Flooding has eased across the Cairns region but, with further heavy rainfall likely throughout the next week, residents are urged to be prepared for more flood events.
Cr Terry James, Chair of the Local Disaster Management Group (LDMG), said the drenching of Far North Queensland was not over.
“There are forecasts telling us that we could cop up to another 500mm of rain in the next week,” he said. “Our catchments are already saturated, so it’s likely that we’d be looking at more flooding.
“The LDMG is closely monitoring the weather conditions and we’ll put any advice out via social media and the Cairns Disaster Dashboard.”
Cr James said residents needed to be prepared for the wet weather.
“This is the wet season and monsoonal downpours are part of life here,” he said. “It’s important that everyone takes steps to be prepared for flooding and have plans in place to deal with these events.
“That means having adequate supplies of food, medications and other essential items in case you become isolated due to floodwaters, and having an evacuation plan in place if you need to leave your home in a flood.
“And if you are heading out on the roads, never drive through floodwaters or past a road closed sign – it’s closed for a reason.”
The Cairns Airport has recorded 539mm of rain the past five days.
Council crews on the job
Council’s maintenance crews are working through the rain to undertake repairs and ensure drains are flowing freely.
“Our crews are out there today in difficult conditions with the aim of keeping people safe,” Cr James said. “They are prioritising jobs based on safety, with an emphasis on clearing drains so they can handle the rain that is yet to fall.
“Thanks to their efforts, our drains performed extremely well across the weekend. It is incredible to think that 500mm of rain can fall in just a few days and just a handful of roads get flooded.
“Smaller repairs, such as potholes, are being done as well, but we do ask residents to show some patience if we don’t get to your street straight away.
“Take it easy on the roads and be aware that there may be some damage to contend with in the short-term.”
Landslips close roads
A major landslip on Redlynch Intake Road has closed the access to Crystal Cascades. A crew is working to keep a lane clear for emergency and local access but the area remains extremely unstable.
The road is closed to non-local traffic. Please avoid the area.
Lake Morris Road also remains closed as a result of landslips and fallen trees. There is no access available to Copperlode Falls Dam.
Emergency Plan activated
The Copperlode Falls Dam Emergency Action Plan (EAP) was activated at the “Alert” level on Saturday evening.
The EAP is activated when the dam level reaches 1.5m above the spillway, which occurred at around 10.15pm on Saturday.
As per the EAP, regular inspections were undertaken of the dam wall and other infrastructure and the outflow from the spillway was closely monitored.
The EAP remained at Alert until Monday morning. The dam level did not at any point reach the “Lean Forward” level of 2.2m above the spillway.
The dam will continue to be monitored throughout the rest of the rain event and the EAP will be re-activated if the trigger point is reached.
Stay clear of creeks and drains
A reminder that waterways can turn deadly very quickly and flash flooding can happen at any time with a heavy downpour in the right spot. Stay clear of creeks and drains at all times and never walk or drive through floodwaters.
If it’s flooded, forget it!
Transfer stations affected
The Smithfield waste transfer station has now reopened, having been closed due to flooding at the weekend.
However, the Babinda waste transfer station remains closed. A temporary drop-off point is available at the Council works depot on Council Lane.
Log potholes on My Cairns app
Residents can assist in the clean-up process by logging any issues, including drain blockages, fallen trees and potholes via the My Cairns app.
The app includes an interactive map to pinpoint the location of the issue and has a feature to upload photos.
The app is free and can be downloaded from Google Play and the App Store.