Latest updates: Queensland floods

That concludes our live coverage for today. Thanks for following, and check back tomorrow for updates as they happen.

6pm
There are unconfirmed reports of looters targeting homes and businesses in flood-ravaged Goodna.

Ipswich councillor Paul Tully said he had received reports from witnesses who said they had seen looters tying their boats up to houses in low-lying Goodna.

"I've had two reports of that, and that's exactly what happened in the 1974 flood," Cr Tully said.

"People move their valuables up to the top floor of their house, and then looters come and break in through the roof tiles."

He said he had also received reports looters had been seen around Goodna businesses last night.

More than 3000 homes and businesses in the Ipswich area - including Goodna - have been flooded, with the Bremer River expected to peak on Wednesday afternoon.

5.24pm
Sewage is pouring into the Brisbane River after treatment facilities broke down, the Courier Mail reports.

Lord Mayor Campbell Newman said much of the sewerage infrastructure upstream had been damaged and treatment plants had been inundated with water.

He warned residents against swimming in the river or going into floodwaters, as well as urging conservative use of water in case more plants become damaged or power outages cut off parts of the water grid.

5.15pm
There are now 3585 people formally registered in evacuation centres across Queensland - 1500 of those in Ipswich alone. This does not include people who have sheltered with family or friends.

About 70,000 homes and businesses are without power - 56,000 in Brisbane and Ipswich, 14,000 in the Lockyer valley.

In Ipswich the river is currently at 19.25m and projected to hit 20.5m in the next few hours. The suburbs of Gailes and Goodna have been hit especially hard.

And in Brisbane, authorities are considering demolishing the Moggill ferry to prevent it becoming a torpedo down the river.

4.47pm
The death toll has risen to 12 with the discovery of the bodies of two men in the Lockyer Valley, according to Queensland police.

Premier Anna Bligh says a number of families there are still anxiously waiting for news of missing loved ones.

But she says people should not put themselves at risk and should leave the job to trained emergency workers.

There are 25 helicopters being used in rescue and recovery efforts.

4.40pm
New Zealand is looking to send extra help across the the Tasman.

Prime Minister John Key says it is likely a civil defence team already in Australia will be replaced when its tour ends on the 22nd of January.

Mr Key says 60 fire service members, mainly from the urban search and rescue teams, may also be sent. He says police specialists as well as Defence Force engineers and navy divers could also be deployed.

4.30pm
More flooding at Chinchilla - 290km northwest of Brisbane - looks set to undo much of the work a Kiwi aid team has done.

Mayor of the Western Downs Regional Council, Ray Brown, said the flooding was bad news for the town of Condamine, 60km downstream, where a New Zealand aid team has been stood down.

Mr Brown said the higher than expected levels at Chinchilla are a bad sign for Condamine, which he said has again been totally evacuated apart from a couple of police officers.

"What took Condamine out a bit over a week ago was a record flood of 15.2 metres, which exceeded the 1892 flood, so you're talking a lot of history here being re-made.

"I don't know of any other area in Australia that's had two complete town evacuations inside 10 days, so you can see why we have a lot of issues going at the moment."

4.23pm
The Brisbane Times reports that the Australian Defence Force is working at Toowoomba Hospital to set up a morgue.

At least 10 people have died in the floods to date.

Meanwhile, Brisbane residents have been asked to conserve water.

Some reservoirs have a limited supply and fresh tankers cannot be brought in due to flooding on roads.

4.20pm
About 2000 residents in the Lower Clarence Valley, in northern New South Wales, have been ordered to evacuate.

The river has already reached 7.6m and is projected to reach its peak at 9pm local time, ABC News reported,

Further west, the SES has told residents of Boggabilla and Toomelah they must evacuate.

The Macintyre River is expected to peak at 12.4 metres tomorrow.

4.10pm
Writers from around the globe are penning uplifting stories for a charity anthology to assist the victims of the Queensland floods.

