Roma resident Steve Hogan checks the rising water at Gregory St at Roma.
Roma resident Steve Hogan checks the rising water at Gregory St at Roma. Western Star

Flood disaster declared in west

HUNDREDS spent Friday night in crowded evacuation centres after a state of disaster was declared for flood-ravaged south-west Queensland.

A week of heavy rain has taken its toll on the region, pushing up floodwaters to unprecedented heights in the town of Mitchell.

More than half of the town's homes were inundated on Friday, with that figure expected to rise.

A flood peak is expected to hit Charleville Saturday morning, bringing water within millimetres of the levy that protects the town.

In Roma, a child and a woman were swept away by floodwaters Friday afternoon.

The child was rescued, but the woman remained missing Friday night.

Rescue boats were being used across the town to ferry isolated residents to evacuation centres.

The town is facing its worst flood since March 2010, when water entered about 200 homes.

Authorities expect the current flood event to exceed those levels.

Roma electrician Mick Payne was prepared for the worst.

"We've been sandbagging, but hopefully our house is high enough to escape the water," he said.

"I think it's going to be the worst flood we've ever had."

Farming community St George is next in line for inundation as floodwaters head downstream.

They are expected to hit the town on Monday.

Balonne River Motor Inn manager Tabea Parker said low-lying areas of the town were already under water.

"The river is about 30cm under the bridge and all the roads to town have been cut," she said yesterday afternoon.

"Any more water and houses and businesses in the CBD will go under."

Mrs Parker said residents, who were fast becoming flood veterans, remained calm.

"This is the third year in a row that St George has flooded so everyone knows what to do," she said.

"We have the SES and a lot of extra hands here helping us prepare for the worst.

"At least this year we have some warning.

"Last year was a terrible surprise."



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