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Fears for occupants of car swept away by flood waters as hundreds evacuated

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People may be trapped in a submerged car that was washed off a causeway by floodwaters in southern Queensland.

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Emergency services are unable to reach the vehicle which was swept off a causeway and into a creak at Yalangur, north of Toowoomba, about 10am on Wednesday.

The Queensland Fire and Emergency Services says rescuers in boats are unable to check if anyone is inside the car due to the dangerous conditions.

“It’s submerged and obviously due to the amount of water, they’re unable to conduct a full search. They’re waiting for that water to recede so … they can conduct a search of that vehicle,” a QFES spokesperson told AAP.

Meanwhile, floodwaters are receding in one town where 900 people were evacuated, but other towns and villages in southern Queensland are on alert amid a continuing deluge.

An emergency was declared on Tuesday night for Inglewood, in the Goondiwindi local government area in the Darling Downs, close to the NSW border.

Residents were told to head to an assembly point at Inglewood Cemetery ahead of widespread flooding expected on the McIntyre River on Wednesday.

“Major flood levels are expected for the MacIntyre Brook catchment in the next four hours,” a Queensland Fire and Emergency Service alert said.

“Properties in the area are likely to experience internal and external flooding.

“Council advises residents to warn neighbours, secure belongings and evacuate to the assembly point at the Inglewood Cemetery immediately.”

QFES Assistant Commissioner Stephen Smith said about 950 people had already been been moved to safety.

“Our crews were working through the night assisting that operation,” he told the Nine Network on Wednesday.

Major floods are also occurring in another two towns, while a further two are likely to be inundated overnight.

The Bureau of Meteorology reports that the Logan River is flooding at Beaudesert, south of Brisbane, for the second time in four days.

Floodwaters peaked at 10.1m in the town of 6400 residents on Saturday, above Beaudesert’s major flood level of 8.30m.

The forecaster expects the river to peak at 10.2m on Wednesday after up to 100mm of rain fell in parts of the already soaked catchment in the past 24 hours.

Closer to Brisbane, heavy rainfall is causing major flooding along Warrill Creek with about 600 residents in Harrisville on alert.

The creek is already at 5.02m, above the town’s major flood level of 5m, and is still rising.

Near the NSW border, the Dumaresq River is also putting homes and businesses in the town of Texas at risk of major flooding with up to 70mm of rain falling upstream since 9am on Tuesday.

More than 840 residents of the southern town are preparing for the river to exceed a major flood level of 8m on Wednesday night.

Parts of Chinchilla and 200 residents in the village of Pratten are also on alert as the Condamine River reaches moderate flood levels in the regional centre of Warwick.

The river level is at 9.1m at Chinchilla Weir, above the moderate flood level of 8m, and could exceed 10m on Wednesday, the BOM said.

About 870 residents in Taroom are also being warned the Dawson River could peak at a major flood level of 7m overnight on Wednesday.

Southeast of Brisbane, the Bremer River is moderately flooding at the towns of Rosewood and Walloon, and the Ipswich suburb of Amberley.

SEQ Water has mobilised its flood operations centre with at least 11 ungated dams spilling in the southeast, saying the situation is of “critical severity”.

The utility said has started flood releases from the gated North Pine Dam, north of Brisbane, amid forecasts of heavy rain.

The QFES acting commissioner noted there had been widespread flooding across central Queensland, the northern parts of the state and through the southeast and southwest.

“Overnight there were areas that got up to 180mm of rain,” Smith said.

With the Bureau of Meteorology predicting more wet weather in the coming days, Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk has warned Queenslanders to get ready for the storm season that has come early this year.

“The central and north coast regions were the worst-affected areas, with a small number of requests in the Brisbane, southeast and southwest regions (in the past 24 hours),” she told parliament on Tuesday.

“With catchments swollen due to recent rainfall, this means that localised flash flooding will remain a threat throughout Queensland over the next week.

“I encourage all Queenslanders to prepare for storm season now.”

 

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