6 Feb 2012

Authorities crossing fingers levee will hold

2:02 pm on 6 February 2012

Authorities in the Australian state of Queensland have revised down the predicted peak for a record-breaking flood in the town of St George as emergency crews scramble to build up dirt levees.

The swollen Balonne River is rising quickly and there were fears its peak could exceed 15 metres on Monday. However, St George mayor Donna Stewart says that has since been revised down to 14.5 metres, the ABC reports.

Ms Stewart says the town's levee is about 14.7 metres and should hold, but more than 30 homes outside the levee are already inundated.

An 18-month-old child drowned in a dam on a property outside of St George overnight on Sunday but police say the death was not related to the floods.

Residents were ordered out of St George on Sunday afternoon in the largest evacuation in Queensland's history.

About 400 people defied the order and police were door-knocking on Monday urging those still in the town to take up the offer of air evacuation.