Dangerous weather system causes flash flooding across Queensland and NSW

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The Bureau of Meteorology (BoM) has warned that we are not at the end of the wet weather.

It comes after Upper Springbrook in the Gold Coast hinterland recorded 309mm overnight, while Clagiraba was drenched with 292mm. Of this, 104 mm fell in just one hour.

A packed campsite in Helensvale began flooding in the late hours of last night, prompting a frantic evacuation.
A packed campsite in Helensvale began flooding in the late hours of last night, prompting a frantic evacuation. (Today)

The heavy rain prompted a desperate midnight evacuation of a campsite nearby at Helensvale.

In the middle of the night the water began to rise, fast rising family vacations.

This morning the square is completely under water.

Tents were swallowed by muddy brown water at the Gold Coast site.
Tents were swallowed by muddy brown water at the Gold Coast site. (Today)
A witness camping ahead of the school holidays said they were knee-deep in water within minutes.
A witness camping ahead of the school holidays said they were knee-deep in water within minutes. (Today)

A witness said so Today there was absolutely no warning.

“We had no idea,” he said.

“I was already awake and my sister just yelled at me to get up. I got up and thought ‘it’s probably not that bad’ and within 20 minutes, well, the water was going through our tent.

“We were on our knees within minutes

“It was chaos…just panic, dozens trying to get out at once.

Similar scenes have played out across NSW overnight, with northern parts of the state receiving over 200mm in a matter of hours.

Three people rescued by police officer from car stuck in floods in NSW Hunter region.
Three people were rescued by a police officer after their car got stuck in floodwaters in NSW’s Hunter region. (NSW Police)

The NSW SES said they have carried out 14 flood control operations in the past 24 hours, up to 10am. 06.00 today.

Across the country, there were 193 requests for assistance.

While the rain is set to ease today, authorities warned that the risk of flooding would continue in the coming days.

“The system that brought the intense thunderstorms last night is just hanging off the Gold Coast right now. We could still have a bit more rainfall activity in the morning,” senior bureau forecaster Dean Narramore said.

“We still expect widespread showers across the NSW coast and southeast Queensland today and again tomorrow before finally clearing on Sunday.”

“Unfortunately, another weather event is moving into eastern Australia by the middle of next week.”

Nearly two dozen flood warnings are currently in place for raised watersheds across the state.

And the already devastated town of Lismore is on edge after the Bureau of Meteorology (BoM) issued a moderate flood warning for the River Tweed.

If the levee breaks, the city will face its third flood of the year.

The river level at Tumbulgum may reach the moderate flood level of 1.80m around 10:00 on Friday.

Only the start of a ‘very long’ season

NSW Emergency Services Minister Steph Cooke said yesterday the deluge was the start of a flood season expected to stretch through the spring and summer.

The rain radar over northern NSW.
The rain radar over northern NSW. (Bureau of Meteorology)

“We are facing challenges on multiple fronts with prolonged flooding across western and north-western NSW, renewed river rises in central western and southern NSW,” she said.

“Communities in the Northern Rivers, Mid North Coast and North Coast, who have been fed up with flooding over the past several months, face an uncertain few days of worsening weather conditions.

“We’re at the start of a very long season, we expect, this is the third La Nina in a row and as we’ve seen all year, our catchments and landscapes are very saturated.

“This increases the risk of flooding and water coming up very, very quickly and catching people unaware.”

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