First flood death as Qld calls in Army choppers
POLICE have confirmed the first death from Queensland's flood and tornado disaster after an elderly man's body was recovered from waters at Burnett Heads, near Bundaberg.
Another two people have been reported missing in floodwaters in Maryborough and Gympie, the ABC reported.
Brisbane, the Sunshine Coast and other parts of the state's south are on tornado watch, with high winds expected until at least 8pm as ex-tropical cyclone Oswald makes its way south towards NSW.
Gympie has been cut off to the north and south while the Sunshine Coast is expecting the worst of the stoms to hit from 4pm today.
Residents in Bundaberg North have been told to evacuate, with hundreds of homes and businesses at risk of flooding as the Burnett River rises.
At least 21 swift-water rescues have taken place and severe weather warnings have been issued for regions stretching from central Queensland to the NSW border.
The weather bureau expects the worst of the weather to be over New South Wales by Monday.
Premier Campbell Newman has jprovided the following round-up of conditions across the state:
Gladstone: At least 40 houses have been inundated around the region.
Bundaberg: Flood levels expected to easily exceed 2010 levels. Evacuations have begun in Bundaberg North and Bundaberg East. Gingin and Childers are isolated.
At least 300 homes and 100 businesses are expected to be inundated. Two Army helicopters are headed to Bundaberg to help with the flood clean-up.
Gympie: A 27-year-old man is missing in floodwaters at Widgee Creek. Flooding is expected in Gympie and the Bruce Highway is cut at Traveston Crossing.
Maryborough: Authorities are searching for a young woman who reportedly drove into floodwaters this morning.
A tornado was reported at Burrum Heads at 4am today. Flooding is expected in Maryborough and a number of surrounding towns are isolated.
At 1pm, the following warnings were current
FLOOD WARNING FOR COASTAL RIVERS AND ADJACENT INLAND CATCHMENTS FROM ROCKHAMPTON TO THE NSW BORDER
FLOOD WARNING FOR THE BURNETT RIVER
FLOOD WARNING FOR THE CALLIOPE, BOYNE, BAFFLE AND KOLAN RIVERS
FLOOD WARNING FOR THE CHERWELL AND BURRUM RIVERS
FLOOD WARNING FOR THE CONNORS, ISAAC, DON, DAWSON AND FITZROY RIVERS
FLOOD WARNING FOR THE MARY RIVER
FLOOD WARNING FOR THE NOOSA, MOOLOOLAH AND MAROOCHY CATCHMENTS
FLOOD WARNING FOR THE UPPER CONDAMINE RIVER AND MYALL CREEK
Oswald moving slowly south at 20km/h
PREMIER Campbell Newman may call in the army to help communities battered by storms and tornadoes.
At 10am, the Bureau of Meteorolgy said the centre of ex-Tropical Cyclone Oswald was about 21km east of Taroom and 100km north of Miles.
The system was moving south southeast at about 20 km/h and was expected to accelerate further during today, contracting into New South Wales on Monday
.A twister warning was issued last night after five tornadoes ripped through coastal towns near Bundaberg, leaving about 20 people injured and about 150 homes damaged.
Two of the most seriously injured were transferred to a Brisbane hospital after a tree came crashing down on their ute at Bargara.
On the Sunshine Coast, police have issued a do not travel warning to residents, amid fears of further wind and rain damage.
More than 10,000 homes in Bundaberg and another 20,000 on the Sunshine Coast were hit with power outages with further likely today. There were still about 10,000 without power on the Coast Sunday morning.
Late Saturday night, power had been restored to many of the homes on the Sunshine Coast.
At 4am, the Bureau of Meteorology issued a warning for people in the Wide Bay and Burnett, Southeast Coast and parts of the Darling Downs and Granite Belt for heavy rain, destructive winds and abnormally high tides.
There is particular concern for low lying areas in the Moreton Bay area near Caboolture and Bribie Island.
"At 1am EST, Ex Tropical Cyclone Oswald was moving slowly southeast over the Central Highlands and Coalfields district, about 150km east southeast of Emerald and 165km west of Gladstone,'' the warning says.
"Ex Tropical Cyclone Oswald is expected to accelerate south southeast during the day today, contracting into New South Wales on Monday.
"There were multiple reports of tornado activity through the northern Wide Bay on Saturday afternoon and evening.
"Currently, radar indicates strong evidence of further tornadoes in the Burrum Heads to Hervey Bay area.
"Destructive winds were reported from Burrum Heads approximately 3:30am.''
The ABC reported that emergency services were assessing the damage at Burrum Heads, near Bundaberg, after a sixth tornado.
Burrum Heads resident Pamela told the ABC the tornado smashed windows at her house:
"We got woken with a terrible crash. There's a tile from someone's roof, we don't know whose, has gone through out our front windows.
"It swirled it came from behind us and then it kind of swirled around and all the fence palings have gone off our fence."
The bureau said there are more damaging winds of up to 125kph to come.
"Damaging winds, with gusts of around 110km/h are expected over the Wide Bay and Burnett, areas of the Southeast Coast district north of Brisbane, and northern parts of the Darling Downs and Granite Belt district.
"Wind gusts in excess of 125km/h may occur and this could cause significant damage or destruction to homes and property in localised areas.
"These conditions are expected to extend southwards through remaining parts of the Southeast Coast district and west to the Great Dividing Range during Sunday.
"In this area, destructive wind gusts in excess of 125 km/h and tornadoes could cause significant damage or destruction to homes and property in localised areas.
"Heavy rainfall which may lead to flash flooding is expected over the Wide Bay and Burnett district and Southeast Coast district, extending west to include the Great Dividing Range and the Granite Belt.
"Six hour rainfall accumulations in excess of 100mm are likely.
"This could lead to rapid river and stream rises. Widespread 24 hour rainfall accumulations in excess of 250mm are likely.
"Currently, the heaviest rain is located on radar over the eastern Wide Bay and Burnett district. Since 9am Saturday, Boolaroo Tops has recorded 453mm, Walla has recorded 365mm, and Gayndah has recorded 253mm.
"Water levels on the morning high tides are likely to exceed the highest tide of the year about coastal and island locations from Burnett Heads to the New South Wales border during Sunday and Monday.
"The sea level is likely to rise above the normal tide and the exposed beaches will experience damaging waves and flooding of some low lying areas close to the shoreline.
"Dangerous surf conditions, with significant beach erosion, are expected along the coast from Burnett Heads to the New South Wales border, particularly during Sunday and Monday.
"This includes Hervey Bay and northern parts of Moreton Bay.''