Downpours Sunday in already flooded parts of Queensland prompted flood warnings for more Australian towns in a rolling crisis that has affected an area the size of France and Germany combined.
In 1999 the town of Maryborough was inundated when the Mary River reached a record peak of 8.75 metres and there are fears that level may be exceeded in the next 24 hours.
Already two bridges in the town are below the surface.
“It’s predicted to get to 9 metres -- that’s larger than the 1992 and 1999 floods,” Fraser Coast Mayor Mick Kruger said.
Bureau of Meteorology hydrologist Peter Baddiley said homes and businesses in Gympie, another central Queensland town, were also under threat.
“Reaching the major flood level of 17 metres is certainly possible with the continuing rain,” he said. “We’re into a situation of very soggy land, saturated catchments, plenty of run-off, fairly quick response to rainfall.” The worst flooding in 50 years had affected 200,000 people and caused damage that will need billions of dollars to repair.