DELUGE: 100mm+ and counting for Mackay, Whitsundays

Water of Crofton Creek over Gregory Cannon Valley Way this morning.
Water of Crofton Creek over Gregory Cannon Valley Way this morning. Peter Carruthers

WITH hundreds of millimetres of rain falling over the region in the past week, the Don River in Bowen is flowing, creeks out west are flooding, dams are filling and farmers are celebrating the best soaking rain they've seen in months.

And with the bureau forecasting showers, thunderstorms and heavy rain over the next week, the good news isn't stopping yet.


Where the rain fell

In the 24 hours to 9am Wednesday, here's where the best falls were recorded by the bureau:

  • Sandy Plateau: 140mm
  • Bowen Airport: 119mm
  • Cannonvale: 101mm
  • Jubilee Pocket: 89mm
  • Forbes Rd: 86mm
  • Proserpine: 51mm
  • Finch Hatton: 40mm
  • Eungella: 35mm
  • Greenmount: 25mm

>>>READ MORE: Woman rescued after car washed off causeway


Road closures

As of 9.30am Wednesday, the following roads are closed in the region due to flooding:

  • Bruce Highway, Bowen
  • Blackwater Cooroorah Rd, MacKenzie River
  • Carfax Rd, May Downs
  • Kilcummin Diamond Downs Rd, Kilcummin
  • Huntley Rd, Cheeseborough/Wolfang includes Dysart Clermont Rd to Dysart
  • Burdekin Dam Rd, Burdekin Falls Dam Rd
  • Isaac River Rd, May Downs
  • Mount Stuart Bedford Weir Rd, Mackenzie River
  • May Downs Carfax Rd, Dysart
  • Rolfe Creek May Downs Rd, May Downs/Middlemount


Heavy falls expected

Tuesday afternoon, the Bureau of Meteorology upgraded their rainfall forecast for Mackay, with up to 70mm expected on Wednesday, as well as a chance of a thunderstorm.

High chance of showers and thunderstorms are likely for tomorrow and Friday, with showers on Saturday before easing on Sunday.

The rain is due to "a slow moving surface trough" which was yesterday located near Yeppoon and is set to move further to St Lawrence by this morning and becoming "near stationary".

Dam levels as of 5pm Tuesday:

  • Kinchant Dam: 54% - 39,007ML
  • Peter Faust Dam: 69.10% - 339,620ML
  • Eungella Dam: 92.53% - 104,074ML
  • Teemburra Dam: 91.28% - 134,689ML
  • Burdekin Falls Dam: 101.95% - 1,896,270 (overflowing as of 4pm Tuesday)



Farmers rejoicing

Bowen Gumlu Growers president Carl Walker says the falls couldn't have come at a better time, giving North Queensland growers some confidence of a successful 2018 coming off the back of "a lost year" thanks to Cyclone Debbie.

"It's good soaking rain too, so everyone will have a beautiful start to the year... the land's beautiful, we'll have good sub-soil moisture, our Great Artesian Basin levels will rise and the Don River is running," Mr Walker said.

"So what's next is when the Department of Natural Resources and Mines make a decision with our water allocations on April 1, I'm sure it'll be a positive outcome and our percentages won't be any worse than last year.

"And with this rain, the dams will be full, so growers who rely on the dam water can supplement the artesian supply so they'll be chock-a-block and there'll be nothing stopping growers from planting what they need to have a great season."


BEFORE: The Don River just after Cyclone Debbie.
BEFORE: The Don River just after Cyclone Debbie. Alix Sweeney

Meanwhile, members of the Don River Improvement Trust are breathing a sigh of relief to see the Don flowing for the first time in 12 months.

It's also having positive 'flow-on' effects for the surrounding landscape.

None more so than at Queens Beach, where large amounts of sand being dispensed at the river's mouth has allowed the beach to restore parts of itself for the first time in over a decade.

Don River Improvement Trust president Gary Martin, whose farm is situated on the Don River, said the rain would be felt by everyone in the agricultural industry.

"It's a tremendous benefit for everyone across the horticultural sector. If we don't get the rain now you're up against it for the rest of the year," he said.

"Some more rain over the next couple of weeks would be excellent. But it's a good start, and a lot more promising than what it looked a fortnight ago."

Meanwhile, more than 100mm fell in the 24 hours to 9am Tuesday in Springsure, south of Emerald, as water, debris and a tree blocked the Dawson Highway in two places, and flooding blocked the Gregory Highway to the north.

Topics:  dams don river eungella dam mackay weather rainfall teemburra dam

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