100 Stories for Queensland will be available in digital and print form.

Proceeds from the sale of the book will go to the Queensland Premier's Disaster Fund.

3.58pm
Brisbane has all but ground to a halt, with postal services, public transport and garbage collection winding up as the city waits for the flood peak to hit.

All tolls have been lifted on both the Gateway and Logan motorways until further notice.

Bus services were suspended from 1pm (AEST) onwards, while CityCat and CityFerry services had already been cancelled. Trains had also been seriously impacted, with limited services implemented as of midday.

Commuters can only make it as far as Sherwood on the Ipswich line.

Several major highways have been cut, with the Ipswich Motorway inundated in several places including Goodna and Redbank.

Australia Post has also warned of significant delays both in and out of flood-affected areas across the state.

3.42pm
The Bremer River is now expected to rise to around 20.5 metres between 4pm and 5pm today, before dropping.

Ipswich mayor Paul Pisasale says he expects flood levels to drop within the next 36 hours, allowing the clean-up to begin.

About 3000 homes have been inundated, with about 1000 more to be affected by the end of the day, he said.

About 1100 people are seeking shelter in evacuation centres.

3.40pm
The West Australian Government will donate $1 million on behalf to the Queensland Premier's Disaster Relief Appeal.

Acting Premier Kim Hames said Queensland was facing one of the biggest natural disasters in Australia's history.

"As we deal with our own flood crisis in the Gascoyne and fight bushfires in the State's South-West, our thoughts are also with the people of Queensland dealing with these tragic circumstances," Dr Hames said.

"It is disturbing to hear reports that worse may be yet to come."

Dr Hames said the Australian Red Cross would manage the distribution of the donated funds on behalf of the Queensland Government.

Other State Governments, including Victoria and New South Wales have also donated $1 million each to the appeal.

3.33pm
Three more evacuation centres have opened following flooding in Brisbane's south west in addition to the centres at RNA Showgrounds at Bowne Hill and QEII at Nathan.

- St Catherine Anglican Church, McFarlane Street, Middle Park
- Good New Lutheran Church, Horizon Drive, Jamboree Heights
- Salvation Army Church, Lalian Street, Middle Park

The evacuation centres have been established for those who wish to evacuate of their own accord and cannot be accommodated with family or friends.

Residents are advised to bring the following with them if they choose to stay at the evacuation centre: Pillows and sheets, any medication, important documents such as insurance papers and spare clothing.

3.20pm
Police are urging those left homeless or separated from family by the Queensland floods to register their whereabouts on a national database.

The National Registration and Inquiry System will help emergency services reassure family who are worried about the safety of their loved ones, a Queensland Police statement says.

That will allow searchers to concenrate on those who are still missing amid rising floodwaters, the statement says.

"By entering your data you can save needless worry on the part of those that care about you and free up valuable emergency services resources."

Registrationg to the NRIS is through www.redcross.org.au, by telephone on ph. 1800 727 077 for callers in Australia or international callers on +61 393 283991.

2.50pm
Residents of low-lying areas are being warned to evacuate ahead of the peak expected to hit Brisbane at 4am - or even earlier upstream.

Queensland police say significant numbers of people are calling triple-zero for "trivial" matters.

Those who need assistance with moving should call SES on 132 500 instead.

The number of missing people has been revised to 67.

2.45pm
Gumboots, waders and mosquito repellent are being collected by Dunedin MP Clare Curran to help flood-affected Queenslanders.

The effort is part of Operation Angel, co-ordinated by an Australian group and concentrating on the area of Toowoomba.

The Labour MP says she has been talking to commercial suppliers such as The Warehouse and Air New Zealand about collecting the goods as quickly as possible.

Ms Curran says one of the big problems is the fact it is not gumboot season. She says gumboots are something we do well and she is calling on all commercial suppliers to step up and help Australia however they can.

