Anxious wait as residents flee rising floodwater

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Residents in Queensland’s northwest are bracing for further flooding as a major river is set to peak.

Burketown, about 2153km northwest of Brisbane, has already been seriously impacted by flooding from nearby Albert River, which is expected to hit its peak on Sunday.

Just under 90 people were evacuated from Burketown as of late Saturday, with no evacuations overnight into Sunday, as 60 residents remained in their homes.

At least 37 properties have been inundated by rising flood waters, with fresh fears the small Burke Shire community could be isolated for up to two weeks.

“We are strongly urging all remaining residents to leave the community of Burketown as soon as possible,” said Queensland Police in a social media post on Saturday.

Flooding in the northern Queensland Burketown area is expected to peak on Sunday.Flooding in the northern Queensland Burketown area is expected to peak on Sunday.

“Sewerage to the town has been compromised and power to the town will be cut off [Saturday].

“It is not safe for people to remain. Residents who have chosen to remain should seek assistance from police.”

Evacuees were taken to nearby Doomadgee, or flown to Mount Isa, more than 300km away.

Getting a read on the Albert River is difficult, with gauges not available along the river system.

Locals and authorities have told the ABC they’ve seen waters recede overnight, however, further heavy rainfalls in the area could see the river rise again over the course of Sunday.

The Albert River’s previous flood record, from March 2011, peaked at 6.78m, but hat record has already been smashed.

“At Doomadgee Township a major record river level of 8.54 metres was recorded on Friday morning, however river levels are now rising more slowly, and nearing a peak,” said the a Bureau of Meteorology spokesperson.

“Record major flooding is occurring at Burketown, with further rises and a record peak likely during Sunday.”

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