Live blog: Eastern Australia battered by severe weather



50PM: A shot of the swollen Brisbane River, taken by SBS reporter Kathy Novak.

4.40PM: Reporter Kathy Novak is in Brisbane inspecting flood damage. This shot is from Milton, where residents are sandbagging ahead of possible rising floodwaters.

More details from Kathy on how Queensland residents are coping with the big wet coming up in the news bulletin at 6.30.

4.20PM: Queensland flood insurance claims have already hit $28 million according to reports from AAP, a figure that could rise as residents realise the full extent of damage caused by ex-Tropical Cyclone Oswald.

Insurers are not expecting the Australia Day long weekend disasters to be as severe as the floods of December 2010 and January 2011, when rising floodwaters in Brisbane, Ipswich, Toowoomba and the Lockyer Valley cost almost $2.4 billion.

4.15PM: Prime Minister Julia Gillard has promised federal government support to those in flood-affected areas of Queensland.

The PM spoke from Victoria where she was visiting fire-ravaged parts of the state.

Warning eastern Victoria residents that they are still facing a fire danger, she said communities in Queensland are going through a tough time with the flood crisis there. Read more.

4.10PM: IN PICTURES: Queensland’s wild weather

4PM: That same weather system shown on the national map. Both images courtesy of the Bureau of Meteorology.

3.45PM: A screenshot from the bureau shows the weather over Sydney at the moment. The rain band is still moving slowly south, and rain and winds are expected to increase overnight.

3.15PM: A round-up of affected Queensland areas from Premier Campbell Newman:

Burrum Heads: Sewerage out

Maryborough: CBD flooded

Eidsvold, Mundubbera, Gayndah, Albert and Logan: Flooding issues

Gympie: Significant flooding

Laidley: Homes inundated

Grantham: Flooding

Kalbar: Evacuations may be necessary

Ipswich: Water rising to 15 metres. More than 200 properties could be affected.

Gold Coast: No major issues

Brisbane: 2.6m flooding. Around 100 roads closed around the city.

There are power outages in effect right across south east Queensland.

3.10PM: More than 2,000 properties are affected by floodwaters in in Bundaberg. North Bundaberg is about to be isolated.

“Leave now if it is safe,” says Premier Newman.

Patients at Bundaberg Hospital are being moved from the Ground Floor up to higher levels.

3.05PM: In Queensland, Premier Campbell Newman is giving a press conference on the state’s flood emergency.

“To the people in the midst of this disaster, we are doing everything possible to help you,” he said. “You are not on your own.”

Bundaberg continues to be the main area of concern for Queensland, with the Burnett River currently at 9 metres, according to Premier Newman.

However, Rockhampton catchment is still taking in water, and could flood by next weekend.

3PM: Residents along the Tweed River in northern NSW are bracing for heavy flooding, with the water level at 4.41 metres and rising at around 2pm this afternoon. Hundreds have already called for help.

A major flood warning is in place for Murwillumbah.

Along the Tweed Coast, residents at Chinderah, Kingscliff, Fingal Head were being asked early on Monday afternoon to prepare for a possible evacuation.

Fingal Head residents were told to stay were they were because they were already isolated.

2.50PM: SBS reporter Kathy Novak is on her way to Brisbane to bring you the latest reports from the region. Full details tonight on SBS at 6.30pm and 10.30pm.

2.45PM: Live traffic information for NSW shows a number of roads flooding in the north of the state. Several roads in and around Sydney are also affected. For detailed and up-to-date roads information click here.

2.30PM: Queensland Premier Campbell Newman has launched an appeal in conjunction with the Red Cross, to assist people affected by floods across the state.

Matthew Cox, Red Cross Acting Executive Director in Queensland, said in a press release the affected communities would need ongoing support as they returned to their homes to begin the difficult process of recovering from disasters.

“This is particularly distressing time for a lot of people as they won’t know the extent of damage to their homes until the floods and storms pass through,” he said. “Coming so soon after the 2010/11 disasters, this is a heavy blow for many communities.”

Those who would like to donate should visit the Red Cross website for more information:

2.15PM: The bureau of meteorology has issued an update on NSW weather, which is expected to worsen particularly along coastal areas as the storm tracks south this evening.

Very heavy rain and strong winds in excess of 125km/h will extend to coastal parts of the Hunter this afternoon and this evening. These winds will reach metropolitan Sydney overnight and possibly extend to the South Coast tomorrow.

Due to abnormally high tides and dangerous surf conditions, coastal areas should be avoided. View the full report from the BOM here.

2.10PM: There are a number of delays and cancellations for flights in and out of Sydney and Brisbane airports, due to weather.

Passengers are advised to check with their airlines for the status of their flight.

QANTAS flight information

TIGER AIRWAYS flight information

VIRGIN AUSTRALIA flight information

JETSTAR flight information

2PM: Queensland update: As below, Bundaberg North has been issued with a mandatory evacuation order. Floods are expected for Gympie, Maryborough and Ipswich.

Brisbane valley and Lockyer valley expected to peak around noon tomorrow.

Bremer River, Ipswich, is expected to peak at 6pm according to Queensland SES.

1PM: A forced evacuation has been declared for Bundaberg North, effective immediately. The order came as Burnett River broke its banks.

