Teen missing in Qld floods, north on alert

Marty Silk |

A teenage girl is still missing more than 24 hours after she disappeared in floodwaters, after torrential rainfall from a former tropical cyclone was dumped on the Wide Bay region.

Police have resumed the search for the 14-year-old, who was washed away in a car with a 40-year-old man near Booubyjan, near Gympie, in the early hours of Saturday.

More than 38 people have been rescued since tropical cyclone Seth crossed the coast on Friday and dumped more than 600mm of rain on some parts of the Mary River catchment on Saturday.

The river is set to peak in the regional centres of Gympie and Maryborough on Sunday with Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk convening the Queensland Disaster Management Committee to respond.

The girl and the man both managed to get out of the car before it was swept away near the Burnett Highway, but only the man has been found clinging to a tree.

A 22-year-old Sunshine Coast man was found dead inside his submerged ute earlier on Saturday morning after it was swept into a torrent on Friday night.

The Bureau of Meteorology warned that floodwaters could rise to 14m at Gympie, two metres above a moderate flood level, on Sunday.

Downstream at Maryborough a major peak of 10.5m is expected, 20cm below a record flood peak in 2013 when rain dumped by former tropical cyclone Oswald submerged much of the Wide Bay region.

“River levels are high and widespread moderate to major flooding is occurring across the Mary River catchment,” the BoM said in a statement on Sunday.

Meanwhile, the coast of far Queensland from Cape Grenville to Cape Tribulation is on cyclone watch with a tropical low active in the Coral Sea.

The forecaster said the slow-moving system is currently packing sustained winds of 55km/h with gusts of up to 85km/h about 365km northeast of Cooktown.

The low is expected to start moving towards the coast later today with the possibility it could form into a category one cyclone in the early hours of Tuesday morning.

The BoM said it could bring gales with gusts of up to 100km/h, abnormally high tides, large waves and heavy rain between the settlements of Lockhardt River and Cooktown.

There’s also a risk the system could further intensify once is passes over Cape York and enters the Gulf of Carpentaria.