Townsville floods. Ross River Dam from a helicopter. Picture: Zak Simmonds
Townsville floods. Ross River Dam from a helicopter. Picture: Zak Simmonds

’One in 2000-year’ monsoon

THE monster monsoon centred over Townsville is rewriting the record books with suggestions falls in the Ross River Dam catchment could exceed a one in 2000-year rainfall event.

Mayor Jenny Hill provided the figure yesterday in defending criticism of Townsville's official flood maps which did not predict the inundation across suburbs such as Idalia.

But the maps relate to a one in 100 year-event _the scale of rainfall referred to by Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk.

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Townsville Local Disaster Management Group Chair Mayor Jenny Hill said flood levels in Ross River were greater than a 1 in 500-year event.

The Townsville planning scheme requires properties to be constructed above the 1 per cent Annual Exceedence Probability (one in 100-year) flood level.

"The Townsville floods were much bigger than a 1 in 100 year event," Cr Hill said.

"A team of experts is currently analysing the data but it is clear that the flood levels in the Ross River were greater than a 1 in 500 year event.

"There were rainfall totals over the Ross River Dam catchment during the past week that were in excess of 1 in 2000 year rainfall events."

The Bureau of Meteorology wase unable to provide an estimate yesterday.

A spokesman said they were preparing an analysis.

"I can advise that some locations have recorded rainfall amounts that have been unprecedented. The bureau is preparing an official analysis of these conditions and their historical context," the spokesman said.

Property owners in Idalia have been shaking their heads in disbelief at the extent of inundation in areas which people believed would not flood.

Hundreds of millions of dollars worth of commercial property and hundreds of homes went under water at Idalia with many of the structures developed within the past decade.

Ms Palaszczuk said damage assessments in the Townsville area so far found 738 properties "quite severely damaged" and 252 homes which were "completely uninhabitable".

Queensland Fire and Emergency Services Minister Craig Crawford will request the Inspector-General undertake a review into the devastating floods which have ravaged North Queensland and North West Queensland.

Mr Crawford said the review was standard practice after such a major event.

"I will be tasking the independent Inspector-General Emergency Management to review key preparedness and response elements to monsoonal rains in Queensland," Mr Crawford said.

"I will also ensure the operation of impacted dams will be reviewed in this process."

Mr Crawford said members of the community would be given the opportunity to provide submissions to the review.

"There are always lessons which can be learned from events like this," Mr Crawford said.

The terms of reference for the review are expected to be available on the Inspector-General Emergency Management website on Friday.