‘Chaos’ overnight as dangerous weather system causes flooding across Queensland, NSW

The Bureau of Meteorology (BoM) has warned we’re not at the end of the wet weather.

It comes after Upper Springbrook in the Gold Coast hinterland recorded 309 mm overnight, while Clagiraba was drenched with 292 mm. Of that, 104mm fell in just one hour.

A packed campground in Helensvale started flooding in the late hours of last night, sparking a frantic evacuation. (Today)

The heavy rain sparked a desperate midnight evacuation a campground nearby at Helensvale.

In the middle of the night the water started rising, fast – upending family holidays.

This morning the site is completely underwater. 

Tents were swallowed by muddy brown water on the Gold Coast site.
Tents were swallowed by muddy brown water on the Gold Coast site. (Today)
One witness who was camping ahead of the school holidays said they were knee-deep in water in minutes.
One witness who was camping ahead of the school holidays, said they were knee-deep in water in minutes. (Today)

One witness told Today there was absolutely no warning. 

“We had no idea,” he said.

“I was already awake and my sister just yelled out to me to get up. I got up and I thought, ‘it is probably not that bad’ and within 20 minute, yeah, the water was going through our tent.

“We were knee-deep within minutes. 

“It was chaos…just panic, dozens trying to get out at once.

Similar scenes have played out across NSW overnight with northern parts of the state receiving over 200mm in a matter of hours.

Three people rescued by police officer from car stuck in floodwaters in NSW Hunter region.
Three people were rescued by a police officer after their car was stuck in floodwaters in NSW’s Hunter region. (NSW Police)

NSW SES said they’ve conducted 14 flood rescues in the last 24 hours, up to 6am today.

Statewide there were 193 requests for assistance.

While the rain is set to ease today, authorities warned the flood risk would continue in the days to come.

“The system that brought the intense thunderstorms last night is just hanging off the Gold Coast right now. We could still a bit more rainfall activity in the morning,” senior Bureau forecaster, Dean Narramore, said.

“We are still expecting widespread showers across the NSW coast and south east Queensland today, and again tomorrow, before finally clearing on Sunday.”

” Unfortunately, another weather event moves in to eastern Australia, mid-next week.”

Nearly two dozens of flood warnings are in currently in place for swollen catchments across the state.

And the already devastated city of Lismore is on edge after the Bureau of Meteorology (BoM) issued a moderate flood warning for the Tweed River.

If the levee breaks the city would face its third flood of the year.

The river level at Tumbulgum could reach the moderate flood level of 1.80 m around 10:00 am Friday.

Just the start of a ‘very long’ season

NSW Emergency Services Minister Steph Cooke yesterday said the deluge was the start of a flooding season expected to stretch through spring and summer.

The rain radar over northern NSW.
The rain radar over northern NSW. (Bureau of Meteorology)

“We’re facing challenges on multiple fronts with prolonged flooding through the west and north-west of NSW, renewed river rises in the Central West and southern parts of NSW,” she said.

“Communities in the Northern Rivers, Mid North Coast and North Coast who have been made flood weary over the past several months are facing an uncertain couple of days with weather conditions worsening.

“We are at the start of a very long season we expect, this is the third consecutive La Nina, and as we have seen all year our catchments and landscapes are highly saturated.

“This increases the risk of flash flooding and water coming up very very quickly and catching people unawares.”

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