Southeast Queensland floods \'worst since 1974\'

Queensland\'s southeast is in the grip of the worst floods since the 1974 disaster, with one man killed and people trapped and stranded throughout the region.

Queensland\'s southeast is in the grip of the worst floods since the 1974 disaster, with one man killed and people trapped and stranded throughout the region.

Premier Anna Bligh said rainfall across the state\'s southeast in the past 24 hours had led to the most extensive flooding since the 1974 floods, when the Brisbane River broke its banks and inundated the surrounding areas.

"Advice from the Bureau of Meteorology is the wild weather could continue through to Friday," she said in a statement late on Wednesday.

Minutes after Ms Bligh declared a state of emergency, Prime Minister Kevin Rudd said he\'d been briefed and his government stood ready to send in help.

"We are in close contact with the Queensland government, should there be any specific requests for assistance," he said in Perth.

The premier will convene a meeting of the State Disaster Management Group at 8am (AEST) on Thursday.

In Surfers Paradise, a man was killed when a piece of metal struck a window and hit him in the chest amid wind gusts of 100km/h.

Police declared an emergency situation in the tourist town, blocking off streets as tables, chairs and even barbecues blew off the top of high-rise buildings.

Brisbane was in chaos on Wednesday evening, after some of the heaviest rain in years.

Roads and watercourses were flooded, sparking many rescues.

The city of Ipswich, west of Brisbane, was all but cut off with floodwaters closing the Ipswich Motorway and most alternative routes cut.

Ipswich councillor Paul Tully said Goodna, between Brisbane and Ipswich, had been gripped by the worst floods since the catastrophic floods of 1974.

Some 28,000 homes and businesses were without power across the southeast on Wednesday evening.

Queensland has long awaited a formal end to the southeast\'s worst-ever drought. Ironically, flood waters were the trigger for the state government\'s declaration that it\'s over.

A high tide on Wednesday evening is expected to push local flooding to its peak, but forecasters have also warned there\'s no end in sight to the abysmal weather. Rain and high winds are forecast to continue.

In Brisbane, efforts were underway to rescue 50 people trapped in vehicles near the Royal Brisbane Hospital in suburban Herston.

Earlier, four people were pulled from floodwaters in the western suburb of Pullenvale and houses evacuated after a landslide in The Gap.

Authorities were also struggling to restore power supplies to affected homes and businesses.

An Energex spokeswoman said the Gold Coast and southern areas of Brisbane were the worst hit, but other pockets in the southeast had also had supplies cut. About 50,000 Energex customers have been affected in the past 24 hours, she said.

Earlier in the day, thousands of students were sent home early, and some had to be evacuated as flash floods cut off schools. SES crews had to ferry students at Pullenvale State School out to their parents.

A spokeswoman for the Member for Moggill, Bruce Flegg, said the situation was even worse at Brookfield State School.

"Teachers and students are isolated there, I\'m not sure how many at this stage," she said. "Parents can\'t get to the school, but their children are being looked after by teachers.

"I assume the SES will have to try to get them out because the water\'s so high it could take a couple of days to fall." Amid hundreds of emergencies, a large boat ramp at Jindalee was swept into the Brisbane River after being hit by a log swept down by floodwaters.

There are also reports of bridges being washed away, with authorities trying to warn drivers of hundreds of road closures.

The Bureau of Meteorology said that in the 24 hours to 7pm (AEST) Wednesday, Brisbane\'s CBD had received 159mm of rain, Redcliffe north of Brisbane 141.6mm, Beerburrum north of Brisbane 236.6mm, and the Gold Coast 83.6mm.

But the figures for the 24 hours to 9am on Wednesday were even more alarming.

Beerburrum had its wettest one-day period in 17 years with 302mm of rain.

Over the same period Redcliffe received 151mm, and Brisbane city 89mm - its wettest 24 hours in eight years.

The mean May rainfall for Brisbane\'s CBD is 73.7mm. The upside is that the combined levels of Brisbane\'s dams has jumped by 8.22 per cent to 67.5 per cent of capacity - the most water they\'ve held since 2002.

Rain in the past 24 hours alone has added about 8.5 months\' supply to the system.

Severe weather, flood and coastal wind warnings remain current throughout the southeast.

Ms Bligh said parents should listen to reports of school closures to be issued by local media from 5.30am (AEST) on Thursday.

She said joint state and commonwealth-funded Natural Disaster Relief and Recovery Arrangements (NDRRA) applied from 6pm (AEST) on Wednesday.

Brisbane Lord Mayor Campbell Newman has also triggered the city\'s Local Disaster Management Group.

Source AAP

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