Warwick to weather ‘dangerous’ storms, SDRC prepares
ROAD closures, property damage and long wait times accompanied heavy rainfall on the Southern Downs this week, prompting calls for greater preparation ahead of further wild weather.
Residents seeking to report flooded roads were met with lengthy call wait times as after-hours council staff struggled to keep up with demand.
Phone records show an average wait time of between eight and nine minutes for residents calling for assistance on Saturday night, though Southern Downs Mayor Tracy Dobie admits that figure doesn't account for disconnections.
"Anecdotally we heard those times were longer and we'll have a look at that," Cr Dobie said.
"Our staff were out on Saturday and Sunday working with emergency services to close flooded roads.
"This was a lesson learned and we will be working to make sure that doesn't happen again."
Warwick State Emergency Services attended 13 properties on Saturday and a further five on Sunday, according to volunteer Vance Sinden.
"It was mostly sandbagging and property maintenance because it had been so long since it rained, people forgot where the water runs," Mr Sinden said.
"In a couple of spots the water rushed through the property so fast there was about 20 to 30cm of water on the floor.
"Lots of residents hadn't cleaned their gutters or made an effort to divert water away from areas it had pooled in the past."
"Dangerous" storms are predicted to sweep through the region for the next three days and a moderate flood warning remains in place for the Condamine River.
Higgins Storm Chasing issued a warning on Tuesday afternoon, stating heavy rainfall and severe flash-flooding could hit on Tuesday night or Wednesday, with isolated falls of 100 to 200mm possible.
The Bureau of Meteorology is more conservative with its estimates, forecasting between 10 - 30mm each day until Friday.
"The thunderstorms developing are pretty slow moving so they're going to drop a fair bit of rainfall, " said meteorologist Alex Majchrowski.
"The whole area of the Southern Downs is equally likely to get hit."
SES will have around 15 volunteers on standby for the wild weather and SDRC is investigating whether it will be necessary to set up a local disaster coordination centre, manned 24 hours.
Conditions are expected to ease over the weekend, despite the development of Cyclone Uesi over New Caledonia.
"At this stage it's likely to remain far off the coast so it won't have any significant impact," Mr Majchrowsk said.