Last updated: January 19, 2011

Weather: Sydney 21°C - 25°C . Few showers.

24/7 National floods info centre: updates, photos, advice and messages for loved ones

A NATIONAL disaster is unfolding with flooding affecting vast areas of Australia's east. Live updates will be posted here as they come to hand. Times are in AEDT.

LOOKING FOR FRIENDS OR RELATIVES? LEAVE A MESSAGE IN THE COMMENTS THE FOOT OF THIS PAGE. You can also call the info line on 1300 993 191.

Email us at news@news.com.au with your status and reports from your locality.

SCROLL DOWN FOR UPDATES | REFRESH THIS PAGE FOR LATEST

 

Before

Rocklea before the January 2011 floods

After

Aerials of Rocklea during the Brisbane Floods from Channel 9 helicopter

11:46am: An agonising wait for the exhausted residents of Warracknabeal, in Victoria's northwest, is not over yet.

Water in the streets is slowing rising as the "once-in-200-year flood" heads to its peak.

10:50am: Queensland is on alert for more extreme weather in coming months, Premier Anna Bligh says.

She says severe weather patterns are expected across the state as the wet season rolls on.

"As much as we're focusing on recovery, you can rest assured our emergency response people are regrouping and ready for the possibility of any further event.

10:26am: Kerang is at high risk of isolation for up to five days as the Loddon River continues to rise against a levee bank leaking floodwaters into the northern Victorian town.

An evacuation warning was issued to locals early today to leave immediately after the bank was breached in several places.

9:12am: The Queensland town of Grantham is strewn with 'evidence of terror', says Premier Anna Bligh.

8:56am: Tough choices will have to be made to return the Queensland Budget to surplus as planned, with vital infrastructure repairs to be the big ticket items, Treasurer Andrew Fraser says.

The damage bill from the floods is set to run into tens of billions of dollars after more than three weeks of flooding devastated two thirds of the state.

Mr Fraser said the Budget priorities needed to be on recovery and other planned projects would have to take a back seat.

8:45am: The Courier Mail has published a special practical guide for those rebuilding their lives after the floods.

The Helping Hand liftout in both the print edition of the paper and uploaded online lists information vital to residents who have started on the road to recovery.

8:30am:
The first of those killed in Toowoomba's appalling flash flood will be buried today.

Mother and son - Donna Rice, 43, and Jordan, 13 - were swept from the roof of their car in Brisbane's CBD, on January 10. They insisted the youngest brother Blake was rescued first, and the 10-year-old will now help bury his family.

Ms Blake's partner John Tyson said the two will be buried together, Jordan on top of his mother.

"It's symbolic of him being in his mother's arms," Mr Tyson told The Courier Mail.

8:18am: A man trapped up a tree in raging floodwaters in north Queensland has been rescued.

He'd tried to drive across a flooded creek on the Bruce Highway at Proserpine when his car was swept away about 4.15am (AEST) overnight, the Department of Community Safety said.

6.38am: The levee banks at Kerang have broken and residents have been told to "get out while they can".

4:20am The Victorian town of Warracknabeal is breathing a sigh of relief this morning as the levee banks appear to be holding in the Murray town.

Meanwhile work is continuing in Kerang and Horsham to protect two key substations.

3:20am: British Foreign Secretary William Hague and Foreign Minister Kevin Rudd announce they will visit Brisbane today to inspect the flood recovery effort.

3:15am: The appeal for Queensland's flood victims has surpassed $100 million, as people from the epicentre of the emergency begin to pick up the pieces of their lives.

Grantham residents will be allowed to go home today to begin the grieving process as the town is closed to non-residents for a week to give them privacy.

2:15am: The besieged Victorian town of Kerang  remained shut down this moring as nervous residents huddled in their homes, waiting to see if the town's levee banks would hold against the rising floodwaters from the Loddon River.

The Australian reported the fate of the town's 4000 residents hinges on the levee banks holding up and the last road of the town will be closed later today.

12:40am: Police have arrested two teenagers caught profiteering on the Queensland flood tragedy.

The 18-year-old and 16-year-old had been door knocking homes in Shepparton asking for donations for Queensland flood victims.

12:00am As Queensland continues the big clean-up, it emerged at least three flooded schools are so badly damaged that they will not reopen on Monday and repair bills will run into millions of dollars.

The schools were the hardest hit of 92 state schools and 14 private schools that went under during Brisbane's devastating floods.

10:25pm: Police have revealed a woman photographed in raging floodwaters in southeast Queensland has been found alive and well.

The teenager, who wishes to remain anonymous, was feared missing until rescued further downstream.

9:45pm: The Victorian town of Warracknabeal is bracing for record floods with warnings residents may have to be evacuated.

The SES has warned that at least 140 houses almost certainly face flooding.

8.34pm: Rugby league superstars from Sydney are adding their muscle to the clean-up effort in flood-ravaged Queensland. Almost the entire Parramatta Eels and Wests Tigers squads, including Chris Lawrence, Robbie Farah and Steve Roach (below) have travelled to Goodna.

nrl

nrl
Chris Lawrence, Robbie Farah and Steve Roach help tidy up Tony Caswell's home, as NRL players from the Parramatta Eels and Wests Tigers help out in the town of Goodna. Picture: Brad Hunter
Source: The Daily Telegraph

7.48pm: Victorian Premier Ted Baillieu has reflected on the state's first flood-related death, that of eight-year-old Lachlan Collins, and spoken of the crisis affecting his state.

This is not only a personal tragedy, it's a tragedy for the community ... There are challenges ahead, there is pain still to come but Victoria is focused and Victorians are supporting each other through this crisis.

7.38pm: Bogus tradespeople are doorknocking houses in flood-hit regions of Victoria and targeting vulnerable people with offers to redecorate or repair fences, driveways and roofs. Anyone requiring home repairs should first contact their insurance company and check their insurance policies, check a repairer's credentials and beware of tradespeople who give only a first name or a mobile phone number.

7.33pm: Attorney-General Robert McClelland says nearly 110,000 claims for the government's disaster assistance payment - worth more than $136 million - has been granted to devastated flood victims so far.

7.27pm: Farmers around Kerang are among those affected by floods tonight, and there are fears the Northern Victorian town might be isolated for three days, with at least 200 homes in Kerang at risk of flooding if levee banks are unable to cope with the rising Loddon River.

7pm: An intense storm has cut power to 23,000 homes as it swept through southeast Queensland this afternoon, hampering Energex's flood recovery operations.

storm lightning Brisbane

storm lightning Brisbane
A thunderstorm rolls over Brisbane. Picture: Ross Marsden
Source: The Courier-Mail

6.03pm: An aircraft has crashed into power lines in a remote, flood-affected area about 50km west of Goondiwindi this afternoon. Read more.

5.20pm: Police have released a photograph of a woman caught in raging floodwaters in an effort to determine if she survived. The photo taken during last Monday's flash flood in Toowoomba, west of Brisbane, from the Grand Central Shopping Centre overlooking Dent Street. Police are appealing to the public to help determine her identity and whereabouts.

missing person photo

missing person photo
Police are appealing for public information in relation to a possible missing person in the Toowoomba region. The photo attached was received by a local police officer from a member of the public overlooking the floods from the Grand Central Shopping Centre, looking on to Dent Street. Police are appealing for anyone with information as to the identity of the person, pictured bottom right, and their current location to come forward. Anyone with information is urged to contact Toowoomba Police as soon as possible on 46 316 333 or Crime Stoppers anonymously via 1800 333 000 or crimestoppers.com.au 24hrs a day.
Source: Supplied

4.48pm: Tasmania's Opposition Leader Will Hodgman says funds should be made available for flood-affected farmers in the north - and wants money from the Federal Government.

"Tasmania's vegetable and poppy industries have been hit hard," Mr Hodgman said. "Once you take into account downstream processing and value-adding, these floods could easily cost the Tasmanian economy tens of millions of dollars.

"The Premier should immediately contact the Prime Minister and ask for Tasmania's share of the Federal Government's flood relief funds.''

4.32pm: A severe storm over southeast Queensland could leave tens of thousands of homes without power and hamper flood recovery work, Energex says.

The storm was over Boonah, southwest of Brisbane, at 2.30pm (AEST) and the weather bureau warns that damaging winds, very heavy rainfall, flash flooding and large hailstones are likely. It is tracking northeast and due to hit Greenbank, just south of the city.by 3.35pm local time.

4.10pm: Health experts have issued another warning about disease in the wake of the floods. The biggest threat is from bacteria carried in the contaminated floodwaters, that can cause cause infections in cuts or gastroenteritis if swallowed.

More serious infections include melioidosis - a bacteria that lives in tropic-area soils and has not been seen in Brisbane since the 1974 floods.

"People just need to be really careful about food that has been in contact with floodwaters, it really needs to be regarded as contaminated," says Monash University researcher Dr Robert Hall.

"With the power being off and it being hot, there is also the issue of spoilage of food ... if there is any doubt then the food should be discarded."

4.06pm: More than 200 homes are expected to be hit by floodwaters in the northwestern Victorian town of Warracknabeal. About 84 homes are predicted to be directly inundated or isolated and a further 140 will also be affected. The Yarriambiack Creek is expected to peak at the town tomorrow night - a day earlier than expected.

4.04pm: Police have warned of international scams targeting flood victims that are expected to last over the coming months.

Victims are being targeted by scammers calling them, purporting to be from official organisations which could fast-track applications for flood relief for a $200 fee, AAP reports.

No such organisations exist, no payment is required and no fast-tracking occurs.

"They are operating out of professional, organised call centres and they have vast resources," Detective Superintendent Brian Hay of the fraud and corporate crime group said.

3.52pm: Premier Anna Bligh has attacked Ipswich councillor Paul Tully's decision to alert the media about the two reported deaths at Goodna earlier today without confirming them (see 1.13pm post).

"The decision by an Ipswich city councillor to put reports of dead bodies into the public arena, without any attempt to confirm them with police, frankly is probably the most irresponsible act by any politician of any political persuasion I've seen in relation to any natural disaster event,'' Ms Bligh said.

Mr Tully has countered saying: "I always indicated to the media that it was an unconfirmed report. The Premier should check her facts before she starts blasting people in the community who are working on flood recovery."

3.37pm: Police divers have confirmed they have found the body of eight-year-old Lachlan Collins who went missing yesterday, feared drowned in the Goulburn River. Updates at The Herald Sun.

3.30pm: The Courier Mail has done an interactive picture special on the clean-up. It's called Four Days that Healed our Hearts and showcases some of their best work.

3.24pm: The Great Barrier Reef is set to become the next victim of the floods with authorities warning of an explosion in algal blooms and more coral bleaching. Flood run-off, which is  full of sediment and nutrients, is the potential problem and while many plants and animals have mechanisms to cope the scale of the disaster is causing some concern.

3.21pm: Wesfarmers has announced it will donate $5 million to the the flood relief efforts, bringing its total contributions to more than $7.5 million. And Queensland-based company Flight Centre has also said it would guarantee a minimum $2 million donation. Full report.