“All residents in NORTH BUNDABERG including Belmont Park and One Mile Road are to evacuate IMMEDIATELY to Oakwood State School,” a notice on the council website reads.

12.40PM: Visit our Social Hub here for the latest social media updates from emergency crews and official sources.

12.30PM: While the Prime Minister inspects bushfire affected areas of Victoria, Deputy Wayne Swan is tweeting from flood-stricken Brisbane.

On the corner Clayton St and Nineth Ave in Sandgate in my electorate – locals saying its the worst since 1974…

— Wayne Swan (@SwannyDPM) January 28, 2013

12PM: Ipswich City Council in Queensland has opened evacuation centres for those affected by flooding. Further details (including where to go if you want to take pets) can be found here.

Are you affected? Brisbane City Council has released a list of streets that are expected to flood or partially flood. Details here (via

11.45AM: Volunteers are being sought in Queensland to help fill sandbags. Anyone interested should register online here and wait to be contacted.

11.35AM: The Triple Zero emergency services number is currently inaccessible to some Queenslanders due to damage to Telstra networks.

If you cannot get through, and need urgent assistance, try one of the following numbers:

Emergency numbers for northern and central Queensland:

· Cairns 4030 7000

· Mareeba 4030 3340

· Townsville 4750 5581 or 4750 5583

· Mt Isa 4744 1111 or 4744 1808

· Mackay 4968 3530

· Gladstone 4971 3222

· Rockhampton call via alternative carrier only

11.20AM: The weather bureau has issued an update for NSW, with widespread heavy rain, damaging and locally destructive winds and damaging surf expected to continue. Click here for more details.

11AM: Queensland police are warning residents NOT to dial triple zero for road updates. The best number to call for road information is 13 19 40.

You can find more contact numbers for state-based emergency and assistance services here.

10.50AM: It’s been a harrowing weekend for Queenslanders pummelled by wild weather caused by ex-Tropical Cyclone Oswald. These images, taken from our weekend news coverage, show the extent of the damage suffered by some residents:

10.40AM: The death toll from Queensland’s flood crisis has risen to three, after the body of a man was discovered in floodwaters south of Brisbane this morning.

He is believed to be a motorcyclist who was swept off the road at Greenbank at Logan on Sunday night.

It follows the earlier death of an 81-year-old man who was pulled from waters near Bundaberg, and a 27-year-old man killed near Gympie.

10.35AM: A mother and child who became trapped under a fallen tree in Queensland have been taken to hospital after being freed by emergency services, ABC journalist John Taylor reports via Twitter.

Incident now over at Kedron Brook Gordon Park after a tree fell on a family. Woman & child taken away by ambulance. @abcnews #bigwet

— John Taylor (@_JohnTaylor_) January 27, 2013

10.30AM: There are fears for a young Brisbane family trapped under a fallen tree at Kedron Brook in north Brisbane.

Witnesses say the family was standing on the banks of Kedron Brook at Gordon Park when the large tree suddenly fell, trapping them.

Emergency crews are working to free the woman while the child has been taken to hospital. Read more: Tree falls on Brisbane family.

10.20AM: Details of dramatic rescues continue to emerge as parts of Queensland continue to be battered by extreme weather.

In one Brisbane rescue, 24 people were rescued in the Windsor area as waters rose there.

The SES received more than 1800 requests for assistance in the 24 hours to 4am on Monday.

It follows the nerve-wracking rescue of a toddler who was put in a bag and winched to the safety of a helicopter hovering above, in Biloela in central Queensland yesterday.

WATCH VIDEO: Toddler winched to safety in daring arial rescue

10.15AM: There are fears for the Queensland city of Maryborough, where floodwaters are expected to be higher than the devastating 2011 floods.

Floodwaters have spread across parts of the city’s CBD and about a dozen homes are flooded, Maryborough’s mayor Gerard O’Connell told AAP. More details.

10AM: Meanwhile in Victoria, emergency officials continue to battle fires and fire threats across the state.

Current fire warnings and incidents across Victoria: For more up-to-date information, visit the CFA site here.

A Watch and Act warning is in place for a slow-moving bushfire in the Violet Town-Harry’s Creek Road area. Full details from the Victorian Country Fire Authority.

The Prime Minister is currently in Heyfield being briefed on the latest fire risks.

9.30AM: There are flood warnings in place for 15 rivers across Queensland, as well as destructive winds, abnormally high tides and dangerous surf in coastal areas, although the bureau notes heavy rainfall and strong winds in the south are easing.

Click here for current Queensland flood warnings.

9AM: Severe weather warnings are in place for NSW this morning, with Ex-Tropical Cyclone Oswald continuing to move south.

The Bureau of Meteorology is forecasting very heavy rain which may lead to flash flooding in the Northern Rivers, Northern Tablelands and the Mid North Coast forecast districts. Click here for current NSW weather warnings.

Heavy rain is expected to continue in the Hunter, Sydney Metropolitan, Central Tablelands and Illawarra regions.

Read more: Severe weather warnings as Oswald hits NSW

The weather system shown in this Bureau of Meteorology radar map will bring heavy rain and strong winds to much of the NSW coast.

EARLIER: Wild weather causes havoc across Queensland, where the army has been called in to help with rising flood waters and severe winds.

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