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Qld: More flooding expected as heavy rains drench Nth Qld

02 Feb 2009 8:05 AM

BRISBANE, Feb 2 AAP - Authorities are warning of more heavy downpours and flooding in north Queensland and are poised to evacuate residents from some communities in the Gulf of Carpentaria.

Cyclone Ellie has been downgraded to a tropical low after crossing the Queensland coast.

But the weather bureau warns that heavy rainfall and flash flooding are expected to hit parts of north Queensland.

The category one cyclone crossed the coast at Mission Beach, between Cairns and Townsville, at around midnight on Sunday.

Queensland Emergency Services Minister Neil Roberts said a number of coastal rivers, from Innisfail through to Mackay, are expected to flood.

"Our main concern in areas ranging from Innisfail right down to Mackay is the heavy rain and the flooding, so our local disaster management groups, that's their main focus this morning," he told the Nine Network on Monday.

"Some rivers are expected to reach major flooding, for instance in the far north in the Gulf area we expect to be evacuating some people today ... however, we're just keeping a watching brief.

"But we do also have major flooding in many other parts of north Queensland so our disaster management groups are very active at the moment all over far north Queensland."

The weather bureau said the ex-tropical cyclone was expected to be slow moving and remain over land on Monday while weakening further.

"Winds around the centre of the cyclone have now weakened beyond gale force, so the tropical cyclone warning for this system has been cancelled," the Bureau of Meteorology said.

The bureau has now issued a severe weather warning for coastal and inland areas between Cardwell and Bowen.

The tropical low was located about 45km northwest of Cardwell at 0400 (AEST) and was drifting westwards.

"Bands of heavy rain will continue about the coast and spread westwards into the far eastern Goldfields area during the day," the bureau said.

"This heavy rainfall may lead to flash flooding throughout the warning area during the day."