FLOOD WARNING SYSTEM
for the
MACINTYRE AND WEIR RIVERS

This brochure describes the flood warning system operated by the Australian Government, Bureau of Meteorology for the Macintyre and Weir Rivers. It includes reference information which will be useful for understanding Flood Warnings and River Height Bulletins issued by the Bureau's Flood Warning Centre during periods of high rainfall and flooding.
Macintyre River at Goondiwindi
Macintyre River at Goondiwindi

Contained in this document is information about :
(Last updated May 2011)

Flood Risk

The Macintyre and Weir Rivers drain an area of about 44,000 square kilometres, most of which lies in the southern border parts of Queensland, with a small part of the basin extending into New South Wales. The Macintyre River has three main tributaries - the Macintyre River in New South Wales, the Dumaresq River along the border, and the Macintyre Brook. Major flooding can occur along each of these river systems causing isolation of towns and rural lands, and severe flooding at times in the Goondiwindi area.

Major flooding is also experienced along the Weir River which joins the Macintyre about 200 kilometres downstream from Goondiwindi, near Talwood.

Previous Flooding

Records of large floods at Goondiwindi extend back as far as 1886, and since then more than 60 major floods have occurred. In 1956, Goondiwindi experienced three major floods within six months which prompted the building of levee banks to protect the town. The 1996 flood of 10.6 metres stood as the Goondiwindi record until January 2011 when the Macintyre River reached 10.64 metres.

Annual Peak Height Diagram

Flood Forecasting

In association with Goondiwindi Regional Council, the Bureau of Meteorology operates a flood warning system for the Macintyre and Weir River catchments based on a rainfall and river height observations network shown on the map. The network consists of volunteer rainfall and river height observers who forward observations by telephone when the initial flood height has been exceeded at their station, as well as a large number of automatic telephone telemetry stations which are operated by the Bureau of Meteorology, in conjunction with the Goondiwindi Regional Council and the Department of Environment andl Resource Management.

The Bureau Flood Warning Centre in Brisbane issues Flood Warnings and River Height Bulletins for the Macintyre and Weir Rivers during flood events. River height predictions are given for a number of flood affected towns, including Inglewood, Texas and Goondiwindi and by the Bureau Flood Warning Centre in Sydney, for Bogggabilla on the Macintyre River and Mungindi on the Barwon River.

Predictions for Goondiwindi are given whenever the river level is expected to exceed moderate flooding which is 6 metres on the flood gauge.

Local Information

The Goondiwindi Regional Council is able to provide further information on flooding in the area of the Macintyre and Weir River catchment.

The Goondiwindi Regional Council operate a telephone recorded message Flood Information Service. It provides details of the flooding in Goondiwindi and surrounding areas within the council, giving advice on road closures and flood forecasts issued by the Bureau.

Flood Warnings and Bulletins

The Bureau of Meteorology issues Flood Warnings and River Height Bulletins for the Macintyre and Weir River catchment regularly during floods. They are sent to radio stations for broadcast, and to local Councils, emergency services and a large number of other agencies involved in managing flood response activities. Flood Warnings and River Height Bulletins are available via :

Radio
Radio stations, particularly the local ABC, and local commercial stations, broadcast Flood Warnings and River Height Bulletins soon after issue. 

Local response organisations
These include the Councils, Police, and State Emergency Services in the local area. 

Internet/World Wide Web
Flood Warnings, River Height Bulletins and other weather related data is available on the Bureau's Web page at http://www.bom.gov.au . The Queensland Flood Warning Centre website is http://www.bom.gov.au/qld/flood .

Telephone Weather
Flood Warnings are available through a recorded voice retrieval system, along with a wide range of other weather related and climate information.

Main Directory Phone 1900 955 360
Flood Warnings Phone 1300 659 219

Telephone Weather Services Call Charges:
1900 numbers: 77c per minute incl. GST; 1300 numbers: Low call cost - around 27.5c incl. GST.
(More from international, satellite, mobile or public phones)

Interpreting Flood Warnings and River Height Bulletins

Flood Warnings and River Height Bulletins contain observed river heights for a selection of the river height monitoring locations. The time at which the river reading has been taken is given together with its tendency (e.g. rising, falling, steady or at its peak). The Flood Warnings may also contain predictions in the form of minor, moderate or major flooding for a period in the future. River Height Bulletins also give the height above or below the road bridge or causeway for each river station located near a road crossing. 

One of the simplest ways of understanding what the actual or predicted river height means is to compare the height given in the Warning or Bulletin with the height of previous floods at that location. 