3.10pm: The Fitzroy River has returned to its normal level in Rockhampton, after almost three weeks of flooding in the central Queensland city. The city's evacuation centre, which housed more than 180 people during the peak of the floods a fortnight ago, is set to close on Friday

2.12pm: The weather bureau has issued a severe thunderstorm warning for southeast Queensland, for parts of the Scenic Rim Council area. Severe thunderstorms were detected on weather radar near Mount Barney and the New South Wales border. Damaging winds, very heavy rainfall, flash flooding and large hailstones are likely.

2.07pm: An evacuation warning has been issued to residents in the northern Victorian town of Kerang who face isolation for at least three days. Updates at the Herald Sun here.

1.41pm: The Insurance Council of Australia (ICA) has declared a catastrophe in northwest Victoria. ICA head Rob Whelan says Victorian policyholders should contact their insurance companies as quickly as possible. A 24-hour emergency hotline - 1300 728 228 - has been set up to assist residents impacted by the floods.

1.37pm: Residents of the devastated town of Grantham are set to return this afternoon. The town is staying closed to non-residents at the community's request and this is expected to last about a week.

1.35pm: Police in Victoria believe a body found in Shepparton may be that of eight-year-old boy Lachlan Collins.

Lachlan, the youngest of five children, vanished in a flooded estuary in Kialla, near Shepparton, about 11.15am yesterday. More here.

1.13pm: An interesting twist to the last post below. Police are now saying there is no truth to an "overwhelmed'" volunteer's claims that he found two bodies.

"We appeal to people not to spread rumours," a police spokeswoman has told AAP. The 20-year-old volunteer is said to be receiving "help".

Ipswich councillor Paul Tully who heard about the supposed bodies from the volunteer said the same story had been told to a number of media outlets.

"People are being stressed by the circumstances," Mr Tully told AAP. "He's probably overwhelmed by the enormity of the disaster. "He's been working non-stop on flood relief for almost a week."

12.49pm: Queensland Police have turned to Twitter to confirm reports of two bodies found in Goodna.

Ipswich Councillor Paul Tully said that the bodies of two women had been found by a young volunteer rescue worker.

Police are as yet unwilling to confirm the deaths and are pleading for Cr Tully to contact them with concrete information.

Full report at The Courier Mail.

12.16pm: The Australian's James Madden in the field reporting on the destruction wreaked on Gailes Caravan Village in Brisbane. Watch video here.

12.07pm: Julia Gillard has announced a business taskforce to help with the recovery in Queensland. It will be chaired by Federal Treasurer Wayne Swan and include trucking magnate Lindsay Fox and Queensland Treasurer Andrew Fraser also among its 10 members.

"The purpose of bringing leading corporate identities together ... is to further leverage corporate support for the recovery and rebuilding in Queensland," Ms Gillard said.

12.03pm: Kochie over at The Punch on how flood victims are being ripped off by greedy insurers.

11.30am: The navy minehunter HMAS Huon has started looking for dangerous debris washed down the Brisbane River. The vessel is now working off Caloundra, to Brisbane's north.

"There's been so much come out of the Brisbane River that has been unaccounted for,'' Maritime Task Force Commander Peter Tedman said. "We're hopeful that it's not in the main shipping channel."

11.23am: Milton State School, Rocklea State School and Milpera State High will not be ready for the start of the school next Monday. But State Education Minister Geoff Wilson said classes would be held at nearby schools and TAFE colleges. Ninety-two state schools, 14 TAFE campuses and about 80 kindergarten and childcare centres have been hit by floods and the department is working on contingency plans.

11.18am: Latest power outtage figures from Energex say about 10,000 homes and businesses in Brisbane will be without power for several weeks. But those in West End, Kangaroo Point, Taringa, St Lucia, Jindalee, Graceville, Oxley, Durack and Brookfield should be back later today.

15,000 homes and businesses are also without power in southeast Queensland.and about 10,000 uninhabitable.

11.13am: Victoria's SES up to 15 homes have been totally inundated in Horsham already today and up to 500 are isolated by the rising river which is expected reach a record peak by lunchtime. More than 100 other homes are expected to flood today. More here.

10.40am: Another two bodies have reportedly been found in a Goodna house.

A clean-up worker has found the bodies of two women in a house that was flooded, Ipswich councillor Paul Tully says.

Mr Tully said the young worker found the bodies of the women, one aged in her 40s, the other in her 60s, inside the house late yesterday.

Police today said the death toll stood at 20, and there was no official confirmation of the two reported Goodna deaths.

10.33am: Floodwaters have already left 1000 households in Victoria's northwest without power and thousands more homes are under threat of cuts.

A key substation at Kerang, in the middle of a floodplain, is expected to be inundated by two metres of water.

9.13am: Also in Victoria today there is the search for eight-year-old Lachlan Collins (pictured below), who disappeared in floodwaters while swimming at Kialla, near Shepparton, yesterday. Divers searched for him until after dark last night and the search resumed today.

Lachlan Collins

Lachlan Collins
Copy picture of Lachlan Collins who disappeared, feared drowned, in a billabong in Kialla, near Shepparton. Flooding. Floods. Picture: Ron Wells
Source: Supplied

In a heartbreaking story on at the Herald Sun, Anthony Dowsley reports:

Ashley, 21, said his adventurous little brother disappeared despite the efforts of siblings Jerry, 12, and Sarah, 10.

"He was my little baby brother," Ashley said.

"He was just a happy little boy, having fun, and he always had a smile on his face," he said.

"He wasn't really a strong swimmer. There's been an accident, and it's all gone wrong. There is no one to blame. I just want to let people know they should stay away from the floodwaters," Ashley said.

Read on here.

9.07am: The focus of the flooding crisis is shifting to Victoria, where evacuation orders have been issued for several areas of Horsham in the state's west. The Herald Sun reports:

The north and south of the town are likely to be cut off today.

Several intersections in the town's CBD are underwater, with the waters in Hamilton St so deep the road is inaccessible.

Water has inundated several businesses, including a petrol station and an electrical store.

Read on here.

8.31am: The Courier Mail is reporting that weather watchers warned of flash flooding and a wall of water which wiped out parts of the Lockyer Valley hours before the tragedy occurred.

But the official alert highlighting the real danger to the region didn't come until after the deluge had already swept through, killing at least 10 people in Grantham and surrounding towns.

7.29am: Good and bad news for Queenslanders, with Main Roads Minister Craig Wallace reinstating road tolls as everyone heads back to work.

"Now the city is back open, back online and back in business, we need the tolls back on and not draining badly needed funds from the state," he said.

On the flipside, residents using town water to clean up the mess from the floods won't be charged, according to Queensland Urban Utilities chief executive Noel Faulkner.

5.43am: Prime Minister Julia Gillard's partner Tim Mathieson defends her commitment to the cause after media commentators claim she looks "out of place" touring the devastated areas.

Mr Mathieson says it's the exhaustion in Ms Gillard's voice in late-night telephone conversations between the two that betrays the personal toll the flood disaster is taking on her.

The Punch: Gillard still struggling to shake the fake tag

4:20am Police will this morning resume combing Grantham as the search for bodies continues.

But authorities are warning that some bodies may never be found and are wrapping up the search.

3am: Residents of the flood-hit town of Condamine will be air-lifted back into the devastated area tomorrow.

The mayor of the Darling Downs town Ray Brown said workers would be flown in today to begin the recovery effort.

2:35am: Horsham was beginning to resemble "a lake" as rising waters split the Victorian town in half.

The SES is predicting 111 houses will be inundated with flooding while the town remains without power until at least tomorrow.

1:30am: At least 12 people remain missing following the devastating floods which rocked Queensland.

Reports have emerged that an alert, highlighting the real danger to the region, didn't come until after the deluge had already swept through, killing at least 10 people in Grantham and surrounding towns.

12am: Emotions continue to rise and fall across Brisbane as troublesome tides keep some residents from their homes, The Courier Mail reported.

This week's high tides are still swamping 19 homes and 74 businesses in low-lying properties, causing heartbreak for men and women forced to watch as their neighbours move back into dry homes.

11pm: Charity Lifeline has been dealt a blow in the Queensland floods, losing its main store in the city of Ipswich.

10:54pm: It's more bad news for Victorians tonight with rising floodwaters continuing to threaten houses in Horsham.

Some residents have started to evacuate their homes and State Emergency Service (SES) is predicting some houses will be flooded overnight before the Wimmera River's predicted peak at midday.

9:30pm: Brisbane's Coronation Drive finally fully reopens after a depth survey and sonar survey today along the base of the rock walls underwater has shown no significant signs of bank slumping.

8.12pm: Tanya from Brisbane has built a Facebook page for Queensland tradies to register and connect with those needing tradies.

7.48pm: Reader Nick Dowse, of West End, has sent in a picture taken on Friday with a note of gratitude:

Kevin Rudd helped us clean our house after the flood. Thank you Mr Rudd! YOU'RE AWESOME!

kevin rudd clean-up

kevin rudd clean-up
Foreign Minister Kevin Rudd assists the Dowse family with their clean-up in West End. Picture: Nick Dowse
Source: Supplied

7.36pm: A little red working dog is embodying the spirit of Queenslanders enduring the state's worst ever floods.  Carrie the red kelpie - who was seriously hurt during last week's floods near Chinchilla and then cut off by floodwaters - has been airlifted to a vet, who describes her as one of the toughest dog's he's ever seen. Read more.

6.48pm: The Courier-Mail has put together this interesting reflection on how Brisbane has reacted to the flood crisis, which asks whether the community spirit will continue after the clean-up is complete.   

6.17pm: Less than 500 residents remain cut off by flooding in northern New South Wales as water levels continue to recede. Among them are 36 residents ub New Angledool and 390 in Goodooga and Weilmoringle, who will remain isolated in the coming days.

6.08pm: Condamine residents will be airlifted back to the flood-devastated community on Wednesday, after they were evacuated last week during the second major flooding event to hit the town in a fortnight.

5.47pm: Queensland tourism operators believe it could be at least a year until the industry returns to normal after the state's devastating floods. Full report here.

5.42pm: Premier Anna Bligh says the boost to the state's struggling construction industry is some positive news to come from the disaster: "If there was ever any silver lining here ... there is a lot of building work that has suddenly come on the agenda.''

Work would be in both the housing market and large civil construction, Ms Bligh says.

5.10pm: Thai tennis champ Tamarine Tanasugarn has joined tennis stars supporting Queensland and Victoria flood victims by wearing a tribute on her arm during her first round match against Russia's Maria Sharapova  during day one of the 2011 Australian Open today.

Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal headlined a group of the world's top players who banded together last night to help raise money for victims. Others at the "Rally for Relief" event included: Andy Roddick, Andy Murray, Novak Djokovic, Ana Ivanovic, Kim Clijsters, Caroline Wozniacki and home-crowd favourites Lleyton Hewitt and Sam Stosur. Fox Sports on last night's event.

5.00pm: Coronation Drive in Brisbane has re-opened but traffic is reduced to one lane westbound and two lanes eastbound. There are minor delays being reported and motorists have been advised to avoid the crippled riverside road if possible. More on what's happening on the roads here at The Courier Mail.

4.57pm: Three hundred extra Centrelink staff have arrived in the flood-affected region, as disaster assistance payments top $100 million.

Human Services Minister Tanya Plibersek Centrelink's Emergency Assistance Hotline, 180 22 66, was taking tens of thousands of calls a day and priority was being given to flood victims. She asked anyone with other inquiries to be patient.

