Toowoomba Region Mayor Paul Antonio is calling for the community to be patient, while staying vigilant on the roads, as the focus shifts to recovery operations after the weekend’s extensive rain.

Mayor Antonio, chair of the Local Disaster Management Group (LDMG), said Council was continuing to monitor conditions, including the Region’s three dams.

“Bursts of sunshine have offered a reprieve from the rain today (February 28), allowing us to start assessing conditions on the ground,” Mayor Antonio said.

“After days of heavy rain, including intense bursts at different locations, I urge people to please avoid travelling if possible,” Mayor Antonio said.

“There are more than 120 roads across the Region that are flooded and currently closed or have a hazard which poses a danger to motorists.

“Our top priority is to ensure residents are safe and informed about the potential dangers from flood waters.

“There is a minor flood warning for the Condamine River, with Cecil Plains likely to be cut off in most directions in the coming day.

“Motorists are advised to use extreme caution at all times. Please observe any warning signs and drive to the conditions, however not every hazard will be signposted.

“Wet weather creates many hazards on the roads, such as water over the road, potholes, washouts and slippery surfaces. These conditions persist after the rain has stopped and motorists need to exercise caution.”

“Council will start assessing the condition of roads and other infrastructure in the coming days to gauge the extent of the damage. This will determine where our recovery efforts will focus.

“Thankfully, we know there will be some assistance for disaster recovery from the higher levels of government. It is impossible to ascertain the cost of the damage before even a preliminary assessment has been undertaken.”

Mayor Antonio said one positive note was the rare restoration of full storage capacity at the Region’s three dams.

Dam levels at 7am today (February 28): Cooby Dam: 102.7%; Lake Perseverance: 103.3% (pictured) and Lake Cressbrook: 100.6%; combined storage capacity: 101.5%, which includes volumes above the spillway height. (The levels are slowly receding at Cooby and Perseverance, while slowly rising at Lake Cressbrook. Rainfall in the catchments will influence further inflows)

“This highlights the volume of water that is needed to fill Council’s water supply storages. Due to the dams overflowing and very wet conditions at the surrounding grounds, the three dams will be closed to the public until further notice as a safety precaution,” Mayor Antonio said.

(As an example, Thursday’s (February 24) total storage volume was 34,131ML. The current storage volume is 127,377ML, which is an increase in storage of 93,246ML. A significant volume has also been released over the spillways, in addition to this figure.)

“Council’s disaster dashboard proved a most valuable information resource with more than 278,000 hits on the page since Friday. This included some 56,000 new users, with most people returning to the site around 20 times across the weekend.”

Mayor Antonio praised the coordinating efforts of all Council staff and emergency service personnel who worked at the Local Disaster Control Centre, plus the efforts of SES volunteers, emergency services and TRC staff who worked outside in all conditions.

“I’m especially grateful to every person who played a part in keeping our residents safe. On that front, we emerged from this extreme event without the loss of life.

“Understandably, there are residents and business owners who are counting the cost of some damage from the weather system and this will be clearer in the coming days.

“I extend our thoughts to the other parts of south-east Queensland and New South Wales that are seeing the dreadful loss of life and severe damage from extraordinary flooding.”

Advice about TRC road closures can be found at http://disaster.tr.qld.gov.au/ 

For Bureau of Meteorology updates and warnings, please visit, http://www.bom.gov.au/