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North, west first to batten down as Queensland's May deluge begins

Statewide

Nothern Queensland is bracing for possibly “dangerous and life-threatening flash flooding” with intense rainfall forecast to lash the region.

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Residents in Longreach, Winton, Cloncurry, Isisford, Barcaldine, Hughenden, Richmond, Julia Creek and Blackall have been put on alert ahead of the storms from Tuesday morning.

The Bureau of Meteorology says six-hour rainfall totals of up to 100mm are likely, and up to 150mm could hit some parts of the Central West.

“Locally intense rainfall with embedded thunderstorms which may lead to dangerous and life-threatening flash flooding is also possible for the Central West and parts of the North West districts,” it warned.

The weather bureau has placed more than 30 rivers and creeks on flood watch, including all of those flowing into the Gulf of Carpentaria, the Lake Eyre Basin, as well most between Townsville and Cairns.

It said transport disruption is expected, with many of those catchments already saturated from the Anzac weekend floods and some still flooding.

Townsville Mayor Jenny Hill has put residents, particularly in the city’s north, on alert with 150-200mm rain forecast on Wednesday.

That’s up six times the area’s monthly average in one day, and she says low-lying areas are at risk of flash flooding.

“The concern we have, where we might see high intense rainfalls in less than two hours, the catchments are quite damp,” Hill said on Monday.

“So we are likely to see flash flooding, particularly around our northern beaches, around the Bohle and Black River areas.”

“It’s areas that we don’t have any weirs or ability to regulate how the catchment operates that the community could be at risk.”

In the state’s far north, Cairns Regional Council told AAP rainfall is expected but won’t exceed regular volumes for the region.

Out west in Winton, Mayor Gavin Baskett said more expected rain is a “godsend” that the region hasn’t seen in May since Easter 2008.

Two weeks ago, falls of between three and nine inches “put a smile on everyone’s face”.

“It couldn’t get any better if we were to get a couple inches again now, that’ll take us through the winter part of the year and lead into the back end of the year. It’s a bit of a godsend really.”

The bureau is expected to provide a Queensland weather update later on Monday.

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