4.43pm: Anna Bligh has launched an independent Commission of Inquiry into the flood disaster. The inquiry to be headed by Queensland Justice Cate Holmes will have the full powers of a royal commission and is due to provide an interim report in August.

Deputy commissioners will be former Queensland police commissioner Jim O'Sullivan and dam expert Phil Cummins.

Full report at The Courier Mail here.

4.21pm: Treasurer Wayne Swan says flooding across eastern Australia is likely to be the most costly natural disaster in the nation's history.

"It will involve billions of dollars of Commonwealth money and also State Government money and there's going to be impacts on local governments as well,'' Mr Swan said.

"It will be a question of years as we go through the rebuilding process."

The flooding would also impact on the cost of living in terms of higher food prices, he said.

4.18pm: A navy minesweeper assigned to search through the vast array of debris washed down Brisbane's flooded river has been delayed because of stiff currents on its way up from Sydney.

HMAS Huon was supposed to start hunting for potentially hazardous items in Moreton Bay and the Brisbane River today but will not arrive until tomorrow, reports say.

4.11pm: Queensland rents are set to soar and house prices plummet in the wake of the floods disaster, according to real estate agents.

LJ Hooker Indooroopilly principal real estate agent Scott Gemmell said it could be 10 to 15 years before some flooded suburbs regain their popularity.

"In some cases, houses will be unsellable," Mr Gemmell said. "As we've seen before, with 1974, time goes on and the concern will decrease but again that could take 10 or 15 years to occur."

He expects a surge in property for sale listings later this month. More here.

3.33pm: It's exactly a week since the flash floods in Toowoomba and Lockyer Valley. A minute's silence is being observed.

The official death toll has risen to 20. Queensland Premier Anna Bligh said the updated toll follows the discovery of a body in Grantham this morning and the confirmation that a man found in a vehicle at Ipswich last week died of flood-related causes.

3.19pm: Levees could be built along the Brisbane River to improve the city's flood defences, Premier Anna Bligh says. The Government will also look at rezoning land to do this, she says.

"We have to ask ourselves those hard questions about how to become a more resilient community in the face of these big natural disasters because we know in a tropical state we will see them again,'' Ms Bligh says.

3.14pm: The floods will mean more work for builders but they don't need extra help from tradies outside the state, says Master Builders Queensland head Graham Cuthbert.

"There will certainly be increased building activity as part of the rebuilding process but It's a very sad way for it to happen,'' Mr Cuthbert said. "There has been 34,000 workers who lost their jobs in the last two years; we'll require all those resources to cope with the recovery process."

2.50pm: Queensland Opposition Leader John-Paul Langbroek has praised Anna Bligh's handling of the floods crisis. "I think from the perspective of giving those updates to people and giving the briefings, I give the Premier a big tick," Mr Langbroek said.

He's just not so sure about her Government's handling of flood mitigation strategies or the economy's ability to cope with the clean-up bill.

2.41pm: Brisbane's Boardwalk Bar & Bistro has had to ditch about $140,000 worth of wine ruined by floodwaters including $600 bottles of Krug."It's just too much of a risk," owner Grant Johnston says. "We've washed them down but underneath any of the caps, there could be anything." More on this story here.

2.07pm: Most schools in Queensland should be open for the start of first term next week, Education Minister Geoff Wilson says. Ninety-two state schools, 14 TAFE campuses and about 80 kindergarten and childcare centres have been hit by floods but Mr Wilson said the Department was confident they would soon be up-and-running.

A plan was still needed for students at Grantham, which is still cordoned off to residents as authorities search for the missing.

1.56pm: Acting Gympie Mayor Tony Perrett says the floods have done "probably tens of millions of dollars" worth of damage to the local road network as affected councils start to assess the repair bill today.

1.31pm: Traffic on major arterial roads is flowing freely in Brisbane. The Gateway and Ipswich Motorways and the Warrego and Bruce Highways have no delays heading into the city. More at The Courier Mail.

1.16pm: Thirteen South Australian police are on their way to Queensland to help deal with looting, joining Operation Safeguard for about 10 days.

1.02pm: Brisbane Lord Mayor Campbell Newman is urging workers to stagger start times and to use public transport, which will be free until Friday.

"It is absolutely vital for the recovery of the city that the economic heart beat starts from right now,'' Mr Newman said at the Rocklea Markets in southern Brisbane. "The last thing we need is people all trying to enter and leave the city at once, when we have lanes closed on a major arterial road like Coronation Drive - it will cause traffic chaos."

Rail and bus services are almost back to normal, running at 96 per cent capacity, but about 100 traffic lights remain out. Ferry services aren't expected to resume for another three months.

12.50pm: Treasurer Wayne Swan has flagged changes to the insurance industry, amid concerns over insurers refusing to compensate people who thought they were covered for flood damage.

"I don't think there's any doubt that there is a need for reform in this area," Mr Swan said. "But, at the moment, we're concentrating on dealing with the practical realities of what people are facing today.''

He also warned Australians could expect an increase in the cost of living as a result of the floods, which have hit food bowl regions, including the Lockyer Valley.

12.26pm: Queensland's Natural Resources Minister Stephen Robertson says there will be a review into the Wivenhoe Dam's workings after criticism of water releases before the deluge.

But Mr Robertson says all the evidence showed SEQ Water did: "everything they could to minimise the impacts of what was an extraordinary event''.

Wivenhoe Dam is about 120 per cent of capacity, and releases are still occurring. Somerset Dam is about 100 per cent capacity now.

12.20pm: Gold Coast Titans players and supporters have arrived in the devastated city of Ipswich to help. Almost 150 have turned out.

12.15pm: Country music star Luke Austen may have to change his wedding plans after the venue flooded. He is supposed to be getting married at fellow artist Troy Cassar-Daley's farm at Fernvale near the Brisbane River in March. Austen and partner Jessica will be helping with the clean-up.

12.11pm: News.com.au Money Stuff blogger (and Queenslander) Justine Davies poses the question - if we have Medicare should we have "Disastercare" as well? Join the discussion here.

11.49am: With 75 per cent of the state declared a disaster zone and costs running into the billions some major new infrastructure projects will have to be reconsidered, Queensland Transport Minister Rachel Nolan says. Projects like Brisbane's cross-city rail project could be delayed with priority given to the salvage operation.

Rail lines to Toowoomba could take at least three months to reopen and there is damage on the Ipswich line. Services are only operating to Darra with Ipswich, Gailes and Goodna stations completely inundated 

11.40am: The Condamine River has peaked at 14.67m overnight, below the 15.2m record set earlier this month but it will be some days before the 150 evacuated residents will be able to return to the town.

Western Downs Mayor Ray Brown: "We'll try to establish, with the assistance of the federal defence, a small tent city for an evacuation centre inside the town as it will still be waterlogged."

11.31am: There will be a minute's silence observed at 2.33pm (AEST) today to mark exactly a week since the flash floods in Toowoomba and Lockyer Valley.

The death toll still stands at 18, most in valley communities. Police say grave fears are held for 14 others who remain missing from the area.

11.27am: Lord Mayor Campbell Newman warns there could be bodies lying undiscovered in Brisbane homes and urged people to check where there had not been activity.

"We are concerned, sadly, about the potential for people to be found who may have died," he said.

"We're concerned, as well, that there may be elderly people or other people who have literally had a nervous breakdown. They may be sitting in their homes in a dark room and need help now."

11.08am: Anna Bligh says it's clear many Brisbane residents will be homeless for some time and is considering options including "work-camp" style hubs to house them.

"We are currently looking at how we can provide temporary accommodation. It may be necessary in some places to have, effectively, a temporary work-camp set up," she told the ABC today.

"We have a large homelessness task ahead of us and we're looking at every option."

The Premier has convened a special Cabinet meeting today to formulate a detailed recovery plan.

10.33am: Brisbane's ferries are likely to be out of action for three months after the flood wrecked terminals. Brisbane Lord Mayor Campbell Newman said a damage assessment yesterday showed the situation was "grim" and the repair bill would reach up to $100 million.

9.26am: One of the most gripping reads of the day is Trent Dalton's piece in the Courier Mail, about the Gailes Caravan Village. An excerpt follows below - here's a photo of Steve Tunny in what remains of his home. He features in the story.

Stephen Tunny floods

Stephen Tunny floods
NEWS-BCM 16/1/11 Brisbane floods .Volunteers,residents and the army clean up Gailes Caravan Village which was totally inundated by floodwaters.Stephen Tunny in what was his home .Pix-Rob Maccoll Picture: Rob Maccoll
Source: The Courier-Mail

"EXCUSE the mess,'' said storeman Steve Tunny as we stood on the crockery cupboard of his upturned and crushed caravan, walls stained in the excrement which ran from his toilet when the flood of the century turned Gailes Caravan Village into a no-go toxic scrapyard.

"I really wasn't expecting visitors,'' he said.

Mr Tunny has watched well-intentioned volunteers turn back at the gates of the park, repelled by the intensity of the smell.

"Don't breathe too deep,'' warned his neighbour Doug Tate, at the bottom, lower section of the village. "There are diseases in this air. You are seriously risking your life just standing here.''

This was the village of the damned, where 100 permanent residents were made homeless last Wednesday night when 8m of floodwater filled with sewage from the neighbouring bomb site that is the suburb of Goodna engulfed it.

Read on here.

Also today, Koren Helbig reports from Murphys Creek where locals held a minute's silence yesterday, and Paul Syvret tells the story of Natasha Ireland, who has an eight-day-old baby and is now living on an indoor cricket pitch after losing her home in Ipswich.

8.22am: "It's the dark side of the human spirit," is how Sydney's Daily Telegraph kicks off its report today on a range of scams that criminals are trying to use to exploit people affected by the floods.

Queensland Deputy Police Commissioner Ian Stewart said "the vultures have started to come out" and a number of scams were operating in flood-ravaged areas.

Some of them involved bogus tradespeople demanding money in advance for repairs and clean-ups, then disappearing without doing anything.

Other scammers were phoning or electronically contacting householders, saying they knew best how to handle money from federal and state authorities, then demanding their bank details.

"Don't fall into the trap of handing over any details of that sort," Mr Stewart said.

Read on here.

7.45am: Talkback radio has been swamped with outrage over Greens leader Bob Brown's weekend gaffe about the floods being the fault of coal miners.

5.56am: Australia's one-day cricket hero Shane Watson's thoughts are solely on his home town of Ipswich.

After playing the innings of his life, scoring a career-best 161 to give Australia a record-breaking win in yesterday's opening one-day match of the season against England, Watson said cricket was only a game and revealed he would be heading to Ipswich to help those battling the floods.

4:30am An engineer has claimed the Brisbane River flooding would have been largely avoided if dam operators had raised their releases of water on the weekend before last Monday's deluge.

Engineer Michael O'Brien said the river flood and the devastation of thousands of homes was inevitable after a decision to release relatively low volumes of water from the Wivenhoe Dam on Friday, January 7, and over the ensuing weekend.

3: 50am Volunteers pitching in to help Queenslanders recover from the floods are being urged to remember their local small businesses.

Treasurer Andrew Fraser said small businesses shouldn't be forgotten, because the sooner they were up and running again, the sooner the economy could recover.

