There are “grave concerns” for two men still missing in south-east Queensland’s floods, which have killed eight people and damaged at least 18,000 homes in the region.
There were blue skies over much of the region on Tuesday morning but major flooding is under way on the Brisbane, Logan, Bremer and Mary rivers, and Warrill Creek after the torrential downpours of the past week.
Police Commissioner Katarina Carroll says two men are still missing, one who fell from a boat into the Brisbane River on Saturday and another who was washed away in his car near Glen Esk on Sunday.
“We do hold great concerns for two missing people,” she told reporters on Tuesday.
Queensland Fire and Emergency Services made another 16 rescues and responded to 256 calls for help overnight and into Tuesday morning.
QFES Commissioner Greg Leach said they had also made 630 rescues and responded to 10,000 calls since the rain began on Tuesday, and there was still a backlog.
“So we appreciate the patience of the public while we get to those calls,” QFES Commissioner Greg Leach said.
“But of course if you have a life threatening emergency please dial Triple Zero, and we’ll get resources to you as quickly as we can.”
Authorities immediate concern is at Waterford West and Parklands on the Logan River, which is peaking higher than it did when ex-tropical cyclone Debbie hit the region in 2017, and is set to inundate 200 to 300 homes.
The Mary River is dropping at Maryborough after peaking at 10.3m on Monday night, 5cm above the 2017 flood level but below the city’s levee.
More than 15,000 homes in Brisbane and 3600 in Gympie have been damaged by the floods and almost 40,000 properties were without power on Tuesday morning.
More than 800 schools also remain closed across the southeast and about 600 roads are still cut by floodwaters.
Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk says Brisbane received the equivalent to 80 per cent of its annual rainfall in two to three days, more than it did during the 1974 floods.
Another 30 suburbs in the greater southeast region recorded one metre of rainfall over the same period with 1152 people in evacuation centres.
“This event, in most instances, is bigger than ex-tropical cyclone Oswald and ex tropical-cyclone Debbie, it’s bigger than 1974 in terms of the rain event,” Ms Palaszczuk told reporters on Tuesday.
“And honestly, I don’t think anyone was ever expecting that we get this on the top of a two-year pandemic.
She said the Brisbane River would remain at an elevated 3.5m level, after it peaked at 3.85m on Monday, for the next three to four days amid staged flood mitigation releases from Wivenhoe Dam upstream.
Ms Palaszczuk said the forecast was mostly clear on Tuesday and Wednesday, however the rain could return on Thursday.
The Bureau of Meteorology is forecasting a possible severe thunderstorm with damaging winds and localised heavy rainfall which may lead to flash flooding in Brisbane on Thursday afternoon.
Meanwhile, Commissioner Katarina Carroll also said she was “disappointed and disgusted” that the homes of people forced to evacuate in the Ipswich area had been looted.
A 22-year-old man was arrested and charged with burglary on Monday with Police Minister Mark Ryan irate about flood looters.
“Queenslanders support their mates, and if you’re thieving from them, you’re not a Queenslander, you’re a grub,” Mr Ryan said.
Meanwhile, a crane on a floating pontoon that broke loose from its moorings near the Story Bridge on Monday has been stabilised.
The incident triggered evacuations of the Brisbane River bank after authorities were concerned the crane could damage the bridge or smash into the nearby Howard Smith Wharves.