2.40pm
South Australia will continue to send teams of rescue volunteers to Queensland despite facing its own flood risk in the state's northeast.

Premier Mike Rann said he told Queensland Premier Anna Bligh his state would give whatever support she requested.

Swift Water Rescue specialists from SA have been sent as part of a multi-state taskforce to assist the Queensland flood teams.

SES volunteers from across SA have also joined rescue and recovery efforts in the swamped state.

Meanwhile, members of the 15-strong New Zealand Civil Defence Response Team assisting with flood relief in Queensland have been stood down today for a well-earned rest.

2.33pm
Shane Warne is looking to organise a "legends" Twenty20 Ashes game to help raise funds for the Queensland flood victims.

Retired English cricketer Darren Gough, who has family in Queensland, suggested to Warne via Twitter yesterday: "why don't we play a masters England v Australia cricket match at mcg like tsunami game ? Raise lots give me a bell."

According to the West Australian, Warne said he had approached Channel 9 about putting on a match and should know more in the next 48 hours.

2.25pm
Public transport in Brisbane area (bus and rail) will be closed down this afternoon from 1pm.

See the Translink website for more details.

Click here for a list of maps of areas most at risk of flooding.

2.18pm
Queensland Treasurer Andrew Fraser says he expects the flood damage bill to be in the billions of dollars.

Southern Queensland, including Brisbane, Ipswich and the Darling Downs, is experiencing its worst flooding in over a century.

The central Queensland coalfields and gas fields of southwestern Queensland have also been badly affected.

Mr Fraser said it was not possible to put a figure on the damage "other than to say the damage bill is going to start with a b and not an m".

"This is a real blow to the Queensland economy," he said.

"But we have got some good prospects out there - the water is being removed in central Queensland, we are seeing mining start to come back, so it's a matter of getting back up on our feet in the great Queensland tradition.''

2.15pm
The New Zealand Civil Defence team is planning to move to another Queensland town if they can get out.

The 15-strong team has been helping flooded residents in the towns of Condamine and Miles.

They remain cut off by floodwaters in Miles, which is 200 km from Toowoomba.

Team leader Ian Wilson says there is not much of an option to leave at the moment. He says today they are cleaning all their gear, resupplying, and will probably have a half day off.

2.10pm
Brisbane City Council is advising residents waste services will be suspended until further notice.

The council's transfer stations will be open to the public for free tipping during this time, but due to current flooding conditions council has urged residents to consider their need to travel to a transfer station.

2.02pm
A moment's silence will be held at tonight's A-League football clash between Brisbane Roar and the Central Coast Mariners at Gosford.

Both sides will also wear black arm bands as a mark of respect for those that have died in the Queensland floods.

Central Coast Mariners coach Lawrie McKenna said the Mariners supporters' club, Yellow Army, will be doing a bucket collection at the game, with all proceeds going to the Premier's disaster relief fund.

Socceroo star Tim Cahill is also auctioning off a playing shirt signed by the Australian national team on eBay, with proceeds going to the relief fund. Bids are currently at AUD$25,100.

Football Australia is to make an announcement soon as to whether the Wellington Phoenix's game against the Roar this Sunday will go ahead, although the pitch at Brisbane's Suncorp Stadium is flooded.

A transformer fire at the stadium, which was caused by the flooding, is now out.

1.44pm
Support is pouring in from around the world with offers of help for Queensland as it battles with record floods, Australia's Foreign Affairs Minister Kevin Rudd says.

Mr Rudd said countries including Indonesia, the US and the United Kingdom, along with European and African nations, had offered support.

And he thanked people around Australia for supporting flood relief appeals and urged them to continue contributing.

``If you're in some far-off Australian location watching us at the moment, look, the real problem will be in the 12 months ahead,'' Mr Rudd said.

1.40pm
About 56,000 homes and businesses in Brisbane are now without power as the local power company starts to shut down parts of the CBD.

