2 Apr 2017

Cyclone Debbie: More deaths as clean-up continues

7:42 am on 2 April 2017

A 77-year-old man who had been missing from Eagleby, south of Brisbane, is the third to be confirmed dead from the cyclone which has caused severe flooding across Australia's east coast.

Logan River, near Logan city south of Brisbane, remained heavily flooded on Saturday after peaking at 15m on Friday in the worst flooding in the city's history.

Logan River, near Logan city south of Brisbane, remained heavily flooded on Saturday after peaking at 15m on Friday in the worst flooding in the city's history. Photo: AFP

Emergency crews found the body of missing man Nelson Raebel in floodwaters about 3.50pm yesterday, not far from where he was seen last seen on Friday at Eagleby Road.

The body of a 44-year-old man was also found at a caravan park in flood-affected South Murwillumbah yesterday, but police would not confirm if the death was flood-related.

Earlier, the body of a woman who had been reported missing at Burringbar, south of Murwillumbah in NSW, was discovered at a flood-affected property on Friday morning and another woman's body was found trapped in her car after it was swept off a bridge into a river outside Gungal.

The mayor of Logan, to the south of Brisbane, declared the flooding to be the worst in the area's history, as residents in some low-lying areas were told to consider leaving their homes as the flooding continued.

Mayor Luke Smith said 250 homes across Logan would experience inundation, adding that the waters were expected to stay elevated for another 24 to 48 hours and still posed a serious threat.

The Logan river was nearing a peak of 10.3m at Waterford on Saturday night after reaching more than 15m at Beaudesert on Friday.

At the height of the wild weather, more than 700 powerlines were knocked out in Queensland's south-east, leaving more than 160,000 properties blacked out. There were still about 12,500 without power last night, mostly on the Sunshine Coast.

NSW braces for continued flooding

The towns of Chinderah and Kingscliff in northern NSW continued to deal with major flooding on Saturday following cyclone Debbie.

The towns of Chinderah and Kingscliff in northern NSW continued to deal with major flooding on Saturday following cyclone Debbie. Photo: AFP

More than 30,000 people remain under flood evacuation orders on the NSW far north coast.

NSW Premier Gladys Berejikilian urged residents bracing for further devastation in flood-affected areas to heed SES warnings.

Ms Berejikilian said she was "anxious" to get to flood-affected areas in the state's north on Monday, but urged residents not to return to their homes until directed.

"It's not safe to ask anybody to return to their homes," she said.

NSW SES Commissioner Mark Smethurst said emergency services had been "flat out" with more than 400 rescues in the flood-affected areas.

"Most of those flood rescues were from people trapped in their own buildings who did not heed the warnings when they were told to evacuate," he said.

"It's been a real problem up here, and certainly a concern to all the emergency services that have been working together."

Rain abates

Logan River, near Logan city south of Brisbane, remained heavily flooded on Saturday after peaking at 15m on Friday in the worst flooding in the city's history.

Kayakers paddle on the flooded Logan River flowing over the Mt Lindesay Highway in Waterford West near Brisbane. Photo: AFP

While the danger from flood waters continues, the Bureau of Meteorology's Jake Phillips said the rain was abating.

"I think the heaviest falls we may see tomorrow [Sunday] is a few spots along the coastal fringes, mostly in the order of 5-10 millimetres and now it's just a matter of cleaning up after the floods."

The main areas affected in New South Wales have been around Murwillumbah and in Lismore, where flooding broke the previous records of 2001 and 2005.

Wilsons River at Lismore peaked at about 11.6m about midday on Friday and, according to the Bureau of Meteorology, was still at about 8.9m with moderate flooding at 10pm on Saturday.

The towns of Wyrallah and Coraki on the Richmond-Wilson river system have now experienced peak flood waters, with the danger moving south to Woodburn.

The Richmond River has risen nearly four metres at Woodburn, with water levels expected to peak overnight.

Flooding predicted to worsen in central Queensland

Flooding to a small town just north of Bowen in Queensland following cyclone Debbie.

Flooding to a small town just north of Bowen in Queensland following cyclone Debbie. Photo: AFP PHOTO / AUSTRALIAN DEPARTMENT OF DEFENCE

The Fitzroy river near Rockhampton in central Queensland is predicted to peak at 9.4m on Wednesday, in what could be the city's worst flooding since 1954.

Authorities expected up to 3000 homes and 1500 businesses to be affected, and residents were warned to spend the next few days preparing.

Further north, cyclone-affected residents in Bowen and Airlie Beach were told to boil their tap water before drinking it, as it could contain bacteria, while the clean-up continued.

The army was expected to move on from some towns in the Whitsundays region, after arriving to help with cyclone recovery efforts two days ago.

About 270 soldiers from Townsville's 3rd Brigade were helping clear debris and distributed more than 20,000 litres of drinking water in towns, including Airlie Beach.

Ergon Energy said about 37,000 customers were still without power in the region.

- ABC

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