3:05am The Queensland government will this morning hold an emergency cabinet meeting to discuss the flood recovery.

Premier Anna Bligh said cabinet didn't normally meet at this time of year, but the recovery mission it faced was "exponentially'' larger than that it was facing this time last week.

2:00 am Pope Benedict XVI is calling for sustained relief efforts for those left homeless or isolated by flooding in Australia.

The Pope told pilgrims in St Peter's Square yesterday that he was praying for people in Australia, Brazil, the Philippines and Sri Lanka who were suffering because of "devastating" flooding.

12:28am NSW police are helping their police brethren in Queensland with flood duties.

The first contingent of 55 NSW Police Force officers will leave for Brisbane from Richmond Air Base this morning.

12:00am Queensland's capital braces for chaos today as thousands of workers attempt to return to business amid gridlocked traffic, crippled infrastructure and electricity cuts.

As piles of debris form around the city, Brisbane will today operate from a CBD that is still partially offline.

Lord Mayor Campbell Newman wants workers back in the CBD but concedes there will be difficulties.

11:30pm Brisbane was breathing a sign of relief with Somerset Dam having emptied about 90 per cent of its flood compartment and Wivenhoe almost 60 per cent.

The critically important releases mean the dams will again be able to function as flood mitigators should further rain occur or cyclones approach the flood-hit southeast.

10:40pm Meanwhile, kind Brisbane residents still eager to lend a hand after this weekend's can log onto Facebook as city councillors reach out for more volunteers through the social networking site.

Councillors had already posted requests on Brisbane City Council's Facebook page for 350 volunteers to join in clean up  tomorrow.

10:30pm While things may be beginning to look up in Queensland, residents in rural Victoria were dealt a blow as they were warned to prepare for more flooding.

The towns of Echuca and Horsham are set to be hit by their worst floods in 100 years as the state deals with unprecedented conditions.

8.45pm Police say more people have been charged with looting today and warn that a 200-strong taskforce will patrol flood affected areas in Ipswich and Brisbane, boosting existing police resources.

7.58pm News.com.au reader Kevin wishes to inform people that Blunder Road off the Ipswich Motorway is still not open to traffic.

"There was major flooding here... Blunder Road was flooded almost up to the shopping complex that contains the Oxley tavern and ALDI supermarket, opposite Oakmont Mews housing complex and next door to Woolworths/Caltex service station... We still cannot get into the complex and Blunder Road is still closed."

7.28pm The body of a middle-aged man has been found in the Lockyer Valley, taking the death toll to 18.

6:30pm Some of the world's best tennis players including Rafael Nadal, Kim Clijsters and Samantha Stosur have come together for a Queensland flood relief match, raising $1.5 million.

6:06pm It is estimated that 6500 Victorian properties remain without any electricity due to flooding. Powercor hopes to restore power to residents at St Arnaud, Donald and Boort today. It has already been restored at Wedderburn.

6:00pm Evacuated residents from two of NSW's worst-hit towns have received the all-clear to return home after floodwaters receded at Boggabilla and Toomelah. Approximately 7000 people across NSW remain cut off after storms battered the state's north and floodwaters flowed downstream from the Queensland floods.

5:38pm Greens leader Bob Brown has been warned by the Federal Government that now is not the time to be "pointing the finger" after he accused coal companies of helping to cause the Queensland floods.

"It's the single biggest cause, burning coal, for climate change and it must take its major share of responsibility for the weather events we are seeing unfolding now," Bob Brown said.

5:29pm Police are urging people travelling into the Brisbane CBD tomorrow to rethink or adjust their travel plans as an increase in road traffic is anticipated.

“We expect a lot of people to attempt to return to work tomorrow,” Brisbane District Disaster Coordinator Assistant Commissioner Peter Martin said.

“This will cause problems for emergency workers and the works that they are carrying out.

“If you have to come in to work please take a train, bus, or car pool, with fewer cars in the CBD the quicker emergency services can complete their work."

5:10pm Brisbane needs to return to work and economic activity urgently, the city's Lord Mayor Campbell Newman said. AAP reports:


Mr Newman said the CBD would be fully operational apart from four buildings where efforts to restore power were continuing.

He urged employers to help ease traffic congestion by staggering workers start and finish times.

"The peaks will be spread out and that will help us manage issues such as Coronation Drive," he said.

"We won't know about Coronation Drive for a week... About the potential for a bank slump, there's a real risk of it going into the river."

4:11pm Emergency crews will continue to search homes, fields and creeks in the Lockyer Valley in coming days as hopes for those missing after the floods begin to fade.

4:08pm Emergency workers are sandbagging Culgoa, Victoria, to prepare for a devastating flood.

4:06pm Energex has estimated that power has been restored to 3000 more homes and businesses in Brisbane.

4:03pm Queensland residents are being warned to be careful when cleaning up after "a couple of people" were tested for possible flood-related infections. Dead animals, rotten food and broken chemical bottles have been found among the debris. AAP reports:

"There are a couple of people out of one of the affected towns, particularly Theodore, we are waiting on tests on what they may be suffering from," Queensland Premier Anna Bligh said.

"There's no absolute confirmed evidence that it has anything to do with floodwaters."

3.55pm A flood surge is expected to arrive in Kerang, north-western Victoria in the next few days.

3.25pm It has been Groundhog Day for residents in flood-prone Torwood St in Auchenflower, Brisbane, after a tide from the Brisbane River sent a wave of water down the street yesterday, undoing two days of street cleaning efforts.

3.13pm A Facebook group has been created to name and shame businesses allegedly overcharging for basic items. News.com.au reader David pointed out one post about one Queensland bakery on Glebe Road selling bread for $0.80 a loaf - or free if the customer didn't have any money.

It comes after news.com.au reader Michael noted how some shops were charging "astronomical prices" for basic items - some businesses in North Ipswich and Brassall were charging $15 for bread and milk, while another in Leichhardt was charging $10 for bread.

3.02pm While floodwaters in Charlton, Victoria, have dropped from yesterday's levels, the town's main street remains inundated. More than 400 properties were evacuated after the Avoca River swept through the town 24 hours earlier. Local businessman Peter Gretgrix said:

"It's shocking, devastating, terrible, heart wrenching. We're at September levels at the moment, but she's gone down a lot. We went on after September about how much this is going to test a lot of people ... we've just been hit so many times."
 

2.40pm The regional Queensland city of Bundaberg has moved back into recovery mode after being besieged by floodwaters twice in two weeks.

2.31pm Residents of northern Tasmania struck by floods in recent days should check on their neighbours, police have urged.

2.02pm Greens leader Bob Brown says the coal mining industry should foot the bill for the Queensland floods because it helped cause them.

Read more here.

1.53pm Residents of the small Grampians town of Dadswells Bridge, Victoria, are cautiously returning to their homes after they were evacuated due to flooding. Homes and businesses have been busy with holidaymakers left stranded since Friday and tourists already in the area unable to leave.

Read the latest update here.

1.49pm Floodwaters have begun to recede in Rochester in central Victoria but the town is a long way from being "open" again. The floodwaters have cut the town in two, leaving many stranded on the wrong side of the river.

Read the latest update here.

1.31 Residents of the evacuated Darling Downs town of Condamine must wait until at least the middle of the week to return home, with the Condamine River expected to peak around 14.8 metres at approximately midnight tonight. This is below the 15.2 metre record set at the start of the month, however the river is flowing faster now, raising concerns about structure damage to properties.

Read more about the Condamine floodwaters here.

1.24pm: Charitable Australians are being warned to be vigilant amid reports of scammers exploiting the outpouring of generosity for the Queensland flood appeal. There have been reports of fraudulent emails, websites, phone calls and door-to-door collectors.

Read the full story here.

12.27pm: News.com.au reader Bill Vo has sent in a photo of debris at Blunder Road in Oxley that gives you an idea of what clean-up crews are dealing with today.

Queensland floods

Queensland floods
Photo of flood debris on Blunder Road, Oxley, submitted by reader Bill Vo. Picture: Bill Vo
Source: news.com.au

Another reader, Melissa Malic, said she had idea how bad the damage really was until she saw - and smelled - it in person.

I went and volunteered yesterday for the big clean-up and spent the day at Chelmer. The smell will stay with me forever. The extent of damage does not become a realisation until you're standing right in front of it. God help southeast Queensland. My heart goes out to those affected, but I am proud to be a Queenslander.

While volunteering, Ms Malic came across this piano, which she decided to document.

Queensland floods

Queensland floods
Photo of piano damaged by flood at house in Chelmer submitted by reader Melissa Malic. Picture: Melissa Malic
Source: news.com.au

If you've got stories or pictures you'd like to share, please send them to news@news.com.au.

12.03pm: The Queensland flood death toll has risen to 17 after the body of another victim was found in the Lockyer Valley.

State Premier Anna Bligh said the body of a "mature aged" woman had been recovered at a home in Grantham in the Lockyer Valley.

"Just to give people an inkling of what police are working through in Grantham... this house had already been searched on two occasions,'' Ms Bligh said.

"Some of the houses are full of a lot of debris."

Read the full update here.

11.58am: Brisbane's Rocklea Markets will reopen tomorrow in a limited capacity, however shoppers have been warned that some products will be unavailable.

"There's product, but it may not be exactly what people need or want but that's because there are other variables," said Brisbane Markets Limited chief executive Andrew Young.

Mr Young said Rocklea Markets had been hit hard by the flooding. Losses included 80 forklifts, a dozen trucks and five cars which were completely submerged.

11.26am: As Queenslanders work together to rebuild and recover, Victorians are still preparing for the worstFlood warnings in Echucha have been brought forward, with the Campaspe River expected to peak at midday (AEDT) today instead of tonight as first thought.

Update: The SES has revised its prediction again. The Campaspe River is now expected to peak late this evening.

Thousands of Victorians have already been forced to flee their homes. You can keep up to date with the floods in Victoria here.

10.22am: Some unlucky Brisbane residents have been flooded again. Torwood and Vincent streets, in the inner-city suburb of Milton, had finally dried out yesterday after last week's deluge.

Today they're back under water.

A photographer on the scene said water was knee-deep in some sections of the streets after a high tide on the Brisbane River. Police had not closed either street.

9.39am: The clean-up operation in Brisbane has moved into its second phase with thousands of volunteers lending a hand. AAP reports:

AN army of good Samaritans have hit the streets of Brisbane again as the flood-ravaged capital's massive clean-up operation moves into its second phase.

Up to 12,000 rubber-gloved, mop-wielding volunteers launched the campaign yesterday.

And they were just as keen to help out some more today.

But the main job this time was to get rid of a mountain of debris - hundreds of tons of it - collecting in streets across the city.

Here's what one of those streets - in Graceville, in Brisbane's southwest - looked like yesterday. The photo was taken by Brad Hunter:

Debris in Graceville

Debris in Graceville
Debris piled on the side of the road in Haldane Street, Graceville, after the Queensland floods. Picture: Brad Hunter
Source: The Courier-Mail

8.26am: Police identified six more victims overnight. They have now released the details of 10 victims. Here is the list.

Six of the victims came from the town of Grantham. The death toll remains at 16. There are grave fears for another 14 people still missing, including a one-year-old girl and her grandmother.

Police revised the number of missing down from 28 yesterday. They say they have dealt with at least 200 missing persons reports since the flooding began.

