2010–2011 Queensland floods


The 2010–11 Queensland floods were a series of floods in Australia which began in December 2010 and ended in January 2011. The majority of the floods were in Queensland including its capital city, Brisbane. The rain also caused floods further south in central and western Victoria. at least 90 towns flooded.[1] A huge area of Queensland, the size of Texas and France combined, was flooded.[2] The floods forced thousands of people to leave their homes.[3] At least 70 towns In Queensland and over 200,000 people were affected.[3] Three-quarters of the state of Queensland has been declared a disaster zone.[4] The 2010–2011 floods have killed 35 (not 30) people across Queensland since November and 14 are still missing. More than 20 people have died in flash floods between Brisbane and Toowoomba.[5]

NASA image showing flooded rivers and cloud cover

The floods were caused by heavy rain from tropical cyclone "Tasha" that joined with a trough during a La Niña event. La Niña is an unusual weather pattern, which brings wet weather to eastern Australia. The 2010 La Niña was the strongest since 1973.[6] This caused heavy rainfall across Queensland. December 2010 was the wettest on record, with 107 places getting their highest rainfalls ever. The state average rainfall level of 404.7mm was much bigger than the old record of 369mm set in 1975.[7] 2010 was also recorded as the state's wettest spring since 1900[8] and Australia's third wettest year.[9] Flooding started across parts of the state in early December. On 28 December a monsoonal trough crossed the coast from the Coral Sea, bringing very heavy rain from the Gulf of Carpentaria to the Gold Coast.

About 300 roads were closed, including nine major highways.[10] Many places, including Condamine and Chinchilla were flooded several times. Coal railway lines were closed and many mine sites flooded. The floods have caused fruit and vegetable prices to rise as crops have been destroyed.[11] The wet conditions have also led to a large number of snakes seeking safety on the higher ground or in houses with people. Saltwater crocodiles and sharks were seen in some flooded areas of towns.[12]

Flooding in the Fitzroy RiverEdit

The flooding forced 8,000 people to leave Theodore, Queensland Theodore and other towns.[13] The military transported people by helicopter to an evacuation centre at Moura, Queensland. The total evacuation of a Queensland town had never happened before.[14]

Emerald, Queensland was cut-off by road on 29 December as the Nogoa River rose.[15] The next day, the river level rose above the 2008 flood peak level of 15.36 metres (50.4 ft).[16] At the peak of the flooding, 80% of the town was flooded, the worst the town ever experienced.[15] 1,200 people from Emerald were listed as evacuees.[17]

Aerial view of Rockhampton

Rockhampton had nearly a week to get ready for the flood peak from the Fitzroy River, which flows through the centre of the city.[18] The airport was closed on 1 January.[19] A metal flood barrier was set up to protect the buildings. An evacuation centre was set up at the Central Queensland University.[17] The Bruce Highway leading south out of Rockhampton was closed to traffic. The river reached 9.2 metres (30 ft) just short the of the predicted 9.4 metres (31 ft) maximum.[20]

The Port of Gladstone cut back its coal exports because the coal piles at the port were too wet and further coal deliveries could not be made by rail.[21] The Goonyella railway line which is used by a number of coal mines in the Bowen Basin was closed for one week and shipments of grain were also stopped.[22]

Burnett River - The River of Magic WaterEdit

The swollen Burnett River at Gayndah, 350 kilometres (220 mi) north west of Brisbane
A flooded street in Warwick

The towns of Gayndah, Queensland and Mundubbera, Queensland when the Burnett River flooded on 28–29 December. The river peaked at 18.25 metres (59.9 ft) at Mundubbera. This was the highest river height since 1942 and flooded more than 20 houses. Downstream at Gayndah, the river peaked at 16.1 metres (53 ft) with floodwaters reaching two houses.[23] Both towns were isolated for several days and there was major disruption to the drinking water supply and local agricultural production.[23][24]

Bundaberg had its worst flooding in 40 years,[18] after the Burnett River flooded the city. Floodwater forced 300 households to leave their homes .[18]


  1. "Victoria's flood crisis to continue for days". Australian Broadcasting Corporation. Retrieved 20 January 2011.
  2. "Queensland Floods Appeal". humanappeal.org.au. Archived from the original on 15 January 2011. Retrieved 16 January 2011.
  3. 3.0 3.1 "Australia: Queensland floods spur more evacuations". BBC. 31 December 2010. Retrieved 14 January 2011.
  4. Hurst, Daniel (11 January 2011). "Three-quarters of Queensland a disaster zone". Brisbane Times. Retrieved 14 January 2011.
  5. "Flood inquiry announced as death toll rises". Australian Broadcasting Corporation. Retrieved 17 January 2011.
  6. "La Nina to break down later this year". ABC News (Australia). Australian Broadcasting Corporation. 1 January 2011. Retrieved 1 January 2011.
  7. "Queensland in December 2010: The wettest December on record" Monthly Climate Summary for Queensland. 4 January 2011. Bureau of Meteorology. Product code IDCKGC24R0. Retrieved 12 January 2011
  8. "Queensland in spring 2010: The wettest spring"[permanent dead link] Wednesday, 1 December 2010. Bureau of Meteorology. Product code IDCKGC14R0. Retrieved 12 January 2011
  9. "Heavy Rains in Queensland". NASA Earth Observatory. NASA. 12 January 2011. Retrieved 15 January 2011.
  10. "Hundreds of roads closed in flooded Qld". The Sydney Morning Herald. 28 December 2010. Retrieved 30 December 2010.
  11. "Some Queensland flood victims facing long wait to return to their flooded homes". The Australian. 30 December 2010. Retrieved 30 December 2010.
  12. "Flood-hit Queensland braced for fresh storms". BBC. 5 January 2011. Retrieved 6 January 2011.
  13. Reporters, Staff (30 December 2010). "From drought to flood". Brisbane Times. Archived from the original on 29 December 2010. Retrieved 15 January 2011.
  14. "Flood destroys doctor's surgery in Theodore". ABC Rural. Australian Broadcasting Corporation. 10 January 2011. Retrieved 15 January 2011.
  15. 15.0 15.1 Campion, Vikki (1 January 2011). "Flooded towns in Queensland declared disaster zones". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 1 January 2011.
  16. "Qld's 'heartbreaking' floods worst ever". The Sydney Morning Herald. Australian Associated Press. 30 December 2010. Retrieved 30 December 2010.
  17. 17.0 17.1 "Rockhampton faces forced evacuations". ABC News Online. Australian Broadcasting Corporation. 31 December 2010. Retrieved 3 January 2011.
  18. 18.0 18.1 18.2 Gorrie, Arthur (4 January 2011). "SES volunteers take goodwill gift". The Gympie Times. APN News & Media. Retrieved 4 January 2011.
  19. "Rockhampton Airport shuts down". The Morning Bulletin. APN News & Media. 3 January 2011. Retrieved 3 January 2011.
  20. "Queensland floods: Rockhampton floodwaters 'peak'". BBC. 5 January 2011. Retrieved 7 January 2011.
  21. Fickling, David; Brindal, Ray (30 December 2010). "Rains Hit Australian Coal Mines". The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 30 December 2010.
  22. O'Sullivan, Matt (4 January 2011). "Losses and delays in flooded state". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 4 January 2011.
  23. 23.0 23.1 "Worst over for Gayndah, Mundubbera". NineMSN. 29 December 2010. Archived from the original on 6 January 2011. Retrieved 4 January 2011.
  24. Koch, Tony (31 December 2010). "Disease next threat as barely a drop to drink in flooded Queensland towns". The Australia. Retrieved 4 January 2011.

Other websitesEdit