In order to get the most benefit from flood warnings, people in flood prone areas will need to know what, if any, effect the flood will have on their property and some knowledge of how best to deal with a flood situation. Sources of such information could include
- Flood Bulletins/Warnings issued by the Bureau and/or the local Council or emergency services which often contain details of areas affected by flooding, road closures and other advice on what the community should do if they are likely to be flooded;
- Long term residents who may have experienced a similar flood in the past and remember how it affected them;
- Local Councils that have conducted flood studies and have maps of areas that are likely to be flooded by a range of floods.
Flood Warnings typically include a statement about both current and expected levels of flooding at key locations in the area covered by the warning, along with a weather forecast and the latest available observations of river height and rainfalls in the area. In the interpretation of warning messages, it is important to note that the predicted height is a river level above a certain datum, and not a depth of floodwater. The Bureau’s role is to provide Flood Warnings, some of which contain forecasts of expected river heights. Other agencies (local Councils, S/TES, etc) are responsible for interpreting river levels into depths and areas of inundation. People living in flood prone areas should consult with these agencies to find out what level of warning service is operated for their area.
Minor flooding: Causes inconvenience. Low-lying areas next to watercourses are inundated which may require the removal of stock and equipment. Minor roads may be closed and low-level bridges submerged.
Moderate flooding: In addition to the above, the evacuation of some houses may be required. Main traffic routes may be covered. The area of inundation is substantial in rural areas requiring the removal of stock.
Major flooding: In addition to the above, extensive rural areas and/or urban areas are inundated. Properties and towns are likely to be isolated and major traffic routes likely to be closed. Evacuation of people from flood affected areas may be required.
Understanding Floods: Questions and Answers was prepared by the Queensland Floods Science, Engineering and Technology (SET) Panel convened by the Queensland Chief Scientist, Dr Geoff Garrett AO, to explain in clear and simple language the fundamental concepts of floods, including flood causes, impacts, forecasting, and flood risk management now and in the future.