Border communities evacuated while others start recovery effort due to flood events

Inglewood's main street on Saturday morning.
Inglewood's main street on Saturday morning.

TWO border villages have been evacuated this morning as they prepare for major flooding.

The entire community of Toomelah and residents in "high danger" parts of Boggabilla, both on the NSW-QLD border have been asked to seek safety with family and friends outside the flood area.

However there is frustration amongst the community with many having to travel to an evacuation centre in Moree, more than 100km away as they are not able to cross the border into Queensland, only minutes away and their main service town.

Northern Tablelands MP Adam Marshall said the residents were offered transport to Moree and local motel accommodation upon their arrival.

The Macintyre River is predicted to peak at 12.8 metres late today, which will completely inundate Boggabilla and isolate Toomelah, according to Mr Marshall.

He thanked emergency service personnel for their "superb" job preparing and assisting everyone in both communities during this difficult time.

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Meanwhile, downstream only a few kilometres, the Goondiwindi community is bracing themselves for a record flood peak on Saturday morning of a predicted 10.7m. This is slightly higher than the 2011 flood event and within the town-saving levee bank.

A watch and act alert has been issued to residents. The community is completely isolated with most, if not all, roads closed by floodwaters and the border closure to the south.

The Macintyre River at Goondiwindi is predicted to peak Saturday morning at 10.7m.

The Macintyre River at Goondiwindi is predicted to peak Saturday morning at 10.7m.

Clean-up starts

For the communities upstream the floodwaters have passed and the clean-up has now started.

The recovery in Inglewood is well underway after the town was devastated by a quick rise in waters causing a whole-town evacuation in the middle of the night, leaving many homes and businesses inundated.

"Whilst this has been a devastating few days, the community spirit in helping each other is exceptional and makes me very proud to be a part of this wonderful community," Goondiwindi Regional Council Mayor Hon Lawrence Springborg AM said.

Yelarbon residents are returning to their homes after precautionary evacuations. It was fortunate that the timing of the Macintyre Brook system peak and the Dumaresq River peak meant there was not a serious scenario for this community, this time.

Texas also experienced a major flood peak of 8.7m but the community is safe. "Please spare a thought for the rural property owners in this area as they have had significant damage, which all comes on top of drought and other flood hardships," Cr Springborg said.

Many towns are isolated by the floodwaters and border closures with those downstream waiting for the unknown.

Many towns are isolated by the floodwaters and border closures with those downstream waiting for the unknown.

Communities downstream are now bracing for the unknown. Many communities west of Goondiwindi are waiting for the peak to have a clearer picture of how their regions will be impacted. "These residents have already been doing it tough with limited road access for several days," Cr Springborg said.

Floodwaters from the Macintyre River at Goondiwindi combined with floodwaters from the Weir River has the potential to cause major flooding along the Barwon River at Mungindi from mid-December, with a level higher than the early April 2021 peak.The river may reach 7.3m around December 16 but more will be known when upstream levels are recorded. Residents have been told to act now and prepare.

Moree Plains Shire Council Mayor, Katrina Humphries, pleaded with everyone to take all precautions.

"Please take care with river water as our environment is already saturated. There are enormous dangers with fast flowing water, debris and submerged logs, not to mention the snakes and spiders that are also seeking higher ground," she said.

"As I sign off from Council, I plead with you all to stay safe, don't risk your life in flood waters, check your stock now, manage your low-lying areas while it is safe to do so, get your scripts filled and make sure you have supplies. We do have time on our side so please be prepared for the worst-case scenario but hope for something less.

"Help and support are stretched to the limit with the magnitude of this wet season and everyone is already working overtime. Please help yourselves as much as possible, keep an eye on your neighbours and know where your kids are. As always, we will get through this but we need to focus on keeping ourselves and those around us safe."

This story Border villages evacuated while clean-up starts for others first appeared on The Armidale Express.