Queensland Floods: Brisbane Braces for Catastrophic Flooding (Photos)

January 11, 2011 Updated: January 12, 2011

Reminiscent of the 1974 Brisbane flood that reached 5.45 metres, the Brisbane River is expected to peak at 5.5 metres tomorrow morning. But, 36 years later, many more businesses, houses, and high-rise apartments will be affected, and people are already suffering as the waters rise.

[etssp 201]Since the Queensland floods were heralded by Tropical Cyclone Tasha on Christmas morning, the statewide death toll has risen to 10, and more than 90 people were missing this morning, Jan. 12, according to Queensland Police.

The giant floodwaters are still on the move, after surging fatally through the Toowoomba region on Monday.

Now, in Queensland's capital, the Brisbane River is flooding at 3.1 metres and rising, and residences on the banks are already going under. Flood levels are expected to increase during the next 24 hours.

Ben Smith owns a property development business in St Lucia, near the University of Queensland, only 3 km from the CBD.

Ben is very concerned. It has been raining all week, but now the sun has come out, "giving a false sense of hope," as the worst is still to come.

The Bureau of Meteorology's latest warning for Brisbane City predicts the river will reach 4.5 metres at 3 p.m. with 2100 streets, 19,700 residences and 3000 businesses expected to be completely submerged.

Evacuations are well underway and residents from the 30 suburbs listed in the evacuation zone have been asked to move to higher grounds.

Queensland police say the Brisbane River has already broken its banks at Yeronga Corso, Jindalee and Toowong, and residents are urged to remain calm.

Evacuation centres in higher areas have been opened for residents who cannot find relatives.

Unfortunately, St Lucia was not listed in the evacuation zone, and some people have been caught out, now trapped on top floors, surrounded by water.

Ben says St Lucia is a highly populated residential suburb. He is worried because St Lucia is bordered by the Brisbane River on three sides and already virtually surrounded by the floods.

"There has been some major inundation in some of the lower suburbs and low lying areas," Ben says, mentioning his parent's rental property is already flooded—the whole bottom floor of the block of units is 2.5 metres underwater.

Ben says the water is predicted to rise by another 2.5 metres and "that will put the whole of the second floor underwater and people will have to be evacuated by boat."

"We are safe, as our house is on the hill," Ben says. "But even the bottom of our street looks like a lake now. Just 30 metres away from our house, street signs are virtually under water and cars have been totally submerged."

"I have a friend in Jindalee," Ben says. "They have been evacuated. The forecast is their property will be totally submerged."

Ben is wondering anxiously when the flood waters will stop rising. "The high water could stay up at the peak until Saturday."