8.03am: Queensland Premier Anna Bligh has announced that a new rail link to Brisbane's west will be opened a week early to aid the recovery effort. Trains will start running from the new station at Richlands tomorrow.

"Many residents in this area of Brisbane have lost everything and our public transport network is vital in getting them back on their feet again," Ms Bligh said.

7.23am: Energy provider Energex says it reconnected another 9000 properties yesterday. That leaves about 20,000 to go.

The properties still without power include 11,393 homes and businesses in Brisbane, 5797 in Ipswich, 1193 in the Lockyer Valley and 1434 in the Brisbane Valley.

110 workers from other power companies including Country Energy in New South Wales are due to begin assisting Energex staff later today and tomorrow.

7.05am: Some light relief amid this morning's sobering news stories. A strange flood hashtag - #floodzombie - is currently trending on Twitter, though no one seems to know why. This update by @mypocketshurt may shed some light on it.

#floodzombie

#floodzombie
Screenshot of #floodzombie Twitter update. Picture: news.com.au
Source: news.com.au

6.42am: Police have released the names of 14 people missing and the names of several of the 16 people confirmed dead. The list was published overnight and can be found here. The missing 14 people are all from Toowoomba and the Lockyer Valley.

3.20am: Charlotte Bull, 22, captured on video the terrifying moments when a freak flood hit her parents' home at Postmans Ridge in Queensland.

Mobile phone footage of a Lockyer Valley family trapped inside their home as flood waters rise. Warning: Graphic content / Charlotte Bull.

3.15am: As a number of Queensland cities and towns set about cleaning up after major floods, the small town of Condamine is also waiting to be cleaned up - by another wave of water.

1.53am: Thousands of marooned residents are waking up on Sunday morning to the aftermath of floodwaters that have inundated parts of NSW.

About 7000 people remain cut off from storms that battered the state's north or were downstream from Queensland floods.

Sixty-three local government areas in NSW have been declared natural disaster areas since December as a result of flooding, but the situation is set to improve.

11.45pm: Queensland Police have issued the following warning to volunteers helping in the flood relief effort:

Reminder to Queensland residents and volunteers assisting in the flood clean-up: protect yourself from the dangers of asbestos by ensure you wear appropriate gear. For further information go to www.asbestos-disease.com.au or call 1300 369 915.

11.07pm: Police are planning to release the names of the 28 people missing feared dead after the horror flash floods that hit Toowoomba and the Lockyer Valley.

The death toll from the floods stands at 16 but there are said to be specific "grave concerns" for a further 12 people on that list of 28 who disappeared after a wall of water destroyed homes and buildings on Monday. Of those dozen people, 11 of them come from just two families who lived at Murphys Creek

There had been some confusion over the number of missing persons overnight Friday after the figure had been revised down from 53 to 20. But Queensland Police deputy commissioner Ian Stewart said on Saturday it had been revised back up to 28.

8.49pm: The man in charge of rebuilding Queensland, Major-General Mick Slater, says he thinks the clean-up will happen more quickly than people expected the Courier Mail reports.

"I'm very optimistic about this," Maj-Gen Slater said.

"I'm buoyed by the support people are offering."

8.26pm: David Moore, the owner of Brisbane’s iconic Drift café formerly known as Oxley's on the River, was overwhelmed by by the army of volunteers who arrived unannounced to assist in salvaging the restaurant.

"People started arriving at 6am and there's more than 200 people here," Mr Moore says.

Images of a section of the cafe, with tables set for a function that never was, floating downstream and crashing into a bridge were beamed around the world.

Read more here

7.43pm: Facebook pages have been set up to help reunite people separated from their pets by the floodwaters.

From reader Vera Conroy: Here is a valuable link for lost and found animals.

7.14pm: Princess Mary has written to Prime Minister Julia Gillard, expressing the sadness of the Danish royal couple over the natural disaster.

"We've been following very closely the events that are unfolding as a result of the massive flooding in Queensland," Mary said as she left hospital with her newborn twins.

6.58pm: Brisbane Lord mayor Campbell Newman says even he was surprised by the number of volunteers who stepped forward to help dig the city out of the mire.

6.33pm: From reader Paul Barnes - Brisbane's Hawthorne Ferry Wharf

Floods

Floods
Floods
Source: news.com.au

5.39pm:The grim search for bodies in Grantham - where up to 28 people are still missing after last Monday's inland tsunami - is expected to be finished soon the Courier Mail reports.

5:09pm: Queensland Police are asking people to check on their neighbours.

“Now is the time to check in on those who live nearby to make sure they are okay and see if they need any help, particularly in rural and semi-rural areas,” said Acting Inspector Gareth Bosley from the District Disaster Co-ordination Centre.

4.15pm: Prime Minister Julia Gillard is continuing her tour of flood-affected areas. Today she's in northern New South Wales and plans to visit Victorian flood victims on Monday.

3.54pm: The names of the people missing in the Lockyer Valley are expected to be published to establish whether any of them are in fact alive. Read more.

3.35pm: Volunteers cleaning up flood-ravaged homes and businesses in Queensland have been warned of the dangers of asbestos, live electrical equipment and infection. Read more.

3.20pm: Reader Dave writes: "I spent the last couple of nights building a new site called HelpYourMates which maintains a registry of people who have or need accommodation, food, goods and services. There are lots of concerned and generous citizens out there who are willing to help in whatever way they can."

2.51pm: US President Barack Obama has called Prime Minister Julia Gillard to offer his sympathy to flood victims. A statement from the White House says he reiterated his offer of assistance to Australia’s disaster response efforts, adding that "the US stood ready to support our friends in Australia in recovering from this tragic natural disaster".

2.39pm: Fitness First clubs in flood-affected areas are opening their doors to people affected by the floods and those working on the recovery to use showers, toilets, staff rooms and with workout facilities. The details: 

Fitness First clubs available to help those affected by the floods are Carindale, Fortitude Valley, Mt Gravatt, Southport, Springwood, Wynnum, Indooroopilly, Lutwyche and Toowong.  While the Gold Coast has not been as badly affected, Fitness First clubs at Southport, Mermaid Waters and Robina are also open to people who may have been evacuated to this area and are in need of facilities. Three Fitness First clubs remain closed due to the floods. The clubs currently closed are Brisbane City, North Quay and Jindalee.

2.25pm: Two lanes of Brisbane's Coronation Drive remain closed amid fears the road could fall into the water because of the unsteadiness of the river bank. Engineers have not been able to inspect the road for structural damage because of the high level of the Brisbane River.

2.05pm: The rise in the number of missing people - to 28 - comes after police became aware of a separate list of missing persons compiled by the local council in the Lockyer area overnight. "We've been working hard to reconcile their list against ours. Unfortunately, our list has now got a registered 28 persons that we are investigating as missing persons," Queensland Police deputy commissioner Ian Stewart said.

1.28pm: The number of volunteers who have turned out to help in the Brisbane clean-up effort has exceeded expectations, with a 7000-strong army of volunteers signing up at the Doomben Racecourse, Boondall Entertainment Centre, Mount Coot-tha Botanic Gardens and the MacGregor High School Assembly Hall registration centres today.

1.15pm: The flood peak from the swollen Macintyre River has passed Goondiwindi, leaving the border town unscathed by the biggest drenching in its history. The peak of 10.64m remained safely below the 11m levee banks.

12.44pm: A reader's comment:

I volunteered down at Rosalive Village today to help shop owners with the cleanup.  The spirit of these business owners is truly amazing considering so many of them have lost nearly everything - they are truly and inspiration. I just wanted to say how truly disgusted I was when around mid-morning Tony Abbott showed up with a film crew in his crisp blue and white checkered shirt, picked up bag of rubbish for a photo op/interview and then buggered off again.  Truly disgusting - if you're not part of the solution Tony, you're part of the problem - either help or go home!  This is a natural disaster not an "election run" to try and win voters. Nicole, Chermside

12:28pm: Twenty-eight people remain unaccounted for in Queensland, Sky News reports.

12:20pm: About 6000 people are still stranded the NSW north coast as flooding in the state eases. The swollen Clarence River has stranded resident in the downstream towns of Iluka, Yamba and Maclean.The SES estimates the isolation will continue for the next couple of days.

Sixty-three local government areas in NSW have been declared natural disaster areas since December as a result of flooding but the situation is set to improve.

11am: Thousands of houses and businesses in flood-hit areas of Queensland have been reconnected to the power grid but about 28,750 homes are still without electricityThe Courier-Mail reports. 

10:55am:
Queensland's flood crisis could give the nations's car industry a boost, AAP reports. With 86 communities across the state now affected by the floods, plenty of vehicles are likely to have been damaged, many beyond repair, the Royal Automobile Club of Queensland (RACQ) said.

Motorists whose cars have been affected by even minor flooding are also being urged to get them checked by a mechanic. The RACQ is offering members in southeast Queensland free inspections for cars affected by flooding. Inspections can be booked by calling 1800 623 456.

10:40am: We received this email from one of our readers. Do you agree?
Hi, My name is Sarah long, and I am trying to convince Australian governments to put Australia day celebration funds towards the qld flood relief instead. Please try and spread the message- we don't need fireworks but we do need our country.

10:10am: Death toll stands at 16 but Premier Bligh warns the number is likely to rise, Sky News reports.

Energex has also warned some Brisbane residents could be without power for weeks.

9:50am: Police are investigating a sexual assault claim at one of the flood evacuation centres in Brisbane.

9:00am: Victoria Floods -
 Evacuation orders issued for several towns in Victoria, as floodwaters submerge hundreds of homes. Major flood warnings are in place. Full coverage of the Victoria Floods at the Herald Sun.

8:28am: For the first time since the flood crisis began, huge areas of Queensland are bathed in sunshine. The skies are blue from Mackay in the north to Longreach in the west, down to Goondiwindi on the NSW border and across the Darling Downs to Brisbane.

Forecaster Brian Rolleston says the only inclement weather is some thunderstorm activity with monsoonal rain in the north and far west. But none of that rain will affect the flood areas. Read full story here.

Check your local weather forecast

8:00am:  Video: Floods tragedy and hope: A compelling look back at the Queensland flood disaster - images of carnage, despair and triumph of community spirit

7:50am: The number of people missing after Queensland's flood crisis has fallen to 20. The figure has been revised down from 53. The death toll from the floods remains at 16.

The missing are all from the Toowoomba and Lockyer Valley region, where a wall of water destroyed homes and buildings on Monday. Grave concerns remain for 12 people, including 11 from two families at Murphys Creek.

7:45am: AN army of more than 22,000 volunteers are set to march into action and continue Queensland's mammoth flood clean-up efforts. There will be 1200 defence force personnel involved.

"My message to the community is this is a marathon, not a race. It will take time to clean up so please pace yourselves and be careful,'' Brisbane's Lord Mayor Campbell Newman said.

"For those who can't help this weekend, don't worry as there will be many more days when your help will be much appreciated.''

The death toll rose to 16 yesterday following the discovery of a woman's body near Grantham. Fifty-three people remain unaccounted for, including 12 for whom police hold grave fears.

Read more about the clean-up effort and how you can help here.

7:12am: This Google Map shows the extent of the flooding in Queensland. Click here to view full version.

