Queenslanders have been warned to expect heavy falls and flash flooding over the weekend with widespread rain to persist across the already sodden south-east and central coast.
Intense rain from a damaging low-pressure trough drenched the south-east on Friday with some falls of 160mm in six hours.
Residents were forced to evacuate their homes as flooding hit areas around Laidley, Gatton and Grantham in the Lockyer Valley, west of Brisbane, to the south around Beaudesert and in Warwick, Cecil Plains, Millmerran and Killarney on the Southern Downs.
About 300 homes have been affected in Laidley, where the Lockyer River surged through the town’s main street.
Major flood warnings are in place for the Condamine, Logan and Bremer rivers and Warrill, Laidley and Lockyer creeks.
The border town of Goondiwindi is also bracing for potential flooding after heavy rainfall across the Border rivers catchment.
Bureau of Meteorology (BOM) senior forecaster Laura Boekel warned the intense rain was expected to continue throughout Saturday.
More than 700 roads were cut or affected by flood waters on Friday including the Bruce Highway near Gin Gin, with Queensland Fire and Emergency Services conducting 20 flood rescues in 24 hours.
Authorities warned on Saturday not to travel to Gympie, located on the Mary River, as major roads have been cut by floods. Residents are bracing for flood waters to inundate the city area.
The premier, Annastacia Palaszczuk, said while the rain was not as intense as downpours that caused catastrophic floods in February, the system was expected to linger into Saturday.
“Please don’t be anxious,” she said. “The key thing is to be listening to the alerts and we’ll be keeping everybody updated as much as possible.”
Deputy police commissioner Steve Gollschewski urged people to stay connected and listen to warnings and avoid driving into flood water.
“We have lost far too many lives on our roads this year and in previous events,” Gollschewski said.
A powerful easterly swell and strong onshore winds have whipped up four-metre waves with the BOM warning of dangerous surf conditions and possible coastal erosion between Fraser Island and the NSW border.
The unseasonal deluge is Queensland’s sixth deadly flood since December, which scientists have put down to a second La Nina weather pattern in two years.