The Ernest Henry Bridge on the northern side of Hughenden was closed on Saturday afternoon as a precaution, when the Flinders River came level with the bridge at 1pm.
It’s the latest in a series of road access closures across the north west as monsoonal conditions continue.
According to Flinders Shire Council mayor, Jane McNamara, rain in the headwaters of the river overnight saw levels rise at gauging stations at White Mountain and Glendower, north east of the town.
“We put an alert out as a precaution and closed the bridge for safety reasons,” Cr McNamara said.
The alert states that “an Emergency Alert flood message has been issued for residents at Hughenden.
“Flinders Shire Council has advised intense rainfall may affect the area, causing fast-moving and rapidly-rising water levels and leading to flooding on the Ernest Henry Bridge.
“Residents are advised to move to higher ground if they are concerned.”
Social media was alight with news of the first flow in the river at Hughenden on Wednesday, January 30, bringing a tear to the eye of many after the prolonged dry.
Cr McNamara, who had spent a proportion of Saturday in Local Disaster Management Group meetings on the telephone from her Abbotsford property, where she is rained in, said the council was also mindful of a severe weather warning that had been issued by the Bureau of Meteorology on Saturday afternoon.
The warning is for damaging winds and heavy rainfall for people in the Gulf Country, Northern Goldfields and Upper Flinders, Herbert and Lower Burdekin, and parts of the Peninsula, North Tropical Coast and Tablelands, the North West and Central West forecast districts.
Apart from intense rainfall with significant flash flooding to continue in Townsville, heavy rainfall with the potential for damaging winds remains in place elsewhere across north Queensland.
The monsoon flow is expected to strengthen further over the weekend, resulting in the expansion and continuation of widespread severe weather across the north.
Six-hourly rainfall totals of 75 to 125mm are possible, with locally higher totals with bands of thunderstorms.
Cr McNamara said four elderly residents had been moved from their homes on the northern side of Hughenden to the town’s accommodation for the aged as a precaution, with their agreement.
“We are in a lean forward mode at the moment, not stand up,” she said. “It’s a case of watch this space.”
She urged people to contact the Flinders Shire Council, call the State Emergency Service on 132 500 or monitor the Flinders Shire Council website for more information as the event progressed.
McKinlay Shire Council road closures effective 3pm Friday:
- Julia Creek to Richmond
- Julia Creek to Cloncurry
- Kynuna to Winton
- McKinlay to Cloncurry
Julia Creek to Kynuna Road
Gilliat McKinlay Road (Gidyea Bug Byway)