Google Flood Map

Google Flood Map
Google flood map / Supplied
Source: Supplied

6:45am: Prince Charles says the floods in Australia are "almost impossible to imagine", and has made a donation to the relief efforts. He also paid tribute to the work of the emergency services and the armed forces in Brisbane, AAP reports.

3.41am: The people of Goondiwindi last night pinned their hopes on the strength of the river bank levee wall as raging floodwaters surrounded the town.

3.11am: 2000 evacuated as floods hit Victoria's north.

2.01am: Foreign Minister Kevin Rudd treated for infection from floodwater

12.50am: Brisbane warned about floods as far back as October, reports The Courier-Mail.

11.05pm: Westpac bank has warned on Twitter of potential flood relief donation fraud:

Potential fraud - QLD Flood Appeal. We’re not contacting customers to make donations. If you’ve responded to such a request, call us 132032.

9.42pm: Across Queensland more than 4400 people remain in 50 evacuation centres, with 7500 more registered as being displaced from their homes tonight. There are also six evacuation centres operating in Victoria, while several Tasmanian communities have also been evacuated today.

8.38pm: The call is out for volunteers to join the clean-up in Brisbane's worst-affected areas tomorrow. Volunteers should bring shovels and brooms to one of four registration centres across the city. Full details.

7.48pm: It may take months before the bodies of those killed in the Lockyer Valley flood are released for burial, and some victims may never be found, the Queensland coroner says. He has visited the devastated region to meet with forensic experts and detectives, and is likely to oversee an inquest into how the tragedy occurred.

7.27pm: Another case of looting has been reported in Brisbane. The Courier-Mail reports two brazen thieves made a slow-speed getaway in a bright red canoe after security staff spotted them trying to break into the Fairfield 7-Eleven on Brisbane's southside this morning.

7.18pm: Animal rescue workers hold concerns for joeys washed from their mothers' pouches, waterlogged birds unable to find food and destroyed habitats. There are also fears for animals like wombats and echidnas living in burrows likely to have drowned.

7.05pm: In a nationwide disaster update from AAP outlining the floods that are crippling every corner of Australia, climate meteorologist Harvey Stern says:

If you go back (about 130 years) there are only two other La Nina years that are comparable, being the one that caused the Queensland floods in 1974 and one in the mid '50s.

6.02pm: Thanks to our readers and the news.com.au team, we've added more before and after pictures showing the impact of the flooding at several locations.

5.14pm: The federal government will put pressure on insurance companies over their "no policy, no payout" position. The Australian reports:

WAYNE Swan and Bill Shorten will meet insurance companies in Brisbane today amid growing political pressure for insurers to show compassion to Queensland flood victims.

Financial Services Minister Bill Shorten is flying in as anger grows over the companies' "no policy, no payout" stance.

Julia Gillard also called for insurance companies to do their best to help people.

"I would be hoping that we see insurance companies extending as much compassion as they possibly can and today in Brisbane the Treasurer Wayne Swan and the Assistant Treasurer Bill Shorten are meeting with some of the major insurers to talk to them about just that,'' she said this morning.

Read on here.

5.13pm: Authorities say they are no longer concerned about potential flooding in Goondiwindi.

5.08pm: Another fatality has been confirmed with a woman's body being found at Grantham, bringing the official death toll to 16. Updating the media this afternoon, Queensland Premier Anna Bligh said 53 people were still missing.

4.40pm: A tropical cyclone that has formed in the Coral Sea will have no impact on flood devastated Queensland. The weather bureau says Tropical Cyclone Zelia was located about 445km northeast of Cairns at 1pm (AEST) and was expected to track southeast, away from Queensland's coastline.

4.14pm: Charlotte Beckelin and her family had to swim for their lives to survive the flood. They moved to St Lucia from Sweden six months ago and told the ABC they never thought something like this would happen in Australia.

This is something that happens in Cambodia or Vietnam, but not here. We never expected this ... You just want to survive and get out, because there were cockroaches in the water and there were diapers and I guess one or two snakes.

3.46pm: A staggering map has been released by Queensland Police showing the current search area stretching from Toowoomba through Gatton and towards Ipswich. It covers over 250km. The original is on the Queensland Police Facebook page

Police floods search area

Police floods search area
Source: Supplied

3.25pm: One of the more bizarre stories around the floods has been confirmed - there are sharks swimming down the main street in Goodna, some 30km from the coast.

2.39pm: A story from Sydney where a group of homeless people have given their last few coins to help the flood relief effort, helping to raise just over $100. "It's the true Aussie spirit," said local resident Carole Ann King. Read all about it here.

The Socceroos are also doing their bit raising flood relief awareness at the Asia Cup. They will wear special shirts during their warm up before tackling Korea in Qatar. FoxSports has all the details.

2.18pm: Just in from AAP: One of Brisbane's major arterial roads may be at risk of falling into the river.

Lord Mayor Campbell Newman says Coronation Drive, which connects the CBD with the western suburbs, has been slow to reopen because of structural concerns.

He said the high river level and silt has made it difficult to inspect potential damage, but that council engineers were concerned the lanes closest to the river could fall into the water because of the unsteadiness of the river bank.

2.16pm: ESRI Australia has built a map of the scope of the recovery response, including details of evacuation centres.

2.14pm: On Premier Bligh's Twitter account, with the comment "Aussie Spirit alive in Grantham flood recovery"...

Anna Bligh flag

Anna Bligh flag
Source: Supplied

Link.

1.50pm: A reader in WA has sent us this document, which may be useful for anyone whose home has been affected by flooding. It's called a "personal continuity plan" and is a checklist of documents such as identity records and property files which if recovered might help reduce the loss of important information.

1.43pm: Some updates on developments inland - St George is expecting another flood peak early next week, with the river expected to hit 13.2m. Meanwhile, Toowoomba CBD is up and running, and the local chamber of commerce is urging people in the area to come into the town even just to say hello to those getting their businesses open again.

1.34pm: The body of one of the people swept away in the Lockyer Valley flooding was found 80km from where he disappeared, police said today. From the Courier Mail:

"One of the people who are confirmed deceased was found 80km downstream from where they were reported missing," he told reporters on Friday.

"I think this just demonstrates and highlights the complexity of these search and rescue operations and also the time that's going to be consumed searching all of the creeks and streams associated with this river system."

Read on here.

12.48pm: Police say some bodies of the missing may never be found, especially if they were swept away in large bodies of water.

12.28pm: A reminder that conditions on the Brisbane River remain extremely hazardous. The Courier Mail reports:

ANOTHER section of Brisbane's Riverwalk at New Farm has broken away and is floating in the river.

Two police boats are responding to the incident and nudging the segment towards safety while tug boats, which shepherded a 150m piece of the riverwalk out of harm's way yesterday, were again on the scene.

Meanwhile, Premier Anna Bligh said the mine sweeper would help identify what kind of salvage operation needs to be undertaken to remove items from the bay.

Ms Bligh said Maritime Safety Queensland had asked the Defence Force for a minesweeper to be used to survey Moreton Bay over the coming days.

Read on here.

11.55am: Floodwaters in Condamine are still rising, with a peak of 14.8m expected tomorrow. But the central Queensland town has been evacuated and the only inhabitants are two police officers and six State Emergency Service personnel.

11.51am: Queensland Treasurer Andrew Fraser says those outside the state could help the flood recovery by booking holidays to the Sunshine State. "In the Whitsundays the sun is shining and people are there enjoying the best of Queensland,'' Mr Fraser told Sky News today.

11.46am: Heartbreaking stories coming from Grantham residents as they give harrowing eyewitness accounts of the devastating flash flood. Watch the video here.

11.08am: Brent Clayton of West End in Brisbane writes:

Took this pic today.... Now we know where to go :)

Hope St

Hope St
Source: Supplied

10.59am: This email from a reader this morning.

I am an Australian soldier currently serving overseas with the ADF. Having heard of the tragedies occurring throughout QLD is very difficult for myself and all I serve with to hear and it pains us that we are unable to assist directly, although we know that our brothers in Australia are doing all they can.

To the people of QLD and the families of anyone affected by this unimaginable disaster, all of our thoughts and prayers are with you during these hard times. Know that the ADF will do all that it can to assist you.

To the soldiers currently helping those in need, your work is tireless and sometimes and seldom acknowledged but know that you are making a world of difference to your fellow countrymen and women when they need it the most.

We will attempt to raise as large a charitable donation as possible on our end in order to provide whatever assistance we can.

Stay safe,

A

10.50am: Police are pleading with people to make sure they are registered as volunteers and have a plan for what they are going to do before getting out to contribute.

Deputy Commissioner Ian Stewart says services are "virtually non-existent" in some places like in the Lockyer Valley - there are no toilets or water in spots where people are turning up to help with the clean up. Stewart has asked that people "temper their enthusiasm".

In summary: register with a volunteer organisation and have a plan before you go out. Don't just rock up.

Premier Bligh says while she applauds people for their enthusiasm it is important that volunteers get registered.

In Brisbane - go for it, says the Premier. "Get out the wellies, get out the mops and brooms," she says, and help out neighbours. But "before you're heading off to places like the Lockyer Valley... I'd really discourage people, unless they are working with someone like the local council, not to be in there."

10.41am: A king tide will hit Brisbane next Friday, rising the river level and complicating efforts by authorities to manage the water flows out of the Wivenhoe Dam.

10.37am: Goondiwindi is heading for a record flood. Waters are expected to hit 10.85m and the levee bank is 11m. Premier Bligh says advice from the Bureau of Meteorology is that the peak could be higher than 10.85m. The peak will be mid-to-late afternoon.

10.26am: There is a lot of searching to do through flood-affected areas over the coming days, but the fears that many bodies would be found in Grantham in the Lockyer Valley have not, so far, been realised. The town has suffered widespread damage but amid the devastation there is the happy story of Norrie and Natalie Blume, pictured below, who were separated when the floodwaters hit and thought they had lost each other forever. They have been reunited after two days apart.  You can read their story here.

Happy ending

Happy ending
HAPPY ENDING: Grantham residents Natalie Blume, 39 and Norrie Blume, 44, spent two days looking for each other. Picture: Mark Cranitch
Source: The Courier-Mail

10.09am: Remember this photo?

Montana rescue

Montana rescue
Montana is rescued from flooded areas are being air-lifted into Gatton by Army Blackhawk choppers. Picture: Jack Tran
Source: Supplied

Well, a heart-warming development. Little Montannah Creasy has been reunited with Warrant Officer Tony Young, the Black Hawk crew member who helped her during the evacuation of Gatton on Monday. The Daily Telegraph reports:

WO2 Young saw fear in the little girl's face and thought of home.

"It actually reminded me of my kid," he said. "I have a son the same age."

[...]

When WO2 Young's wife picked up the paper the next morning she had no doubt it was her husband.

"I can see the father in you coming out," she said.

Read more here. And here's the photo from yesterday of the two in less stressful circumstances.

Montannah Creasy

Montannah Creasy
Tiny 13-month-old Montannah Creaser reunited with Warrant Officer Class 2 Tony Young, member of the Blackhawk Army helicopter flight crew that carried her to safety on drier land in Gatton after she was rescued and airlifted from flooded area of Forest Hill, west of Brisbane as torrential rain continued to fall on flood-ravaged Queensland, after the chopper made a routine flight back to Gatton. Picture: Gary Ramage
Source: News Limited

8.12am: There are fears a major city street in Brisbane could cave in. An abandoned building site has left a seven-level hole in the ground that became an inner-city waterfall with the floods. There are concerns Mary St above could buckle. More here.

