Flood-ravaged communities face fresh cyclone threat as Victoria’s flood threat shifts

Flood rescue

Flood ravaged far north Queensland may be in the path of another cyclone threat, just weeks after wild weather lashed the region.

Help is still arriving for the far north after record flooding caused by Tropical Cyclone Jasper, with a $24 million tourism recovery and resilience program unveiled on Wednesday.

The cyclone warning comes as Victorian communities remain under threat from floodwaters with more homes expected to be inundated.

Prime Minister Anthony Albanese and Queensland Premier Steven Miles were in Cairns to announce the additional funding that will further support local tourism, clean-up efforts and invest in specialised recovery staff.

“This beautiful place has been ravaged by this disaster, and we want to help far north Queensland get back on its feet as soon as possible,” Mr Albanese said.

But more heavy downpours are set to hit the far north with a monsoon trough expected to develop in the Gulf of Carpentaria and turn into a tropical low by Friday.

“From Sunday there is a low chance of … (the tropical low) strengthening into a tropical cyclone,” the Bureau of Meteorology said on its website.

The chance of a cyclone forming depends on the movement of another system west of Darwin called 03U.

“If the other one (03U) doesn’t develop into a tropical cyclone then there is a slightly increased risk the other one in the Gulf (will develop), given there will be more energy in the trough system,” a bureau spokesman told AAP.

Even if it does not form into a cyclone, a tropical low in the Gulf will bring heavy rain to far north regions already reeling from devastating flooding after Jasper hit less than a month ago.

“Along coastal parts of the Gulf daily falls of 100mm to 200mm wouldn’t be out of the question,” the bureau spokesman said.

The far north is still recovering from December’s record downpours, with Mr Albanese and the premier flying over the flood-hit Cape Tribulation on Tuesday.

The Prime Minister pledged Australian Defence Force support for the devastated area before Wednesday’s funding announcement.

As part of the $24.25 million package, grants will be available for far north tourism operators hit hard by the disaster.

It will also fund a marketing campaign to attract more visitors back to the region.

Three cyclone resilience officers will be appointed to work with local industries, councils and farmers to support the recovery.

Recovery project managers will also be assigned to the worst hit areas, Wujal Wujal and Douglas Shire councils north of Cairns.

The Prime Minister and Miles on Tuesday unveiled a $20 million disaster relief package for the state’s southeast which was hit hard by storms over the Christmas-New Year period.

Overall more than $50 million is expected for Queensland’s storm and cyclone recovery effort.

Queensland’s southeast may once again be struck by severe storms as it rebuilds.

A major recovery effort that may take years to complete is under way after seven people died in storm-related incidents with Scenic Rim, Logan and the Gold Coast the worst hit in the southeast.

The Bureau of Meteorology has warned Scenic Rim could be in for another drenching on Wednesday.

Victorian threat

Victoria is poised to remain mostly dry on Wednesday with the flood threat now at Murchison and Shepparton, and later in Echuca.

A watch and act alert is in place along the Goulburn River from the Victorian towns of Murchison and Shepparton to the south of Lake Eildon.

Victoria SES chief officer Tim Wiebusch earlier warned communities along the Goulburn River to expect possible road closures and overland flooding.

Albanese is set to visit Victoria to discuss emergency relief as some towns shift focus to recovery.

With six flood rescues on Tuesday, the total since the emergency began on Sunday stands at 52.

About half of those were triggered by people driving on flooded roads and becoming stuck in their cars, a State Emergency Service spokesperson told AAP.

The river at the rural village of Murchison was slated to reach a moderate-level peak of 10.5m late on Wednesday morning, while moderate flooding was possible at Shepparton from Thursday morning.

From Kialla to Shepparton, up to 20 properties might be inundated with above-floor flooding and a further 150 properties could have their land or surrounding streets flooded, Mr Wiebusch said.

He urged communities to prepare and have up to three days of supplies in case some areas became isolated.

Greater Shepparton Mayor Shane Sali said the community was nervous after the town was severely impacted by floods less than 18 months ago.

“We’re not expecting the levels of October 2022 which is pleasing, but there will still be a significant amount of water around and we’re asking the community to be really vigilant and have that awareness of what’s happening,” Mr Sali told ABC TV.

Minor flooding is expected at Echuca, along the Murray River, later in the week.

The Goulburn River at Seymour peaked at 6.8m on Monday afternoon before a second rise late on Tuesday.

The SES said six homes were flooded in Yea, eight to 10 houses in Seymour had above-floor flooding and a further 140 properties experienced other flooding, with crews set to examine the damage.

More than 1800 requests for assistance have been made to the SES during the emergency, but call numbers dropped over the past day as the response shifts towards recovery in many areas.

Rochester residents can now return to assess any damage to their properties as SES volunteers continue taking stock of the damage.


Topics: Floods
Stay informed, daily
A FREE subscription to The New Daily arrives every morning and evening.
The New Daily is a trusted source of national news and information and is provided free for all Australians. Read our editorial charter
Copyright © 2024 The New Daily.
All rights reserved.