This brochure describes
the flood warning system operated by the Australian Government, Bureau
of Meteorology for the Georgina River and Eyre Creek. 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 Georgina River and Eyre Creek system drains an area of approximately 210,000 square kilometres. It rises to the north west of Mt Isa with three main tributaries, the Buckle, Sander and Ranken Rivers. The latter two have their headwaters in the Northern Territory. Further inflow enters the system from numerous creeks and rivers, the two main tributaries being the Burke and Hamilton Rivers. The Burke River drains the area to the north of Boulia and enters the Georgina River about 20 kilometres upstream of Marion Downs, whilst the Hamilton rises to the northeast of Boulia and enters the main Georgina below Marion Downs. Towns located within the catchment include Urandangie, Dajarra, Boulia and Bedourie.
Very little rainfall is needed to bring the country to a standstill. Following flood rains, the main channel fills fairly quickly and then spreads out into the neighboring channels and watercourses for kilometres on either side. In the event of severe flooding, the Georgina can vary in width in the upper reaches from 15 to 20 kilometers, and in the lower reaches it is estimated in some sections to be 25 to 30 kilometers wide.
The main impact of flooding is the isolation of towns and properties and the extensive inundation of grazing lands which can last several months in some areas. Road transport disruption for long periods is common during large scale flooding.
Flooding in the Georgina River is generally associated with widespread rainfall situations over northern and central Queensland and the Northern Territory. The highest recorded flood peaks occurred in late January and early February of 1974. The following figures show the significant flood peaks at Marion Downs and Glengyle since records began.
The Bureau of Meteorology operates a flood warning system for the Georgina River and Eyre Creek 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 Roxborough Downs and Boulia, which are operated by the Department of Natural Resources and Mines.
The Bureau's Flood Warning Centre issues Flood Warnings and River Height Bulletins for the Georgina River and Eyre Creek during flood events. Qualitative flood forecasts are issued when moderate flood levels are likely to be exceeded.
Local Council's throughout the Georgina River catchment may be able to provide further details of flooding in your area.
Flood Warnings and Bulletins
The Bureau of Meteorology issues Flood Warnings and River Height Bulletins for the Georgina River and Eyre Creek 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 :
Internet/World Wide Web
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 Georgina River and Eyre Creek basin - it contains the flood gauge heights of the more significant recent floods.
[*] This height was obtained from a surveyed flood mark
Historical flood heights for all river stations in the Georgina River and Eyre Creek 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 Georgina River and Eyre Creek catchment.
(B) = Bridge (A) = Approaches (X) = Crossing
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