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Brisbane, coasts brace for heavy rain, gales in soggy end to holiday


A swathe of Queensland’s south-east, stretching from Fraser Island to the NSW border, is bracing for a wet and windy end to Easter, with authorities pleading with motorists to show patience on the region’s roads.

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Although it has cancelled a severe weather warning late Monday morning, the Bureau of Meteorology warned heavy rainfall and flash flooding could hit areas between Hervey Bay and the Sunshine Coast.

The wet weather will coincide with expected heavy traffic on the region’s roads as Easter holidaymakers and campers return home. Congestion was already building by mid-morning on Monday on the Bruce Highway between Brisbane and the Sunshine Coast.

“Our main message now is for people to please drive safe,” Deputy Premier Steven Miles said.

The weather bureau downgraded more severe weather warnings but said intense rainfall may return if a sub tropical low moved closer to shore.

It also said damaging wind gusts of up around 90 kmh and dangerous surf were likely to continue throughout the day, stretching as far as the NSW border.

The bureau is keeping a close watch on a weather front off the south-east coast, warning that the rainfall and flash flooding would continue to develop throughout Monday as the front tracked south to southeast from Hervey Bay.

Several flood watch warnings were activated overnight, less than a fortnight after the south-east was hit by a widespread rain event that cost one life, flooded homes and businesses and caused widespread chaos on the region’s roads.

The bureau remains worried about the impact of heavy rain on already saturated catchments.

Queensland Fire and Emergency Services have urged people in the warning area to seek shelter, move their car under cover or away from trees, and not to drive, walk or ride through floodwaters.

Road Policing Inspector Stephen Donnelly said there had been four road deaths over the Easter break so far, taking this year’s Queensland road toll to 76, 26 more than last year.

He said police had conducted 20,000 roadside breath tests, catching 197 drink drivers and 195 charged with drug driving.

More than 4000 traffic infringement notices, had been issued, half of those for speeding, including an incident where a driver was recorded doing 141 km per hour in a 70 kph zone

He said 45 drivers were caught using mobile phones.

-with AAP




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