7.38am: As the clean-up begins in Brisbane have a look at the scenes before and after the flood in this interactive special here.

7.23am: More than 25,000 residents in Brisbane's western suburbs have been sitting in the dark in flooded homes with no food, power or running water overnight. Read the latest local coverage at The Courier Mail.

6.17am: Goondiwindi mayor Graeme Scheu has also given an cautiously upbeat update as the 10.6m water nears the forecast peak of 10.85m, telling Sky: "Everything is going according to plan so far."

He said there had been some evacuations at the hospital and aged care facility as well as some homes. The levee was also being closely monitored and council workers were checking for leaks.

The flood itself was unusual he said because while there was so much water in the Macintyre River it had not gone around the levee. "That's extremely rare. I don't think it has been seen in a flood (here) before."

5.51am: Dawn reports say the Brisbane River has dropped significantly from yesterday morning's peak - at 3m and falling. It is no longer a raging torrent and the mood locally is to start cleaning up and rebuilding, Sky reports.

5.40am: A resident just outside of Goondiwindi has called Sky News this morning with an optimistic report on how the town is dealing with it. The water is forecast to peak at 10.85m - just under the 11m levee but Damian said it was just "part of living on a river".

"You just deal with it," he said. "I think the town will largely be saved. Most things will go about their normal business in a couple of days time."

Damian said once the peak had passed it was time to dig in and repair infrastructure like pumps and fencing.

3.47am: Flood levees protecting the Queensland border town of Goondiwindi are being severely tested as the Macintyre River peaks to a record level, less than 15 centimetres from the top of the levees.

2.47am: The same weather system that has deluged Queensland in recent weeks is set to bring heavy rain and damaging wind gusts of 120km/h to Victoria today.

2.43am:
More than 25,000 residents in Brisbane's western suburbs have been sitting in the dark in flooded homes with no food, power or running water.

2.15am:
Police say they have charged more people with looting offences in south-east Queensland after two separate raids on flooded businesses.

12.38am:
Hundreds of flood-affected residents will not be able to return home for months as the ravaged southeast begins the biggest clean-up in its history. Some will never live in their homes again amid warnings it could take years for the state to recover from the catastrophe. Almost 40,000 Queenslanders have been forced out since Monday, and authorities today move into the gruelling task of rebuilding the state's capital.

Thursday January 13, 2011

11.56pm: The entire border town of Goondiwindi faces evacuation tonight as the Macintyre River approaches a high peak. Goondinwindi Mayor Graeme Scheu said that if the river reached 11m, the whole town would be evacuated. It is expected to rise to 10.9m tonight, only 10cm below the levee.

11.08pm: Queensland's richest man Clive Palmer says he used his private helicopter to save 60 stranded people in the flood-ravaged Lockyer Valley after emergency crews failed to show.

10.20pm:
Up to 80 trucks are stranded on the side of road at Halfway Creek, north of Coffs Harbour, a reader reports. 

 

They're waiting to get through to Brisbane and may have to wait till Friday before road opens! Anyone near them please take them food and drinks. Some of them have dogs in their trucks so may need dog food too. These guys and girls are hard workers stranded far from home. Without them, Australia stops. Please help.

trucks at Halfway Creek

trucks at Halfway Creek
Source: Supplied

9.51pm: Army all-terrain vehicles will be deployed tonight to assist thousands of families stranded in Brisbane's west who are running out of food.

9.14pm: The latest update on the Brisbane River rescue is that two people have been rescued in front of the historic Customs House building, after their stricken yacht capsized while floating out of control down the Brisbane River, The Courier-Mail reports. 


8.33pm: Water use warning. From The Chronicle:

DALBY'S water treatment plant is again at risk of failing as an already swollen Condamine River has started to rise again.

Western Downs Regional Council has asked residents to limit all water use to drinking, showering and emergency only. No food clean-up or outside use is allowed.

8.06pm: Premier Bligh has asked people to stop bringing bags of clothes and food to evacuation centres. The centres are getting overloaded with piles of provisions brought by people trying to help but there is not enough storage room for the volume of donated. "If you could just hold back on some of that it would make some people's lives a lot easier," Bligh said.

Also in her evening briefing the Premier said the state would aim to have schools open on the normal day one of the school term. There are currently 60 schools, seven TAFEs, 19 teacher houses in rural areas, and 86 kindergartens and childcare centres which have been affected by flooding.

Police are also urging motorists to drive to the conditions, not the speed limits, and be patient and courteous on the roads.

7.16pm: Now that the waters are receding people in affected areas have some new questions arising. We have had this email from Stu Christ and try to answer his questions below - but if you have questions you think many people are asking, please email them to us at news@news.com.au.

1. What can I do to clean up before the insurance assessor comes out? See this link from another reader who has had extensive experience cleaning up after floods and provides helpful step-by-step advice on what to do.

2. How can I find out when our power will be back on? Premier Bligh said today teams of electricians would have to inspect properties for safety before power was restored. These teams will start work as the waters recede in affected suburbs over the coming days. Energex had set a target of having power restored to 50,000 homes by this evening.

3. What is the best way to get the water out of our carpet and dry out our house? Again, see this link for tips and advice - you may need to remove the carpet completely.

4. When will the shops be open again and restocked? It depends where you are and when roads reopen to allow deliveries. Rockhampton was effectively entirely cut off today, as are many towns in the Lockyer Valley. The Queensland Government has a list of road closures here. Monitor local media for updates on stores reopening - but remember, everybody else will also be looking for supplies, so it is important to remain calm and patient. If necessary seek help from the various relief agencies or call 000 if in an emergency.

6.44pm: A slide show that captures a lot of the emotion of the past few days. 

6.31pm: Crowds of tourists and sightseers have ignored Premier Anna Bligh's warnings and have broken through police tape to flock to the Brisbane CBD's Eagle St precinct, where much of the boardwalk still remains submerged, The Courier-Mail reports.

5.55pm: Many offers of assistance have come from overseas. They include help from New Zealand emergency workers. Offers of general assistance have been made by countries including Britain, the US, Spain, Japan and Singapore. Aid donations have come in from countries including Indonesia and Papua New Guinea. The Queen has made a private donation to the Queensland premier's flood relief appeal, while the Chinese Red Cross has contributed $50,000. Sri Lanka, where floods have forced almost one million people from their homes in the past week, has offered supplies of tea.

5.30pm: Something the team here at news.com.au have been working on today: interactive before-and-after photos of flood scenes.

Below is a view of Sandford Road (move the slider back and forth to see how the road changed after the waters rose. There are several more here.

Before

Apartments on Sandford Road, St Lucia on Thursday morning after the 4am high tide

After

Apartments on Sandford Road, St Lucia on Thursday morning after the 4am high tide

Click here for more before and after photos of the Queensland floods.

5.27pm: Reader Iain Kelly sent us this link to a blog post by a friend with experience cleaning up after a flood. It gives detailed, step-by-step instructions on how to go about the process. Excerpt:

Don’t be in a massive rush to rip into the clean up. I’ve always found when dealing with floods – whether it’s one house or 1000 – you’ll be more productive if you stop, sit down with the team helping you and discuss the plan and objectives.

I’m going to pretend the water was 1m deep and go from there. If you had more or less water, the response might be slightly different, but the basic idea is the same: use your common sense.

Remove all clothing items and linen, stuff it into bags or put it in plastic tubs. Call a friend and put them on washing duty – this means everything, even shoes. Wash them thoroughly and dry them out, as you can then make an assessment as to whether they are salvageable.

If you leave them dirty, you don’t have a choice – they will be ruined. A good option is to wash everything twice, but the second time ‘round, use an anti-microbial in the rinse cycle. You can then be sure there will be nothing to fear lurking in the fabrics.

While your friend is washing clothing, remove any soft furnishings, furniture, carpet, underlay, beds and the like. Soft furnishings are anything porous or which can soak up water. Unfortunately for the kids, their soft toys and pillows, cushions and the like are all ruined. The only thing to do with that stuff is to dump it – sorry kids. For the time being, dump it on your footpath as the council will do curb-side collection – in some cases with a front-end loader!

At the same time as stuff is being dumped on the footpath have someone pack up the house. And that means everything, the whole house, from CDs to crockery, to china dolls to cutlery. Pack everything (and I stress, everything) into plastic storage tubs and give them to a friend.

Read on at tips to clean up after a flood.

5.17pm: Prime Minister Julia Gillard has visited Ipswich today and assured flooded residents help is on the way. While 120 soldiers are searching the Lockyer Valley, two C17 heavy aircraft have flown in heavy equipment from Townsville to Brisbane - including amphibious craft. Nineteen helicopters are also being deployed for search and resupply missions in the area.

4.48pm: Police have finished clearing the rail bridge at Grantham including removing all the trapped cars and an underwater survey by police divers. "I'm happy to say no further deceased persons were located as a result of this search," Deputy Commissioner Ian Stewart said.

He also said it was important to update authorities about any previously missing persons who had since turned up safely to help with other searches.

4.43pm:  Goondiwindi is heading for a record flood of 10.85m or possibly higher, Premier Anna Bligh has announced. If there is any prospect that the levee might be breached authorities will seek to evacuate the town. A decision will be reached over the coming hours.

4.35pm: Queensland rugby league great Wally Lewis has pitched in to help flood victims bail out their house. He stopped his car outside and joined a production-line of buckets, helping to save the home which had water lapping at the door. "I was just driving along and saw that these people needed a bit of help," he told Channel 9.

4.15pm: Short-term fixes are being put in place to deal with widespread telecommunications outages across Queensland, but it will be months before infrastructure is fully repaired. The Courier Mail reports:

Floods have disrupted landline, mobile and cable services across the flood-ravaged state, and Telstra is experiencing fault volumes at four times their normal levels, due to loss of power, access issues and damage to key infrastructure.

Mobile services are impacted in the Brisbane area, Ipswich, the Lockyer Valley and Gympie, and landline and internet services disrupted around Brisbane and in the Darling Downs and Sunshine Coast regions.

Read more here.

3.38pm: Tugboat master Doug Hislop, who with colleague Peter Fenton helped escort a huge chunk of debris safely past the Gateway Bridge, is playing down any talk of accolades.

"We weren't trying to be heroes," he said. "We were just trying to do what we had to do."

Premier Anna Bligh has said their actions saved lives and Kevin Rudd thinks Mr Hislop should get the Order of Australia.

3.14pm: There are spiders that can run across water, apparently. This from ninemsn:

They spent two days wading through muddy Brisbane floodwaters but two cameramen say it wasn't until they saw a "giant" spider run across water that they felt the most scared.

[...]

New Zealanders Geoff Mackley and Brad Ambrose say the torrent flushed out large and odd-looking insects that are now looking for refuge in the city's dry spots. (Visit Geoff Mackley's website here)

"We saw a spider that was hideous — it was big and moved very fast when you got near it — it went in the water and then ran across the top of it," Mr Mackley told ninemsn.

Read on here.

