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Waterlogged Gulf Country in Queensland faces renewed flood threat

Residents in saturated Queensland Gulf Country are bracing for more heavy rain and flash flooding.

Residents in saturated Queensland Gulf Country are bracing for more heavy rain and flash flooding. Photo: AAP/Qld Ambulance Service

Northern Australia is awash with intense rainfall threatening Queensland’s Gulf Country communities with more flash flooding.

Doomagee, Burketown, Normanton and other towns in the region have endured near-constant rain since mid-December.

Meteorologists are warning locally intense rainfall up to to 150 millimetres in six hours could hit the north-west, which may lead to dangerous and life-threatening flash flooding, from Thursday.

People living in Winton, Mount Isa, Cloncurry, Julia Creek, Camooweal, Dajarra, Duchess, Mckinlay and Lawn Hill could be affected.

The Bureau of Meteorology says 24-hour rain totals of 250 millimetres were possible “once again” following record falls on Wednesday.

“Already saturated catchments are likely to respond quickly to any heavy rainfall and exacerbate the flash flooding risk, while leading to further isolation of communities and disruption to local road networks,” the BoM said in an alert.

Burketown had its highest daily rainfall total in eight years when 173 millimetres fell on Wednesday and a record 314 millimetres drenched Century Mine near Lawn Hill.

Domagee resident Kylie Caulton sad it felt as though the rain would never end.

“The normal wet season should have been finished by now. It’s usually about three months, but this year the rain just won’t stop,” she said.

“We have not seen the sun in months.”

“Supplies are running low. The shop usually gets trucks through every week, but now we are getting two deliveries by plane.

“There are restrictions. We’re only allowed to get two bottles of milk at a time per person and that doesn’t even last the week. Once we run out, we have to do without.”

Trucks of essential supplies have come from as far as Brisbane, Townsville and Cairns to service communities still reachable via road.

Carpentaria mayor Jack Bawden has asked for disaster relief payments for residents from the state and federal governments.

The Salvation Army has brought forward plans to activate a shop-front service to support members of the community in Normanton.

In Western Australia, the Australian Defence Force will help deliver essential supplies to people in Kununurra, which is isolated because of heavy flooding.

Supermarket shelves have been stripped bare since the Victoria Highway, the town’s major road link to the NT, was cut last week.

Kununurra’s main road link to the rest of WA – the Great Northern Highway – has been closed by flood waters since January.

WA Premier Mark McGowan said an air force aircraft carrying perishable goods would arrive in Kununurra on Thursday, followed by another on Friday.

A barge carrying fresh food would also arrive from Darwin at the weekend.

“We’ve worked as hard as we can to get food in there as quickly as we can and we expect the situation will alleviate over the coming days,” Mr McGowan said on Wednesday.

-AAP

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