Flood waters easing, but many still without power
UPDATE 5.30pm: Nearly 4000 Gympie homes and businesses are still without power, many since Saturday.
And to top it off, these residents were also without phone lines, both mobile and landline.
A Telstra spokeswoman said the weather was playing a huge factor with the length of time it was taking to repair flood damage to a major cable that services north Queensland.
Technicians were airlifted to the site at Colosseum, west of Seventeen Seventy, to carry out repairs.
A spokeswoman said they were splicing the cable to put it back together.
"In addition to the cable there's been power outages and that impacts on our mobile base stations," she said.
"We do hope to see gradual restoration of services, but it is hard to determine when customers will get service back."
She said the phone tower at Freshwater was affected, and as power was restored the stations should start to reboot.
The damage to the main cable was caused by fast flowing floodwaters and debris degrading the cable.
UPDATE 3.45pm: The latest update from the Bureau of Meteorology has Gympie flood levels currently steady around 20.3 metres, above the January 2011 peak of 19.45 metres.
River levels are expected to remain around this level for the afternoon.
UPDATE 2.15pm: Gympie flood waters have stabilised and will begin easing with residents and business operators now waiting for confirmation of an official peak.
Gympie Region Local Disaster Management Group Chair and Gympie mayor Ron Dyne said the peak now looked likely this afternoon, probably under 21 metres.
UPDATE 2pm: Water levels are falling in the upper catchment area and Gympie Regional Council is expecting to release official peak details for Gympie soon.
"This doesn't mean that all closed roads will open soon," Mayor Ron Dyne said.
"I still urge motorists to avoid flooded roads and obey closure signage.
"Council crews continue to patrol the region inspecting roads and will only open them when it is safe to do so.
"It may take a while for flood waters to recede, so people are encouraged to stay put, safe and out of flood waters."
Cr Dyne said sections of Burnett and Wide Bay Highways opened this morning connecting the townships of Kilkivan, Goomeri and Murgon.
For local road closure information, contact the Local Disaster Coordination Centre hotline on 5482 6399 or visit www.council.qld.gov.au.
For main road closures and statewide travel information, call the Department of Main Roads travel service on 13 1940 or visit www.131940.qld.gov.au.
Property owners can contact the SES Emergency Line on 132 500 for clean-up assistance.
UPDATE 1.30pm: Flood tide levels turned nearly dead on midday today.
Retailers with shops in the middle of Mary St that stayed high and dry continued to pack up, saying it was better to be safe than sorry.
Despite being given plenty of time to evacuate, a few national retail chains failed to salvage any stock.
Crazy Clark's, Wayne's World and the Endeavour Recycled Clothing Store sat waste full of water with waterlogged products still on the shelves.
The water level had been predicted to reach Smithfield St, but ended up creeping inside the Bank of Queensland, the water level peaking at just under 20m.
EARLIER: Gympie Regional Council is expecting the river to peak at under 21 metres around midday today following the latest weather forecast.
With the rain easing and the Mary River rising steadily, Gympie Mayor Ron Dyne was hopeful the outlook would remain as predicted by the Bureau of Meteorology.
Around 100 people, mainly backpackers evacuated from Fraser Island, have taken shelter in the Rainbow Beach Community Hall and about 20 people are currently holed up at Gympie Civic Centre. Evacuation centres at Kilkivan and Gympie's Southside had around 10 people each.
The river is currently at 19.95 metres.