Heavy rain brings flooding to SE QLD Sat 24 Feb 2018 - An upper low/trough system over inland QLD together with a surface trough down the coast swung a very moist, unstable airstream into SE QLD from 21 to 24 February bringing general falls of 100 to 200mm to the Sunshine Coast, Brisbane area and Gold Coast. The heaviest 4-day total on the Sunshine Coast was 354mm at Nambour, in the Brisbane area 256 at Kenmore Hills and on the Gold Coast 317 at Upper Springbrook. The wettest rainfall day was the 24 hours to 0900 EST on the 24th when rain had contracted south into the Brisbane and Gold Coast areas. 135.8mm fell in the Brisbane City gauge during this rainfall day, just over its average for the whole month of February of 135.5.
Minor river flooding on the Sunshine and Gold Coasts and hinterlands became widespread by late on the 23rd with moderate and occasionally major flood levels achieved on some streams. Flash flooding was widespread, leading to numerous rescues [ABC News].
Just how deadly are roads covered by floodwater?
Sat 24 Feb 2018 Updated 27 Feb 2018 2018
Here's a video that really emphasises the slogan that "If it's flooded, forget it" - even if you're not in a car.
You never know what's underneath. It could be a pothole that stalls you, or a washaway deep enough to swallow a truck. Cars are also super-efficient at floating, and a small or modified larger one may float in as little as 15cm of water, the length of a ball-point pen. After contact is lost with the road, or even partly lost, the water will simply take them where it wants to.
As a result of the SE QLD heavy rain between 21 and 24 February, over a dozen people had to be rescued in what was not a rare flash flooding situation for the area. QLD Emergency Services Minister Craig Crawford told ABC News "Frankly, I'm getting sick and tired of seeing these reports on a daily basis, about incidents where our emergency crews are having to put their lives are risk rescuing people who have tried to drive through floodwaters. It doesn't matter what kind of car you drive, how experienced you are, or how badly you need to get across that road: if it's flooded, forget it."
While the rescues were going on in SE QLD on 24 February, this driver came to grief over the border in NSW, and as Rick Watt showed in the comments, just being in a large truck doesn't help if there's a 3m deep washaway.
What prompts people to do something as stupid as this? An increasing amount of research is going into the driving behaviour that causes bad or fatal flood driving decisions and how the consequences of them can be mitigated. This study, reported in The Conversation last December, looked at the mitigation aspect by identifying what makes some stretches of road more dangerous than others. Some of the links in the article are worth reading, too.
[Queensland Police, ABC News, ABC North Coast, Severe Weather Europe]
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