Floods in the Australian state of Queensland have claimed an eighth life as the Brisbane River peaked and emergency flood warnings move south towards New South Wales.
Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said further flash flooding will occur with some rivers yet to peak.
More than 15,000 homes in CBD have been flooded after the Brisbane River peaked at 3.85 metres (12.6 feet) on Monday morning, lower than the 2011 flood peak of 4.5 metres.
The Bureau of Meteorology (BOM) said high levels of rainfall drenched the southeastern area, with some areas receiving a year’s worth of rainfall across the current weather event.
Diana Eadie from the BOM said Mt Glorious had been inundated with 1.5 metres of rain in the past week when its average annual rainfall is 1.6 metres.
“The significance of this event can’t be understated, how much rain has fallen over a large number of catchments across Southeast Queensland,” Eadie said.
In response to criticism of flood planning following previous flood events, Palaszczuk called the weather event an unpredictable “rain bomb” that even BOM was unable to see coming.
“This is mother nature. I can’t control mother nature,” she told reporters. “All these emergency services people have been on the front line doing the best they possibly can.”
The premier said she wanted Queenslanders to “understand” just how much rainfall occurred across the catchment zone.
“If it wasn’t for [emergency services], there would have been a lot more loss of life,” she said. “We should be thanking them for everything they have been doing.”
The Australian Defence Force (ADF) also responded to requests for assistance, with two Taipan helicopters deployed to help rescue efforts.
“In fact, three lives were saved yesterday as a direct result of their actions,” Prime Minister Scott Morrison said on Sunday.
“So the Defence Force are there to help with all of those things—whether it’s recovery and support evacuation if necessary, particularly in quite extreme situations, because they have the training to undertake those tasks,” Morrison later added.
The Pacific Motorway (M1) and Bruce Highway are closed at multiple locations as the flood situation is escalating in the Gold Coast, Logan, and Scenic Rim areas.
The Holman Street ferry terminal was destroyed, with videos showing the debris washing down the river.
The Queensland Fire and Emergency Services said Albert and Logan Rivers are expected to peak on Tuesday mornings.
As the weather system moves southward, the town of Lismore in New South Wales is bracing for its worst flood on record.