3 Feb 2019

Townsville declared insurance catastrophe after floods

3:46 pm on 3 February 2019

Townsville's flood emergency has been declared a catastrophe by Australia's Insurance Council as rain continues to fall across north Queensland, however the water level in city's dam has stabilised.

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Photo: 123 RF

Authorities had concerns hundreds of homes would be inundated in Townsville overnight, however the heaviest rainfall has been recorded north of the city - in the towns of Ingham, Tully and Halifax.

However, thousands of homes remain abandoned and streets in many Townsville suburbs have turned into rivers as the flood emergency enters its sixth day.

More than half a metre of rain has been dumped on Ingham in the past 12 hours.

In Townsville, up to 20,000 homes remain at risk of flooding if heavy rain persists.

Meteorologists expect another burst of rain tonight.

Bureau of Meteorology forecaster Adam Blazak said 145mm fell in Ingham in just one hour.

"Extremely heavy rainfall. It managed to just dodge the Townsville dam, so that worked out quite well."

Queensland Fire and Emergency Services (QFES) chief superintendent Lance Duncan said swift water specialists remained on alert, with warnings of more torrential rain and flash flooding between Ingham, Townsville and Bowen over the next two days.

"QFES has assisted in 220 relocations of people from their residences," he said.

"The SES has received about 570 requests for assistance and that's just over the last 24 hours and working with the Defence Force too, the SES [distributing] 20,000 sandbags in the Townsville area."

The Army will deliver another 90,000 sandbags to affected Townsville homes today.

Campbell Fuller from the Insurance Council of Australia said the Townsville flood had been declared a catastrophe and almost 2,000 claims had already been lodged.