Thousands of Queenslanders face another major flood emergency, as torrential rains are expected to continue in the southeast of the state into Saturday.
Up to 160mm of rain is forecast for the area on Friday, with six emergency flood warnings issued by lunchtime.
Hundreds of homes are at risk, dozens of roads and schools are closed as the flood waters rise.
By early Friday afternoon, alerts were in effect across Jimbe, Lockyer Valley, Warwick, Millmaran, Mount Taramba, Minden, Patrick Estate, Stanthorpe and the Scenic Rim.
There are also slight flood warnings for a group of rivers in northern NSW, as the dangerous front follows south.
Friday was originally expected to be the peak of weather that has wreaked havoc across much of Queensland this week. But the Met Office changed its forecast early in the day, predicting another day of heavy rain would follow.
“This is an evolving situation,” said Laura Buckle, chief forecaster at the Bureau of Meteorology.
“That weather is likely to stay today, and tomorrow, tomorrow is now and we’ll start to see the net trend.”
Prime Minister Anastasia Palaschuk said the rainfall had not been as steady and intense as the torrential rains that caused major floods in February, but that it would remain longer than initially expected.
She said the main concern was over the communities along the Condamine, Logan, and Bremer flooded rivers, as well as the Warrel, Laidley, and Lockyer creeks.
“If you don’t need to go out and wander the roads in the southeast, please don’t travel unless you absolutely must,” Ms Palaszczuk said on Friday.
“Please remember: If it gets flooded, forget about it.
“Please don’t worry. The main thing is to listen to the alerts and we will keep everyone as informed as possible.”
Ledley residents were evacuated on Friday. Flood waters affected 300 homes in the borough, west of Brisbane, as a brown torrent flowed down Main Street after Lake Loker rose to a major flood level.
People in other low-lying areas of Grantham, Gatun, Taramba, Minden, Patrick Estate and Prenzlau have also fled or are preparing to do so.
South of Toowoomba, a large flood was underway on the Condamine River, with homes at risk in Warwick, Millmaran, Cecil Plains and Kobe Creek, while flash floods were occurring near Killarney and Stanthorpe.
The Logan River broke its banks at Beaudesert, south of Brisbane, and reached a great flood level, while the Mary River was overflowing at Jimbe.
The Brisbane River was not expected to rise above a slight flood level.
But Ms. Boekel warned that flooding remains a danger in saturated streams and streams across the city.
“Areas within the severe weather warning zone are at risk of more heavy rain within the widespread range, and that’s where we can start to see flash floods, and that’s when the situation can be life-threatening,” she said.
Nearly 740 roads were closed or affected by the flood waters and authorities closed more than 70 schools due to the weather.
South of the border, BOM also warned of possible flooding in the northern rivers region over the next 24 hours. Affected rivers include: Lower Macquarie, Clarence, Macintyre, Severn, Bogan, Castlereagh, Culgoa and Paroo.
“There was heavy rain across parts of the border rivers, particularly around Stanthorpe, which saw a rapid rise in river levels Thursday night through Friday morning,” the bureau said.
“Flood waters and additional flows along the River Severn will combine with inflows from the McIntyre River in New South Wales, which are expected to result in minor flooding in Goondiwindi and Bugabela through Saturday. Major flooding is possible in Goondiwindi late Sunday into Monday “.
Queensland Police Deputy Commissioner Steve Golchowski said people in flood areas should stay connected, listen to warnings and take action in a timely manner.
Meanwhile, strong easterly winds and strong onshore winds are causing waves up to four metres, with BOM warning of dangerous surf conditions and potential coastal erosion between Fraser Island and the NSW border.
The unseasonal flood is the sixth deadly flood in Queensland since December, which scientists have identified with a second La Nina weather pattern in two years.