Torrential rain in NW QLD causes record flooding in Leichhardt River
Heavy rain, with totals approaching 600mm in 48 hours, fell around and to the north of Mt Isa today as the decaying remains of TC Larry crossed the area. Gereta Station, 85km NNE of Mt Isa, recorded 435.5mm in the 24 hours to 9 this morning and a further 147.2 in the 24 hours to 9am Thursday, a 48-hour total of 582.7mm. Kamilaroi Station, 160km NNE of Mt Isa, had 427.4mm in the 48 hours, Gunpowder (110km N) 292.0, Lake Moondarra (15km NNE) 224.8 and Lorraine (195km NNE) 221.0mm. Other 48-hour falls in the region were mostly between 100 and 200mm. 54mm was recorded at Gunpowder in the hour to 11pm last night. Gereta's 435.5mm to 9 this morning was its heaviest one-day total since 1 August 1911, although the station's records are not complete.
The rain caused rapid rises to major flood stages and the highest river levels on instrumental record in the Leichhardt River system. Gunpowder Creek at Gunpowder, the Department of Natural Resources and Mines gauge peaked at 10.63m at 7am today, only about 8 hours after the most intense rainfall, and nearly 2m above the highest peak recorded since equipment was installed in 1971. At Lorraine, on the main river downstream of the heaviest rain, the Leichhardt peaked at 16.90m at 6pm Thursday, the highest level since records began in 1974. Farther downstream at Floraville, 70km from the coast, the peak of 9.91m passed on Sunday morning, the highest since records began at the current location in 1984. Floraville residents, however, said that the 1964 flood was higher.
In the Flinders River basin to the east, moderate flooding occurred from Saturday 25 March, peaking at 11.17m at Walkers Bend on 29 March.
This detailed (pdf) report on the Leichhardt flood is available from the Bureau of Meteorology.
Prs Ext Rec Not War Rdr Cht Rfl Rec