In Queensland's capital, the Brisbane River reached peak flood levels early on Thursday, Jan. 13, according to Queensland Police, with floodwaters expected to recede slowly during the weekend.
The state's flood death toll rose to 13 on Wednesday night with 51 people still missing, according to Australia's channel Nine News.
The Bureau of Meteorology's latest warning says the Brisbane River peaked at 4.46 meters with the 4 a.m. high tide, well below the 1974 peak of 5.45 meters, due to downgrading of releases from the Wivenhoe Dam last night.
"This is still a major event, the city is much bigger, much more populated and has many parts under flood that didn't even exist in 1974," Queensland Premier Anna Bligh told reporters on Wednesday.
"Brisbane will go to sleep tonight and wake up to scenes that they have, many of them, never seen anything like in their lives," Bligh said.
Flood levels are falling strongly in the nearby city of Ipswich, which was almost split in half by the Bremer River reaching 19.4 meters yesterday. Major flooding in the Lockyer Valley is easing, where the devastating "inland tsunami" passed through from Toowoomba on Monday.
Donations for the recovery effort continue to pour in. By Wednesday morning, the Premier's Flood Relief Appeal had raised in excess of $35 million, according to the Queensland Government's website.