North QLD Flood Emergency Rolls On
Flood waters are still rising in north Queensland with roads cut, schools closed and authorities looking to fly supplies into isolated communities.
Communities between Cairns and Townsville have been swamped by 200-250mm of rain over the past 24 hours, and Ingham, north of Townsville, is braced for what could be its worst flood since 2009.
The latest deluge comes on top of days of heavy rainfall that's left the ground sodden, and rivers swollen.
At least 14 schools and one child care centre in north and far north Queensland will remain closed on Friday.
Extra swift water rescue crews have been sent to the region and authorities are planning to deliver supplies to towns that lost road access some days ago.
Ingham has already been cut in two by water, with the Herbert River yet to peak.
Authorities say it could go higher than the town's last major flood in 2009.
Hinchinbrook Shire Council Mayor Ramon Jayo has warned residents the town could be cut off for some days, and they must take their safety seriously.
Ingham school kids were sent home early on Thursday, as locals stripped supermarket shelves of essential supplies.
QUEENSLAND FLOODS: Farmers are rejoicing in north Queensland as record rainfall brings long-awaited relief to drought-stricken areas, but the deluge has left some of the wildlife slightly confused. #TenNews pic.twitter.com/ur3yRHdR8J— TEN Eyewitness News (@channeltennews) March 5, 2018
Flood waters have crept across suburban streets and into backyards, lapping at the front steps of homes.
"I had a look out the window at about four o'clock and there was nothing in the yard that I could see," Ingham resident Felix Scerri told the ABC.
"I've just woken up in the last few minutes and there is water everywhere I can see."
Two extra swift-water rescue crews have been sent to Ingham.
If the river reaches its predicted height, beyond 14 metres, properties will flood, Emergency Services Minister Craig Crawford has warned.
Flooding has cut the Bruce Highway at Ingham.
Major flood warnings remain in place for the Herbert, Tully, Murray, North Johnstone, Mulgrave, Russell and Flinders rivers. Moderate and minor flood warnings are in place for many other rivers in the region.
Authorities are pleading with motorists not to cross flooded roads.
On Thursday a Cairns tradie staged a heroic rescue of a motorist caught in a car that was floating away on the Gillies Highway.
Electrician Sam Greenwood dived into the water and swam to the vehicle, finding a man inside struggling to keep his head above the water.
"He was sort of just breathing up near where your visor is, he had his head up there," Mr Greenwood told The Cairns Post.
When he couldn't get into the car, Mr Greenwood swam back to his own car, grabbed an axe and returned to smash the window and free the man, who was aged in his 60s.
"When I was smashing the window, I was sort of scared that he was going to go under, because he was on the opposite side of the car," Mr Greenwood said.