brochure describes the flood
warning system operated by the Australian
Government, Bureau of Meteorology for the Flinders River. 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.
The Flinders River catchment is located in north west Queensland and drains an area of approximately 109,000 square kilometres. The river rises in the Great Dividing Range, 110 kilometres northeast of Hughenden and flows initially in a westerly direction towards Julia Creek, before flowing north to the vast savannah country downstream of Canobie. It passes through its delta and finally into the Gulf of Carpentaria, 25 kilometres west of Karumba. The Cloncurry and Corella Rivers, its major tributaries, enter the river from the southwest above Canobie. There are several towns in the catchment including Hughenden, Richmond, Julia Creek and Cloncurry. Floods normally develop in the headwaters of the Flinders, Cloncurry and Corella Rivers. General heavy rainfall situations can develop from cyclonic influences in the Gulf of Carpentaria which cause widespread flooding, particularly in the lower reaches below Canobie.
Previous flood information for the Flinders Rivers is well documented. The towns of Hughenden, Richmond and Cloncurry have extensive peak height records dating back some 50 years.
The Bureau of Meteorology operates a flood warning system for the Flinders River based on a rainfall and river height observations network shown on the map. The network consists of a number 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 automatic telephone telemetry stations at Mount Emu Plains, Glendower, Richmond, Etta Plains, Cloncurry, Julia Creek, Landsborough Highway, Dugald River, Canobie and Walkers Bend, which are operated by the Department of the Natural Resources and Mines.
Bureau's Flood Warning Centre issues Flood Warnings
and River Height Bulletins for the Gulf
Rivers, including the Flinders River, during flood events. Qualitative
flood forecasts are issued
when moderate flood levels are likely to be exceeded.
The five Shire
Council's situated throughout the
Flinders River catchment (Carpentaria,
Cloncurry, McKinlay, Richmond and Flinders) may be able to provide
further information on flooding
in your area of the Flinders River catchment.
Flood Warnings and Bulletins
The Bureau of Meteorology issues Flood Warnings and River Height Bulletins for the Gulf River catchments, including the Flinders River basin, 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.
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 Flinders River basin - it contains the flood gauge heights of the more significant recent floods.
All heights are
in metres on flood gauges
Historical flood heights for all river stations in the Flinders River Floodwarning network, as shown on the map, are available from the Bureau of Meteorology upon request.
At each flood warning river height station, the severity of flooding is described as minor, moderate or major according to the effects caused in the local area or in nearby downstream areas. Terms used in Flood Warnings are based on the following definitions.
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 Flinders River catchment.
(B) = Bridge
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:
Flood gauge information
For the latest rainfall and river height conditions please use the following link:
For the latest rainfall and river height network map please use the following link:Network maps
For further information, contact:
The Regional Hydrology Manager, Bureau of Meteorology, GPO Box 413, Brisbane Q 4001