FLOOD WARNING SYSTEM
for the
MOONIE RIVER

This brochure describes the flood warning system operated by the Australian Government, Bureau of Meteorology for the Moonie 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.

Moonie River at Flinton
Moonie River at Flinton
Contained in this document is information about :
(Last updated May 2011)

Flood Risk

The Moonie River basin is located in southwest Queensland and drains an area of approximately 14,050 square kilometres at Fenton.  The largest tributary is Teelba Creek and flows into the Moonie River between Flinton and Mt Driven.  This tributary, along with local streams running into the Moonie River upstream of Flinton, can contribute to major flooding following local heavy rainfall.  Major flooding downstream can cause many thousands of hectares of low lying areas to be inundated, properties to be isolated and highways to be cut. 

Previous Flooding

Flood records for Nindigully and Thallon date back to 1970 and 1950 respectively.  The highest flood on record occurred in March 2010 when the river rose to a height of 4.65 metres at Nindigully and to 5.50 metres at Thallon. The figures below shows the significant flood peaks which have occurred at Nindigully and Thallon since records began.

Highest Annual Flood Peak Diagram

Highest Annual Flood Peak Diagram

Flood Forecasting

The Bureau of Meteorology operates a flood warning system for the Moonie River basin 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 Nindigully and Fenton, which are operated by the Department of Environment and Resource Management.

The Bureau's Flood Warning Center issues Flood Warnings and River Height Bulletins for the Moonie River during flood events. Qualitative flood forecasts are issued whenever widespread minor flood levels are likely to be exceeded. 

Local Information

The Dalby Regional Council and the Balonne Regional Council may be able to provide further information on flooding in your area of the Moonie River catchment.

Flood Warnings and Bulletins

The Bureau of Meteorology issues Flood Warnings and River Height Bulletins for the Moonie River 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 Moonie River basin - it contains the flood gauge heights of the more significant recent floods.

River height station
Apr
1988
Jan
1996
May
1996
Feb
1997
Sep
1998
Jan
2004
Feb
2008
Mar
2010
Jan
2011
The Deep Crossing 3.70 4.45 3.70 2.99 3.70 1.85 - 4.05 5.65
Tartha 5.70 6.35 6.08 3.80 6.10 3.30 - - 7.00
Southwood 5.60 6.35 6.03 3.85 6.30 4.45 6.25 5.90 6.90
Kinkora 3.55 3.90 - - -
Flinton 5.02 4.60 4.25 4.85 5.06 4.50 4.86 5.00 5.05
Teelba
(Teelba Creek)
5.35 3.20 6.00 6.10 - - 7.72 5.40
Mt Driven 7.52 5.99 5.56 7.14 7.45 6.10 6.59 8.25 7.21
Nindigully 3.88 3.39 3.14 3.83 3.93 3.32 3.55 4.65 3.88
Thallon 5.33 5.26 5.12 5.36 5.36 5.17 5.25 5.50 5.36
Fenton 5.11 4.73 4.45 4.91 5.03 4.85 - 5.48 4.94
All heights are in metres on flood gauges. 

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

MOONIE RIVER CATCHMENT - ASSESSMENT OF THE FLOOD POTENTIAL

Major flooding requires a large scale rainfall situation over the Moonie 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.

General 50mm or heavier falls in 24 hours over a wide area will most likely cause major flooding, particularly in the middle to lower reaches between Tartha and Mt Driven extending downstream to Nindigully, Fenton and the New South Wales and Queensland border.

Flood Classifications

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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 Moonie River catchment.

River Height Station
First Report Height
Crossing Height
Minor Flood Level
Crops & Grazing
Moderate Flood Level
Towns and Houses
Major Flood Level
The Deep Crossing 0.5 0.00 (C) 2.5 3.5 3.0 4.2 4.2
Tartha 1.0 1.60 (C) 2.5 4.0 4.0 5.5 5.0
Southwood  1.0 0.80 (C) 3.5 - 4.5 5.5
Kinkora 1.0 0.06 (X) 2.0 3.0 4.0
Flinton 1.0 1.20 (C) 3.0 3.0 4.0 5.2 5.0
Teelba 3.0 0.50 (X) 5.0 7.0 6.0 7.0
Mt Driven 2.0 5.90 (B) 3.0 7.0 5.0 8.0 6.0
Nindigully 2.0 3.50 (A) 2.2 2.8 3.0 4.5 4.0
Thallon 3.0 4.90 (B) 4.0 5.0 4.5 5.3 5.0
Fenton  - 3.5 4.3 5.0
 All heights are in metres on flood gauges. 
(B) = Bridge  (A) = Approaches  (C) = Causeway  (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:

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

Catchment Map showing the Moonie River flood warning network

Click here to view map as:          PNG           PDF(409K bytes)

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