Residents evacuated as Roma floods again

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By Fidelis Rego, Bruce Woolley and staff

The southern inland Queensland town of Roma looks to have had a reprieve from major flooding after the weather bureau confirmed Bungil Creek peaked at 7.65 metres on Tuesday evening.

Dozens of people were evacuated from their homes and most are staying with friends and family after predictions the creek would rise to 8.1 metres - the same level that saw 210 homes inundated last year.

Senior weather bureau hydrologist Jimmy Stewart says the creek will stay above 6.5 metres until lunchtime Wednesday.

"The latest readings show it has started to fall, so that's certainly very encouraging and we can certainly say levels will fall away very slowly now through the night," he said.

SES crews say they evacuated up to 50 people from their homes in low-lying parts of Roma where Bungil Creek broke its banks.

Some residents were rescued by boat from their homes, while others are waiting in an evacuation centre.

Mayor Robert Loughnan says about 20 per cent of the town could be affected by the flooding and many homes will have been inundated.

"I think 150 to 160 homes have some form of inundation to the floor boards or above, so this is still a major event for us, but certainly if we have avoided that higher peak level of 8.1 metres then I will be delighted with that outcome," he said.

He says emergency services have already rescued people caught in floodwaters in their cars.

"I certainly know there's been a couple of incidents... we are certainly urging people to be careful on these roads," he said.

"There's a lot of flooded gullies that wouldn't normally be in flood and this was relatively unexpected this rain - four to six inches."

In anticipation of the flooding the Maranoa Regional Council has been delivering sandbags and door-knocking homes.

Acting Queensland Police Commissioner Ian Stewart says residents have been contacted in any way possible.

"People have been told about the impending danger to them, the risk to them," he said.

"There has been an emergency alert go out this morning by SMS and phone message to the affected areas of Roma and we [have asked] people to take action themselves."

Extra police officers and an aircraft are also on standby in case the situation deteriorates.

Mr Loughnan is preparing for the worst but hoping for the best.

"We'll get through this. People are very resilient and I think you'll see [that] in the next few hours," he said.

"Roma people really know how to help each other in these sorts of events as well."

Roma resident Elsie Harper thought she was ready for a flood of 7.5 metres but the flood waters have crept even higher and she was not able to move fast enough to save two cars.

"We got those warnings and we already had one car out. When we were told 7.5 we thought yeah fine, bring it on, it's the best way because we've been through those ones before," she said.

"And then suddenly we get the message, no it's going to be 8.1 metres. So we still haven't got time to get two vehicles out."

Major roads including the Carnarvon and Warrego highways have been closed.

Catherine Goldie from Ergon Energy says a number of houses are being disconnected as a safety precaution.

"Currently we have 235 customers who are affected by the network being switched off in a number of areas," she said.

"We'll continue to monitor the situation and [with] the floodwaters rising, further disconnections are a possibility."

Both Acting Premier Paul Lucas and LNP leader Campbell Newman flew into Roma today.

Mr Lucas sat in on a local disaster coordination meeting and Mr Newman promised to investigate whether the town could be flood-proofed using a levee system.

Australian Broadcasting Corporation