractor floating down the creek," she told AAP.
"They've all been inundated with water and one lady said the neighbours car had been carried off in the water and she lost her shed."
Power has been cut to the area and Bluewater State School has been evacuated.
"We are encouraging parents where possible to collect students. However parents are to take extreme caution when travelling to school," a message on the school's Facebook page said.
"There is significant water on the highway and possible closure shortly. Staff will remain with students until all students have departed the school."
Local resident Darren Thompson posted before and after shots to the Bluewater News community Facebook page.
"This is crazy. Stay safe everyone," he said.
The slow-moving monsoonal trough had already drenched the area, with more than 300 mm of rain in some areas between Cardwell and Mackay in the past 24 hours.
Josh Holt, Channel 10's weather expert, said some areas were inundated with over 270 mm of rain in a four hour period between 9am and 1pm on Tuesday.
Most towns in the region received between 100 to 200mm, with flash flooding cutting the Bruce Highway and local roads in numerous places.
The floodwaters also cut off a group of campers near Townsville, who had to be rescued with a mustering helicopter from Charters Towers.
The Bureau of Meteorology has warned the wet weather will hang around for at least another week.
Holt told 10 daily that while the monsoonal trough is "near stationary at present", it is expected to move further north on Thursday.
"A huge burst of monsoonal rain is expected over Townsville, Cairns and the Daintree. The Daintree experienced its worst flooding in over 100 years this week," he said.
Meteorologist Harry Clark said heavy falls during the wet season were common in the state's far north, but that this weather system was particularly persistent.
"This is on the high end an event in terms of the totals and persistent nature, and the fact it's already quite saturated increases the risk of flash flooding," he told AAP on Wednesday.
The BOM has re-issued a flood watch for numerous catchments in the Herbert area up to Cairns.
Holt said the conditions predicted for the next week will be "extremely dangerous" as the monsoonal trough hangs around.
"There is 400-500mm of rain expected on top of the already saturated catchments," he said.
While the north of the state gets a soaking, parts of the southeast corner haven't seen much rain since mid-December.
Clark said Brisbane and Coolangatta will have baked through the driest January on record if no rain hits the gauges before the weekend.
Dalby also looks set to record its driest January since 1870 if no rain falls there.
Feature image: Bluewater News Facebook page