3.11pm: Looters beware. This just in from AAP: A taskforce of 200 police will patrol flood-affected properties in Brisbane and Ipswich to protect against looters as the big clean up begins next week.

2.44pm: Police confirm another death - the body of a man was found in Myall Creek, north-east of Dalby. This brings the official death toll to 15.

2.15pm: Brisbane's Courier Mail has published a special edition today to mark the flood peak. The edition is also available online, in an interactive flip-page form. It's worth a look full of great stories and photographs from around Brisbane today. See it here.

1.56pm: Reader Matt B writes by email:

I never thought I'd say this, but:

Anna Bligh, Campbell Newman, Kevin Rudd and Julia Gillard: My hat is off to all of you.

Much as you're a bunch of backstabbing pollies when times are OK, when the chips were down you've come through, and been the leaders we need.

To everyone else in Queensland rallying around those in need: Thank you and congratulations for showing the world once again what Australians do in a crisis.

To the looters: I hope you get put in stocks and pelted with rotten food by everyone who has been hurt by these floods. I hope you have to live with the stigma your entire lives, shunned and ridiculed from every corner of this country.

1.54pm: A cyclone is expected to form off the Queensland coast over the next 24 hours, but it is not expected to affect flood-hit areas particularly in the southeast of the state. This just in:

The low pressure system is currently sitting about 600km east northeast of Cairns and is expected to develop into a cyclone within the next 12 to 24 hours.

However, forecasters say the cyclone is expected to move away from the Australian coast and have little impact on the flood drenched state.

"On the current plan at the moment it will probably meander where it is for another 24 hours or so and then move away from the coast," forecaster Bill O'Connor told AAP.

1.21pm: Panic buying at supermarkets has emptied supermarket shelves in some suburbs. Report here.

12.54pm: Power will not be reconnected to homes until they have been inspected for safety by teams of electricians.

12.46pm: Another death confirmed, with a 24-year-old man in Durack being sucked into a drain while inspecting his father's property at Durack. Authorities say it is a reminder that the waters are still extremely dangerous and will remain so for some time. The official death toll now stands at 14.

12.34pm: This post on mamamia by Kevin Rudd's daughter Jessica nicely captures what a lot of people have been saying about the Queensland Premier. It's headlined Anna Bligh - bloody legend. Excerpt:

"I saw Premier Anna Bligh and I just knew it was going to be all right. As soon as she came on screen my pulse slowed, my breathing steadied and my tummy unknotted. I think it was in her manner—the no-bull way she looked, that calm stare an impossible cocktail of warm compassion and hardcore determination. And it was in the way she spoke. Her tone was certain and her rhythm even-paced. Somehow, Anna Bligh manages to respect and reflect Queensland's sombre mood without perpetuating its panic. She's she'll-be-right-mate personified. That’s what being a leader is all about. "

Read on here.

12.11pm: Telstra has posted a photo of red-bellied snakes hiding in a Telstra "pit" - one of those holes in the ground for communication lines - from one of their engineers out on repairs.

Telstra snake pit

Telstra snake pit
Source: Supplied

And the remark on Twitpic from user yoggit: "Interesting place for Telstra execs to hold a meeting."

11.36am: In Grantham there are reports that divers have been finding bodies under the bridge in the town. Photographs from yesterday showed the bridge piled up with cars and flood debris.

Grantham bridge cars

Grantham bridge cars
DVI Police arrive & start searching cars & homes in the Grantham area after the severe floods that hit the area Picture: John Grainger
Source: News Limited

Today's Daily Telegraph reports:

Bobbing in the murky, debris-strewn water below the Grantham bridge are up to 30 crumpled cars, violently wedged against the pylons after being washed downstream in the ferocious flash flood that hit the country town on Monday.

But it is the likely contents of those mangled vehicles that has police and emergency workers filled with dread.

"You'd have to think with 30-odd cars here, we're about to find some pretty unpleasant things," a police officer at the scene said yesterday.

11.34am: Temporary mobile phone towers are being erected in the Brisbane CBD to improve reception in the area.

11.08am: This email from reader Hannah Thomson:

Something for all Aussie battlers...

I love a sunburnt country,
A land of sweeping plains,
Of ragged mountain ranges,
Of droughts and flooding rains.
I love her far horizons,
I love her jewel-sea,
Her beauty and her terror -
The wide brown land for me!

Stay safe everyone, let's stick together.... Xo

Hannah of Bendigo

10.59am: Anna Bligh choked up in her latest media briefing, fighting back tears as she talked about the need for resolve as the state prepares for the huge task of rebuilding ahead.

Authorities are asking people stay out of areas where they do not need to be, and to be patient with emergency services personnel.

Anna Bligh crying

Anna Bligh crying
Source: Supplied

10.49am: Another death confirmed in the Lockyer Valley. Premier Anna Bligh says a body was found in Grantham as the clean-up continues there. The official death toll is now 13.

Bligh says entire towns are unrecognisable in flood affected areas.

There are "major supply issues" in parts of Queensland - the Premier says roads into Rockhampton are cut as waters are not falling as fast as hoped.

10.31am: Foreign Minister Kevin Rudd says over 100 governments have offered help.

9.41am: There was some initial relief that the Brisbane River's morning peak wasn't quite as high as projected. There is another peak to come this afternoon, but it will be in the days ahead that the true destruction wrought by the 2011 flood will start to become clear. As the Courier Mail reports:

PREMIER Anna Bligh says some Brisbane residents are waking up a "post-war zone'' this morning after the devastating floods that have destroyed a number of suburbs.

"All the briefings in the world don't really prepare you for what you're going to see," Ms Bligh said. "This is still a very dangerous sitaution, thousands of people are waiting for the total devastation of their homes and businesses, and for some people it's both.

"The task ahead for these people is massive.

"People are living, at the moment, in what I would call a post-war zone."

Read on here.

9.33am: This news.com.au graphic shows the height the Brisbane River reached this morning.

Brisbane River water levels

Brisbane River water levels
Source: news.com.au

8.54am: The waters may be going down but Premier Anna Bligh has just warned the state is facing a reconstruction effort of "post-war proportions". More than 15,000 residential and commercial properties have been affected by significant flooding.

8.47am: There is expected be another peak with the afternoon's high tide at 3pm. Water levels are currently falling with the City Gauge reading 4.25m at the latest update at 7.24am Queensland time (8.24am AEDT).

7.40am: Police have released a statement saying the Brisbane River has peaked with current predictions saying the water will remain high today before slowly receding over the weekend.

7.18am: The Brisbane City Gauge latest has the levels back down to 4.41m last updated at 5.15am Queensland time (6.15am AEDT).

6.20am: A huge concrete walkway that had broken off and was heading down the Brisbane River as debris has been successfully steered past the Gateway Bridge by a skilful tugboat driver in the past half hour, Sky News reports. The debris is heading to Moreton Bay. See the amazing footage here.

5.15am: The flooded Brisbane River is peaking at 4.46m from 5.01am today with no confirmation it will go higher. This is almost a metre less than the 5.45m peak in 1974 and less than latest predictions of 4.6m but will still be devastating for the city when it wakes. Latest local coverage at The Courier Mail.

5:00am: A man has been swept away by floodwaters at Loganholme and then located by rescue teams in dramatic scenes as the Brisbane River's flood peak approaches.

The man was rescued after being taken down the Logan River off Excalibur Road at around 3.07am.In a late reprieve for a flood-weary city, the peak of the Brisbane River may reach no more than 4.6m, well below the 1974 flood level of 5.45m but enough to devastate the city.

4.38am: In a late reprieve for a flood-weary city, the peak of the Brisbane River may reach no more than 4.6m, well below the 1974 flood level of 5.45m.

4:15am: Brisbane's Gateway Bridges have been closed for the second time overnight amid fears of flood debris causing major damage.

The bridges earlier in the night had been closed temporarily after a 300m section of the Riverwalk at New Farm broke off and hurtled towards the bridge at high speed.

3.20am: Flood waters surging along the Brisbane River into Brisbane have hit 4.36m and are rising. Meanwhile as the city faces the horror of Queensland's flood crisis, emergency services believe the disaster death toll will reach 40.

2.49am:
The expected flood peak for the Brisbane River has been further revised down to 4.25m, well below the 1974 flood level of 5.45m. The Bureau of Meteorology is now predicting a peak under 5m expected with the high tide at 4am. Levels will remain high throughout today.

2.23am: Queensland police are urging people to avoid travelling to the city centre of Brisbane today unless it is essential. This includes The Brisbane River, as sight-seers have the potential to hamper emergency service workers.

2.12am: The expected flood peak for the Brisbane River has been further revised down to less than 5m, well below the 1974 flood level of 5.45m. This is below the 1974 flood peak of 5.45m as releases at Wivenhoe Dam were reduced quickly during Tuesday night, according to the bureau. The peak is still expected about 4am.

2.01am:
The Gateway Bridges in Brisbane have reopened after a 300m section of Riverwalk broke into two pieces and passed safely through.

1.48am: The death toll from the south-east Queensland floods has officially risen to 13 after police confirmed the death of a 50-year-old man in Ipswich.

1.35am:
A 300m section of the Riverwalk broke off in the flooded Brisbane River at New Farm and was hurtling toward the Gateway Bridge at high speed.|

Brisbane residents are being warned by Queensland Water Utilities to take extreme care around floodwaters due to potential contamination from raw sewage entering waterways.

CONTINUES... Flood info centre updates for Tuesday January 11 and Wednesday January 12 are here. Click through to see how the story unfolded in the days after the flash flooding in the Lockyer Valley.

 

 

Google Flood Map

Google Flood Map
Google flood map / Supplied
Source: Supplied


7:08am:

 

Have your say

Skip to:
Read comments
Add comments

Comments on this story

  • kreingwit of Thailand Posted at 8:12 PM January 14, 2011

    I am a Thailandian people who are interested in news of the flooding in your very I feel pity and ask them to express my condolences to you by I hope that the disaster in your country you are stopped by early on. I want to deliver some foods, rice from my country to you, but not enough power. I hope that our government will be able to help all of you.

  • Moongold Posted at 6:18 PM January 14, 2011

    Did Birley Street Spring Hill flood this week please? Know people there - no contact yet.

  • Krystal of Sydney Posted at 10:32 PM January 12, 2011

    Sorry guys re my post at 9.50pm, the dogs are all safe and sound... has been confirmed on the Queensland Flood FB Group... Thanks, Krystal

  • Brisbanite of Brisbane Posted at 10:02 PM January 12, 2011

    If anyone is in need of accommodation during this crisis l am able to assist. I live on the North side and have not been affected by flooding. Please call 0146 449 072

  • Krystal of Sydney Posted at 9:50 PM January 12, 2011

    Can anyone please help, there is a boarding kennel at 62 Brisbane Terrace Goodna with seventy dogs that will go under water later today. They are taking them to Mt Gravatt showgrounds but need people with dog trailers to get the dogs out. Anyone who can help call Sharon 0412 112 372 Thank you

  • Cowboy of In A Tent Somewhere Posted at 9:35 PM January 12, 2011

    The Army got me out in an Army Duck thingamijig. Thanks for the ride.

Add your comment on this story

Comments Form

1200 characters left

Your details
Post Options

Please install the latest Flash player

donate now flood appeal