Flood clean-up begins but another cyclone may loom

Laine Clark, Keira Jenkins and Savannah Meacham |

Qld authorities hope to assess the full extent of damage caused by widespread flooding.
Qld authorities hope to assess the full extent of damage caused by widespread flooding.

Yet another tropical cyclone may be brewing off Queensland’s coast barely a week after a severe weather system lashed the state’s north.

Six days after Cyclone Kirrily made landfall near Townsville, all 66,000 homes that lost power finally had electricity fully restored on Wednesday, 

The focus of recovery efforts has switched to the southeast where hundreds of homes were inundated by floodwaters in the aftermath.

Roads were cut, schools closed, thousands lost power and hospitals were affected after heavy rain and thunderstorms swept through the southeast on Tuesday.

The full extent of damage may soon be revealed with disaster assessments underway across Brisbane’s north as rain finally eased.

However there may be more heavy showers to come after a low formed 250km off the southeast coast on Wednesday.

It is expected to drift northeast into the Coral Sea over the coming days and is a low chance of intensifying into a cyclone early next week.

The Bureau of Meteorology said one model suggested it could form a cyclone by Tuesday night and drift back towards the coast.

Madeleine Higgs at her flood damaged property in Bray Park
Around 400 homes in the Brisbane suburb of Bray Park are flood damaged. (Darren England/AAP PHOTOS)

“If it does, whether it is a tropical low or a tropical cyclone, it could bring heavy rainfall back to Queensland’s east coast late next week,” a bureau spokesman told AAP.

It would mark the third cyclone to threaten the state this season after Jasper impacted the far north barely a month before Kirrily hit the coast.

Former tropical cyclone Kirrily is still lingering in the state’s northwest, causing widespread flooding, with possibly more severe weather on the way.

“Usually you get one tropical cyclone and that would be it for a few weeks at least,” the bureau spokesman said.

“So it’s unusual for ex-Kirrily to be hanging around this long and then there’s the other potential system of interest.

“It may not be until the second half of February before things start to calm down – there is likely another couple of weeks of possible enhanced tropical activity.” 

Ex-Kirrily is near Mount Isa and set to slowly track towards the Gulf of Carpentaria.

It is a “very low” chance of intensifying into a cyclone again in the Gulf.

Flood damaged properties in the Brisbane suburb of Bray Park
Hardship payments are available for flood-hit Bray Park residents with more suburbs to follow. (Darren England/AAP PHOTOS)

It is most likely set to drift back south from Friday and move down through western Queensland, bringing heavy rainfall.

The forecast is dry for now in the flood-hit southeast as it enters recovery mode.

The Moreton Bay area was one of the hardest hit with 399 flood affected homes at Bray Park alone.

Evacuation centres were set up and the SES received 300 calls for help after more than 200mm fell at Bray Park and 300mm was recorded at nearby Samford.

Flooding even affected Caboolture hospital but it was back to full capacity on Wednesday.

Hardship payments have been activated for Bray Park residents with more suburbs set to be announced as damage assessments gather momentum.

Federal Emergency Management Minister Murray Watt said there had been no state government request yet for Australian Defence Force help for the southeast clean-up.

Further west the Lockyer Valley and Western Downs regions were also assessing flood damage after about 30 people were rescued at Warra and Dalby.

The Western Downs had been devastated by a bushfire that claimed a life and destroyed 58 homes just months ago.

“Be it fires, floods or droughts … our community can rise above it,” Western Downs Mayor Paul McVeigh told AAP.

AAP