Up to 100,000 customers across Brisbane will be affected.

Premier Anna Bligh says it cannot be avoided.

''The CBD and potentially other areas will be systematically having their electricity shut down and I know that this is going to be very difficult for people. Can I just stress, electricity and water do not mix. We would have catastrophic situations if we didn't shut down power,'' she says.

1.35pm
Queensland Premier Anna Bligh says search and rescue operations to find the more than 90 missing could take several days.

The coroner has gone to the Lockyer Valley, where most of the recent deaths have been, as have eight specialist counselling teams.

Fortunately, no further deaths have been confirmed, she said at a press conference.

Her office had received several inquiries about the wellbeing of three people seen in a white car swept away in a flash flood which hit Toowoomba on Monday.

The footage screened on several television stations.

"We are pleased to confirm the mother and the child have been found alive, but we are still searching for the father in this case," she said.

Prime Minister Julia Gillard said: ''My message here to the people of Queensland would be we will be there with you for the many, many months it's going to take to recover from this."

1.33pm
Parts of the Ipswich CBD are already under water, as floods continue to rise towards an expected peak of 20.5m in the next hour.

The entire CBD has been closed and streets cordoned off.

The Port of Brisbane has been closed and is only open to emergency supplies.

Queensland Premier Anna Bligh warned residents against travel.

"This is not a tourism event, it is a serious disaster."

1.27pm
Queensland police have confirmed they are responding to a transformer fire at Suncorp Stadium in Brisbane.

According to the Daily Telegraph, a large explosion occurred shortly after 10.30am.

Nearby streets surrounding the stadium have flooded, some almost 2m high.

The water level is about 1-1.2m high on the ground floor of the stadium and its field is also flooded.

Firefighters are still trying to find a way into the stadium.

1.20pm
An iconic restaurant has been almost completely submerged, according to the Brisbane Times.

The pontoon of Drift - formerly Oxley's on the River - has broken away and is floating down the Brisbane River.

Salvage efforts were made yesterday, but in the interests of safety those efforts have now stopped," Premier Anna Bligh said.

"It is very likely we will see that restaurant sink into the river sometime today or overnight."

1.10pm
Bundaberg is running short of bread, milk and fuel as buyers stock up, afraid supplies will dry up due to blocked delivery routes.

A Woolworths spokesman told the Queensland Times the company had sent a convoy of trucks north from Brisbane to restock sites up the coast.

But if trucks could not get through, they would have to consider other options.

1.05pm
Brisbane Lord Mayor Campbell Newman is warning people not to be complacent.

''The flood waters are on their way, they can't be stopped.

"We just need to prepare for what's going to happen in the next 48 hours,'' he says.

He told the Seven network this morning: "For the low-lying areas, for the ones that were on the original list, those properties are going to go under to a significant extent...In 1974 there were properties in Yeronga, for example, that went completely under. That's what we're staring at."

It is estimated almost 20,000 homes, and 3,500 commercial properties in the city will flood.

12.59pm
A Lockyer Valley woman who gave birth in the midst of Queensland's worst ever flood emergency has been rescued, and she and her baby boy are doing well.

The RACQ CareFlight helicopter on Wednesday morning flew the woman from her isolated property in Bright View, near Laidley, to St Andrew's Private Hospital at Ipswich, a spokeswoman said.

The woman delivered the baby late on Tuesday, with help from family members and emergency services on the phone.

Mother and child are doing well and the helicopter is on its way to Lowood to help a woman in the early signs of labour, the spokeswoman said.

Two more RACQ CareFlight helicopters are on stand-by for further medical-related airlifts if required.

12.50pm
Ipswich mayor Paul Pisasale has reacted angrily to reports of looting in flood-affected areas.

"If I find anybody looting in our city they will be used as flood markers," he told the Brisbane Times.

Meanwhile, Brisbane residents have been warned that entire suburbs could go under.

