High water levels prevented traffic crossing on the Gregory-Cannon Valley Road on Monday. This photo was taken at 1.30pm.
High water levels prevented traffic crossing on the Gregory-Cannon Valley Road on Monday. This photo was taken at 1.30pm.

Flash flooding

IT WAS the wettest September day in 27 years for the Whitsunday region on Monday with more than 140mm of rain falling in the region.

Excessive rain blocked most major roads in the area, temporarily isolating Airlie Beach for a number of hours by road and by air with flights to Proserpine cancelled forcing the airport to close.

Proserpine, Hamilton Plains, Conway and Strathdickie were the areas most affected, mainly due to the tidal-affected Proserpine River and Myrtle Creek.

One motorist was swept off the road near the Gregory-Cannon Valley turn off forcing SES to rescue him but he escaped without injuries.

The Bureau of Meteorology (BOM) recorded 145mm of rain at Proserpine airport by 9am on Monday with rain continuing until well in to the afternoon.

The previous record stood at 82mm back in 1983 and Monday's gauge overflowed to almost double that reading.

BOM senior forecaster Geoff Doueal said Monday's weather pattern in our region was “very special” because a band of thunderstorms and rain formed right along the coast and the wind came into a low pressure trough.

“It is pretty unusual to line up like that,” he said.

Quick facts

  • Highest rainfall recorded in September at Proserpine since 1983.
  • 145mm in 24 hours at Proserpine.
  • Mackay recorded its highest September rainfall in 50 years with 122mm.
  • Hamilton Island had 54mm in 24 hours. Unofficial reports of rainfall in Cannonvale – 168 mm between 11.30pm Sunday and noon on Monday.
  • Virgin Blue and Jetstar cancelled flights to Whitsunday Coast Airport at Proserpine and the airport was forced to close.
  • The Bruce Highway 15km north of Proserpine was officially closed from 8.30am Monday and didn't re-open until 5pm.
  • One man and his two dogs had to be rescued by SES after his camper van was swept off the road.
  • Local emergency services have urged people to take warning from Monday given the wet season is approaching.They said all repairs lingering from Cyclone Ului should be made a priority.
  • Local SES received 10 calls for assistance on Monday.
  • The Proserpine Sugar mill crush is expected to be delayed for about 9-11 days.
  • It's estimated 2-3 days will be added onto the end of the sugar crush season.
  • The production of the first furfural will be delayed until the crush starts again.

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