Floodwaters overwhelm Mitchell Bridge on the Warrego Hwy.
Floodwaters overwhelm Mitchell Bridge on the Warrego Hwy. Contributed

Floodwaters surge through town

A DISASTER situation has been declared at Mitchell as floodwaters invade the town, giving police and emergency crews the power to enforce mandatory evacuations.

The Maranoa River reached 8.65 metres at Mitchell yesterday, flooding homes and businesses across the town.

An evacuation centre set up at the RSL Sports Ground was yesterday relocated to higher ground at the Maranoa Regional Council depot due to rising water.

More than 50 people were expected to spend the night.

Hotel Mitchell owner Sue Marks said she and husband John had prepared emergency supplies on the pub's second storey and could already see people wading through floodwaters in the street trying to flee their properties.

"We're all on a little corner at the moment, waiting for the water to come up through the storm water drains," she said.

"It's not a pretty sight. It's the worst I've ever seen it."

St George, downstream from Mitchell, is next in line to flood.

Residents are on alert, with the Maranoa River expected to peak there on Sunday or Monday above 13 metres.

During the last major flood, in March 2010, the river rose to 13.4 metres.

Other towns bracing for flooding over the next two days are Bollon, Charleville, Tambo, Roma, Winton, Blackall, Eulo and Quilpie.

The Weather Channel's chief meteorologist Dick Whitaker said rain would continue today and tomorrow.

"We're expecting 25-50mm today and tomorrow, then by the weekend the whole situation should markedly ease off," he said.