RESIDENTS and businesses are advised to act now in response to modeling which has the Mary River reaching 17 metres by 6pm tonight (Sunday 27 January).
Local Disaster Coordination Centre Chair and Gympie Regional Council Mayor, Cr Ron Dyne, said the Bureau of Meteorology is predicting the river to reach the 17-metre mark, which above the major flood level, later this evening, with an expected peak of 18 metres overnight or early tomorrow.
"A significant amount of rain has fallen in the upper catchment area of the Mary River, which means were are now responding to a major flood scenario," Cr Dyne said.
"The Local Disaster Coordination Centre is expecting the Normanby Bridge to go under around 3pm, effectively cutting-off the Southside.
"Businesses were being updated on predictions from this morning.
"We're advising business operators and residents in low-lying properties to take appropriate action, including moving to higher ground if need be."
Evacuation centres have been established at:
• Imbil RSL Hall - 127 Yabba Road, Imbil
• Gympie Civic Centre - Mellor Street, Gympie
• Kilkivan Public Hall - 31 Bligh Street, Kilkivan
• Rainbow Beach Community Hall - corner of Rainbow Beach Road and Cypress Avenue, Rainbow Beach.
Police, fire and ambulance have also established a presence on the Southside.
Cr Dyne said residents in Kandanga and Goomeri were without water due to infrastructure damage.
"I encourage residents on town water in these areas to conserve drinking water," he said. "It is not known how long it will take to fix these potentially significant problems."
For updated information
• Weather and hydrology warnings and forecasts - listen to your local ABC radio station or visit the Bureau of Meteorology website (www.bom.gov.au)
• Local road closure information - visit council's website at www.gympie.qld.gov.au or call the Local Disaster Coordination Centre hotline on 5482 6399. To report cut-off roads, you can also call the hotline on 5482 6399.
• 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. Note: the Bruce Highway has been closed at Kybong.
In an emergency
• Call 000 in a life-threatening emergency
• Contact the SES Emergency Line on 13 2500 for assistance with damage and sandbagging.
Up to 5000 properties are currently without power. Energex has activated its Mary River Flood Plan and are attempting to restore power where it is safe to do so. To report loss of supply, contact Energex on 13 62 62 or, for Kilkivan, Ergon on 13 22 96.
What to do
• Be vigilant and monitor water levels in your local area.
• Avoid driving, walking or riding through flood waters.
• Obey road closed signs.
• Ensure children do not play in or near strongly flowing water, near culverts or open stormwater drains.
• Drive carefully, assuming that flooding (either local or river) may be across the road you are driving on.
• Be Prepared - Information to assist businesses and residents is available from council's website at www.gympie.qld.gov.au. You can also access the Emergency Action Plan, Local Disaster Management Plan and Gympie CBD Flood Plan from the website.