A couple head home down a flooded street in Townsville. Photo: Michael Chambers.
A couple head home down a flooded street in Townsville. Photo: Michael Chambers.

Tornado warning as wild weather lashes flooded Queensland

WITH more than a metre of rain having fallen in Townsville in seven days, weather experts are warning the severe weather is still to come, with heavy rain and the chance of tornadoes.

Bureau of Meteorology State Manager Bruce Gunn said records have been broken, with Townsville's seven-day rainfall total has now reached 1012mm to 9am Sunday.

"Townsville Airport (has hit a) long term record and has surpassed the Night of Noah event of 1998," Mr Gunn said.

"Seven day rainfall totals 1012mm to 9am this morning smashing the previous 806mm in 1998 - and beats the 10-day record of 925mm in 1953."

Mr Gunn said horrific weather was still to come, with strong winds whipping up the potential for tornadoes.

"The possibility of wind gusts also insists with the onshore flow ... and there is some chance of tornadoes forming in that onshore flow as the convergence lines feed into the monsoonal low cross the coast, there's enough favourable wind sheer to make that possible."

"The monsoon trough is near stationery which is why we're getting persistent heavy showers affecting many areas, it's particularly of interest in Herbert catchment, Upper Burdekin, Haughton and Ross River catchments," Mr Gunn said.

"We are expecting six-hour rainfall totals 150-200mm or even isolated occurrence of 300mm in just a few hours."

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said the severe weather would move south, putting Mackay in the warning area.

"The major focus at the moment is on Townsville … Townsville has had the equivalent of more than one metre of rain over the last seven days, this is an all time record," the premier said.

"As I said we are in unprecedented times, there is more rain to come."

Ms Palaszczuk said at this stage they were "comfortable" with the stability of the weather at the moment, as overnight rain did not fall over the catchment as expected.

"But the monsoonal trough is still siting heavily over those areas," she said.

"Once again we need people from Innisfail down to Bowen to listen to the warnings coming from the bureau, if you don't have to be on the roads don't be.

"We have 9100 people without power in Townsville and we will be monitoring situation over next few days."

The premier said 11 local government areas were impacted across the north of our state, with five local government areas to receive hardship assistance.

The premier said all schools that were closed on Friday in Halifax, Townsville and Giru will remain closed Monday.

"Residents from Bowen to Proserpine - as the weather event moves further south, we'll be examining whether these schools will be closed tomorrow," she said.

"But it's going to stay around Townsville until at least Wednesday.

"As it moves further south, everyone needs to take care, if you don't need to be on the roads, please don't be."

Deputy Commissioner Bob Gee urged residents to register their safety so family and friends knew they were safe.

"We're not out of the woods yet," he said.

"Register. Find. Reunite."



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