Despite this morning’s high tide, Brisbane’s flood remains below 2011 levels

Brisbane’s city gauge reached 3.85 meters during high tide this morning.

The river has now well and truly crossed the major flood mark of 3.5m in the city but remains below the 4.46m reached in 2011 and the 5.45m reached in 1974.

This situation is not yet over and water levels are expected to remain high for several days.

But at least it finally stopped raining on the city.

Brisbane’s city gauge fluctuated between 3.83m and 3.85m between 8.45am and 9.17am local time, and at 9.33am it was marked as “stable”.

River levels in the city of Brisbane have seen a marked rise since the middle of last week.(Provided: Bureau of Meteorology)

Diana Eadie of the Bureau of Meteorology (BOM) warned this morning that a second river peak was expected with peak tide tonight around 8pm. At this point, tonight’s peak is expected to reach 3.3m.

Another peak is expected at the next high tide around 9am tomorrow morning.

How does it compare?

Confusingly, Brisbane has both the Brisbane River at the city gauge and the nearby Brisbane River at the Port Office gauge, which reached 3.96m at 9.13am and at 9.18am was marked as being down.

For the purposes of these flood height comparisons, we use the Brisbane City Gauge.

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The 2011 floods followed a horribly wet 2010. By the time Brisbane’s turn came, many areas had already experienced devastating floods.

Intense rains between January 9 and 12 then triggered extreme flash flooding across Toowoomba and the Lockyer Valley before the river’s peak finally reached the city of Brisbane and recorded the highest levels seen since 1974.

Harbor Office Hotel
Brisbane CBD was flooded in January 1974.(Queensland Royal Historical Society)

The infamous floods of 1974 occurred after ex-Tropical Cyclone Wanda descended and inundated the city.

Even these are not the highest floods on record. In 1893, the river overflowed twice in two weeks, reaching heights of 8.35 m and 8.09 m. Further back in 1841, the river reached the dizzying height of 8.43 m.

Ipswich, Gympie and Maryborough

Graph showing that floods greatly exceed major flood levels
The River Bremer at Ipswich continued to rise overnight.(Provided: Bureau of Meteorology)

In Ipswich, waters reached 16.72m at 8.45am today. Likewise, the water level fluctuated.

The current flood at Ipswich remains well below the 19.4m reached in 2011, 20.7m in 1974 and 23.6m in 1893.

Graph showing the highest floods each year since the years 1800 - 1893, 1974, 2011
The Bremer River has long been subject to volatile flooding.(Provided: Bureau of Meteorology)

Meanwhile, the Mary River continued to drop at Gympie overnight but remains above major flood stage, having crested higher than any flood in living memory.

Maryborough is expecting peak flooding today, with levels expected to be similar to those reached during Cyclone Oswald in 2013.

Rains and floods moving south

Attention now turns to northern New South Wales as the rain moves south.

Water has already overtopped the levee in Lismore and major flood warnings have gone out for the Tweed, Wilsons and Clarence rivers.

The Logan and Albert rivers are now also in spate and major flooding has occurred around the Beaudesert area.

The BOM has warned that flood levels along the Logan River could reach levels similar to those that occurred during Cyclone Debbie in 2017.

Flooding along the Albert is expected to reach levels similar to Cyclone Oswald in 2013.

Please keep up to date with your local warnings with ABC Emergency.

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