Queensland, January 2012

Flood - Queensland

Quick Statistics

1 Fatalities
$125 million Insurance Costs

From 24 January 2012, south-east Queensland experienced very high rainfall across the region with totals up to 200 mm recorded in a 24 hour period.  Floods occurred in some areas and homes were evacuated, power outages occurred and several roads were closed.

The State Emergency Service (SES) received approximately 500 requests for assistance between midnight and 4 pm across south-east Queensland. The SES efforts focused on the north side of Brisbane, in Boondall, Zillmere, Herston and Aspley. Most requests for assistance were for minor damage to properties and general storm damage.
On 24 January, evacuation centres were opened at Narangba and Deception Bay, north of Brisbane. Twelve homes were evacuated as a precaution at Burpengary, north of Brisbane, and another dozen homes were flooded further north on the Sunshine Coast. Power was cut to approximately 9500 homes and businesses across the south-east. Upper Springbrook recorded some of the heaviest rain falls, with 193 mm in the 12 hours to 6 am. Lower Springbrook recorded 173 mm, Upper Tallebudgera 142 mm and 127 mm at Mt Tamborine. Brisbane city and suburbs had between 80 and 120 mm of rain and Caloundra on the Sunshine Coast recorded 271 mm in just ten hours.

Thirteen dams across south-east Queensland began spilling water to cope with the deluge, which included 220 mm falls over 30 hours in some parts.

The State Emergency Services received more than 650 calls for assistance on the morning of 27 January.

On 3 February, a state of emergency was declared in Mitchell and approximately a quarter of the population was evacuated. The Queensland Government requested assistance from the Australian Defence Force to provide aerial support and aid evacuations. The Maranoa River reached 9.85 m, breaking its 1956 record peak of 9.26 m. Almost half the population took refuge in a sports complex and when the flood threatened to isolate the complex, helicopters were sent in to air-lift people to safety.

By 4 February, the Warrego River in Charleville reached 7.7 m and over 280 homes were inundated when floodwaters in Roma peaked at 8.35 m. Approximately 50 per cent of homes experienced some form of inundation. More than 700 homes or businesses in the region needed assistance, and more than 440 were damaged with approximately 288 properties affected in Mitchell and 290 affected in Roma. One hundred and twenty Australian Defence Force soldiers assisted with the clean up in these regions.

On 5 February, mandatory evacuations were ordered for St George after it was predicted the Balonne River would peak at up to 15 m. With more than 2600 people from a population of 3000 evacuated, it was Queensland’s largest evacuation in history. The Balonne River in St George passed its previous record of 13.48 m, peaking at 13.93 m, but the township remained protected by its 14.5 m levee with damage restricted to the 50 homes. St George also faced pollution problems as floodwaters damaged the local sewerage treatment plant, posing a major public health risk.

At the beginning of March, a category 1 cyclone off the south-east coast caused further flooding and six evacuation centres were opened across the coast to assist evacuated and displaced people.

One person died on 5 March after being swept away by waters near Gympie, north of Brisbane.

The National Disaster Relief and Recovery Arrangements (NDRRA) identified 22 local government areas as natural disaster zones. The Australian Government Disaster Recovery Payments totalled approximately $12,615,200.

The Insurance Council of Australia estimated the preliminary 2012 damage at $124.7 million.


Information Sources

AAP, ‘Queensland hit by heavy storms’, 24 January 2012, website viewed 25 January 2012
ABC News, Various articles, 25 January – 11 February 2012, websites viewed January and February 2012
Bureau of Meteorology, ‘National warnings summary’, 31 January 2012, website viewed 1 February 2012
Emergency Management Queensland, Update on Flooding in south-west Queensland, 3 February 2012, website viewed 3 February 2012
Insurance Council of Australia, Historical disaster statistics, March 2012, website viewed 17 April 2012
Insurance News, ‘Too early to tell costs of latest Queensland floods’, 6 February 2012, website viewed 7 February 2012
State Emergency Services, Natural disaster extended to Gunnedah, 3 February 2012, website viewed 3 February 2012
Sydney Morning Herald, ‘Anxious wait for northern towns as heavens overload rivers’, 25 January 2012, website viewed 25 January 2012
Sydney Morning Herald, ‘South-east Queensland braces for more rain’, 24 January 2012, website viewed 25 January 2012
The Age, ‘Walwa evacuated as flood water rises’, 5 March 2012, website viewed 6 March 2012
The Australian, ‘Boy feared drowned as freak weather lashes eastern states’, 25 January 2012, website viewed 25 January 2012
The Australian, ‘Cyclone brews as waters turn deadly’, 6 March 2012, website viewed 6 March 2012
The Australian, ‘Mass evacuations as big wet turns to lethal threat’, 4 February 2012, website viewed 6 February 2012
The Canberra Times, ‘More rain coming, flash flood warnings’, 9 February 2012, website viewed 14 February 2012
The Courier Mail, ‘St George set to dodge flood bullet as Balonne River peaks lower than expected’, 7 February 2012
The Daily Telegraph, ‘Severe storm alert for flood-hit towns’, 7 February 2012, website viewed 8 February 2012