12.18pm
Power is to be cut off to the Brisbane CBD over the next couple of hours, an Energex spokesperson told ABC Radio.
More than 46,000 properties in Queensland are without power, the bulk of which are in Ipswich. The power is being cut off to protect electrical infrastructure and for public safety.
"Water and electricity don't mix," she said.

12.15pm
Queenslanders evacuating from their homes have been urged to register their location with National Registration and Inquiry System to make it easier for officials and their friends and families to track them.
People can register online here, by telephone on 1800 727 077 in Australia or by completion of hand written forms at nominated evacuation centres.
New Zealanders unable to contact friends or family members in Queensland can check the register online or through the international phone number +61 393 283991.

12.10pm
CHOP CHOP: A fit young man saved the day for a group of motorists who were trapped by a felled tree across a northern NSW highway in front of them.

11.45am
The Queensland State Emergency Service (SES) has received a total of 32,483 calls for assistance in the 12 hours from 5am (8am NZT) yesterday.
3578 calls came from Brisbane, with the rest spread around smaller centres and towns. SES have assisted these households with tasks such as sandbagging, tarping and assisting with evacuations.

11.40am
A Mackay Daily Mercury reporter has shared his experience of seeing his hometown of Toowoomba get ravaged by floodwaters over the past few days. Read his account here.

10.55am
Northern New South Wales is also being affected by the flooding, with 18 people evacuated from eight homes in towns near Casino, The Northern Star reports.
Casino is about 50km south of the Queensland-NSW border.
State Emergency Service (SES) officer Bill Hoyes said a metre of water was expected to go through the houses and a school, equalling the height from a 1976 flood.

10.45am
Prime Minister Julia Gillard told Sky News that there are up to seven more helicopters on standby, should they be required to rescue people from flood-ravaged areas.

10.25am
More than 184,000 sandbags have been collected from Brisbane City Council depots around the city since yesterday morning, the council reports.

10.20am
Flooded homes and roads on the Fraser Coast drying out from this week's flooding are set to go under again today, reports the Fraser Coast Chronicle.
The Mary River is expected to reach 8m at noon (3pm NZT).
Fraser Coast Regional Council chief executive officer Andrew Brien told The Chronicle the water rose up to 60mm an hour yesterday.

9.45am
Homes in low lying areas of Brisbane will be entirely underwater by tomorrow afternoon, the city's Lord Mayor told ABC Radio this morning.
A second evacuation centre has opened in Brisbane at the QEII Stadium this morning, adding to the emergency accommodation provided at the RNA Showgrounds. 150 people stayed the night at the showgrounds last night.
The two centres can accommodate 6,500 people.

9.43am
1,200 streets in Brisbane have been affected by the floods, and 19,700 residential properties and more than 3,000 commercial properties are expected to have their entire block of land covered in water. Around 2,100 streets in the city are expected to be flooded by tomorrow afternoon.

9.40am
The crisis has also tossed up its share of the weird and the wonderful. For example, animal stories.
This picture claims to be of a frog getting a ride down a swollen river on the back of a snake (Yeah, right!), and this image suggests the flooding has brought crocs to the streets of downtown Gympie. Whether a freak of nature, or skilful Photoshopping, is behind the pictures - you make up your own mind!

9.30am
The Brisbane River has broken its banks at Yeronga, says the state Premier Anna Bligh. She also confirmed the number of people officially missing has now been increased from 78 to 90. The death toll stands at 10.

9.05am
The Warwick Daily News is reporting drivers have been ignoring travel warnings in Warwick, south of Toowoomba despite the tragic loss of life further north.
Warwick Police Constable Jade Flemming told the paper there was no excuse for ignoring road signs.
"People have been going through 'Road Closed' signs, that's an offence, whether it's to take photos or not, it's ticketable," Mr Flemming said.