The table below summarises the flood history of the Macintyre and Weir River catchment - it contains the flood gauge heights of the more significant recent floods.

River height station
Jan/Feb
1956
Feb
1976
Jan
1996
Jul/Aug
1998
Sept
2010
Oct
2010
Jan
2011
Yetman
11.10
12.34
9.70
10.40
6.93 6.98
9.91
Riverton
9.30
6.13
6.70
6.15
- - -
Texas
10.11*
10.80
7.20
7.10
6.71 5.21 9.21
Woodspring
9.57
8.53
6.30
5.70
3.01 2.98 7.60
Inglewood Bridge
12.50*
11.73
9.75
9.15
7.50 3.63 9.15
Bengalla
11.82
11.90
9.82
8.80
7.47 5.94 10.94
Goondiwindi
10.27
10.50
10.60
10.48
8.83 8.93 10.64
Riverview
6.12
5.57
5.24
5.30
- - -
Retreat Bridge
14.95
10.65
9.30
- 6.95 10.34
Gunn Bridge
6.52
- 5.44 7.31
Giddi Giddi South
6.48
6.30
6.40
- 4.08 6.05
Talwood
4.74
4.22
4.36
- 3.46 3.97
All heights are in metres on the flood gauges.
[*] These heights have been taken at old gauge sites and may not relate to existing gauge sites.

Historical flood heights for all river stations in the Macintyre and Weir River Floodwarning network, as shown on the map, are available from the Bureau of Meteorology upon request.

MACINTYRE AND WEIR RIVER CATCHMENT
- ASSESSMENT OF THE FLOOD POTENTIAL

Major flooding generally requires a large scale rainfall situation over the Macintyre and Weir River catchment. The following can be used as a rough guide to the likelihood of flooding in the catchment:

50mm in 24 hours over isolated areas, with lesser rains of 25mm over more extensive areas will cause stream rises and the possibility of minor flooding. If lesser rainfalls have been recorded in the previous 24 to 72 hrs, then moderate to major flooding may develop. 50mm in 24 hours will cause isolated flooding in the immediate area of the heavy rain. 

Generally 50mm or heavier falls in 24 hours over a wide area will most likely cause major flooding, particularly in the middle to lower reaches of the Macintyre and Dumaresq Rivers, the Macintyre Brook and Weir River and extending downstream to Mungindi and the New South Wales and Queensland border.  

Flood Classifications

[an error occurred while processing this directive]

Each river height station has a pre-determined flood classification which details heights on gauges at which minor, moderate and major flooding commences. Other flood heights may also be defined which indicate at what height the local road crossing or town becomes affected by floodwaters. 

The table below shows the flood classifications for selected river height stations in the Macintyre and Weir River catchment.

River Height Station
First Report Height
Crossing Height
Minor Flood Level
Crops & Grazing
Moderate Flood Level
Towns and Houses
Major Flood Level
Yetman 2.4 14.00 (B) 2.4 9.0 7.6 10.4 9.1
Riverton 2.0  2.80 (B) 6.0 8.0 7.0 (d/s) 8.0 (d/s)
Texas 2.0  7.50 (R) 6.0 7.0 7.0 (d/s) 6.7 8.0 (d/s)
Woodspring 3.0  7.00 (B) 3.5 5.5 7.0
Inglewood Bridge 3.0 10.40 (B) 5.0 9.0 9.0 10.1 10.0
Bengalla 3.0  2.70 (B) 4.0 6.0 10.0
Goondiwindi 4.0 12.20 (B) 4.0 3.5 6.0 (d/s) 8.5 (d/s)
Riverview 2.0 3.0 4.0 5.0
Retreat Bridge 12.50 (B) 6.0 8.0 10.0
Gunn Bridge  5.90 (B) 5.0 6.0 7.0
Giddi Giddi South 2.0  1.80 (B) 4.0 5.0 5.0 6.0
Talwood 2.0  3.70 (B) 3.0 3.7 3.5 4.0
 All heights are in metres on flood gauges. 
(B) = Bridge  (R) = Road  (d/s) = Downstream

The above details are correct at the time of preparing this document. Up-to-date flood classifications and other details for all flood warning stations in the network are at:

http://www.bom.gov.au/qld/flood/networks/index.shtml

Catchment Map showing the Macintyre and Weir River flood warning network

Click here to view map as:          PNG           PDF(1.0M bytes)

For further information, contact:
The Regional Director, Bureau of Meteorology, GPO Box 413, Brisbane Q 4001