9.00am
Ipswich Mayor Paul Pisasale told ABC Radio Queensland the situation in the city is "drastic".
"All you can see of [supermarket] Coles is a roof with 'Coles' on it," he said.
The Bremer River, which passes through Ipswich, is expected to reach 21.5m metres this morning.

8.42am
One bright piece of news amid the catastrophe: Bureau of Meteorology forecaster Brett Harrison told ABC Radio the heavy rainfall which has battered South East Queensland is basically at an end.
"We will not experience any more rainfalls in the south east except for a few showers," he said.

8.20am
Due to the large number of New Zealanders who have family, friends or simply a strong connection with Queensland and Brisbane, WeatherWatch.co.nz has today launched a regular Queensland service.
The weather news website says it will provide a weather forecast service which will be updated regularly.

8.10am
The entire community of Forest Hill in the Lockyer Valley was airlifted out of the flood-hit town yesterday, and further evacuations are planned.
Lockyer Valley mayor Steve Jones told the paper about 300 Forest Hill residents were yesterday airlifted to Gatton by Black Hawk helicopters.
Mr Jones said more evacuations were planned for the Grantham School where around 50 people Grantham residents had taken shelter only to be trapped by flood waters.

7.55am
The Brisbane River is continuing to flow quickly, with overnight cameraman Eddie Norbido telling ABC Radio he saw two people in a dinghy attached to a houseboat "hurtling down the river" in the suburb of Oxley. He understood water police were on their way to help the pair.
Another caller, 21-year-old Sean, by the river on Eagle St said he had seen "20 to 30" pontoons and several boats, including a 15m powerboat, floating down the river.
This morning's high tide, due at 4am Brisbane time (7am NZT), is expected to see the river rise to 3m. Brisbane Lord Mayor Campbell Newman told ABC Local Radio Queensland this afternoon's high tide at 3pm Brisbane time is anticipated to be 4.5m, while tomorrow's high tide is expected to be 5.5m.
The 1974 flood saw the river rise to 5.45m.

7.50am
The Brisbane City Council has identified the following suburbs as likely to be affected by the flooding of over the next few days: Albion, Auchenflower, Bowen Hills, Brisbane City, Bulimba, Chelmer, Coorparoo, East Brisbane, Fairfield, Fig Tree Pocket, Fortitude Valley, Graceville, Hemmant, Indooroopilly, Kangaroo Point, Lytton, Milton, Moggill, Murrarie, New Farm, Newstead, Norman Park, Oxley, Pinkenba, Rocklea, Sherwood, South Brisbane, Tennyson, Toowong, Yeronga, Yerongpilly, Windsor, and Wacol.

7.45am
More than 50,000 homes in South East Queensland are without power this morning, according to electricity company Energex. Crews attempting to reconnect residents have been hampered by difficulties getting to many areas, the company said.

7.42am
A decision is expected today over a possible postponement of the A-League soccer match between the Wellington Phoenix and Brisbane Roar in flood-hit Brisbane on Sunday.
The 52,500-seat Suncorp Stadium is presently being used as an evacuation centre to cater for people forced out of their houses by rising water.

7.35am
New Zealanders are reporting that many friends and relatives who live in Brisbane have decided to head to the Gold Coast for two to three days. Queensland police say New Zealanders seeking urgent flood information can contact +61 7 3055 6200.

7.20am
There are fears for 78 people still unaccounted for. Today is expected to be a terrible day for Ipswich residents, as their Bremer river rises and inundates the town. Tomorrow should be the day of misery for Brisbane, and a total of 40,000 homes are being evacuated there.

7.00am
A four year-old boy has become the tenth person confirmed dead in the Queensland floods. He was swept away in a flash flood near Ipswich as a rescue attempt for him and his family was underway.

- NZ Herald

© Copyright 2014, APN New Zealand Limited

Assembled by: (static) on production apcf02 at 21 Dec 2014 17:31:21 Processing Time: 755ms