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Airport closes as floodwaters grow higher

April 4, 2017 Headline News No Comments Email Email

Following a final JetGo flight out of Rockhampton Airport early yesterday afternoon, the airport has closed down as the Queensland city braces for a huge flood bearing down on it and forecast to peak tomorrow.

Experts initially predicted the flood, coming in the wake of Cyclone Debbie, would be the biggest since 1954, with 3000 homes at risk and the Fitzroy River set to peak at 9.4 metres tomorrow afternoon. The size of the predicted flood peak has now been reduced to 8.7 metres, which would still make it the worst flood to hit the city since 1991 or 2011.

Rockhampton Airport manager Scott Waters told the Brisbane Courier-Mail that crews would shut down facilities and secure important infrastructure, with floodwater expected to start pouring over the runway from mid-afternoon today.

Rockhampton Airport

The airport advised yesterday that airlines had been told of the closure and that Gladstone was the preferred alternative airport until Rockhampton Airport reopened.

The airport advised travellers to contact their airlines for information.

“In terms of parking, the covered, premium and long term areas are closed,” an airport statement said.

“Short term remains open for the moment however with the impending closure we are encouraging people not to park at the airport if possible.  Council will be towing vehicles parked in long term starting Sunday 2nd April.”

Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said a temporary barrier had been erected to protect Rockhampton Airport’s infrastructure when floodwaters rose and closed the airport.

“Temporary barriers are also being erected to protect homes in the north Rockhampton suburb of Berserker.”

Tiona McGugian, manager of Rockhampton’s Fitzroy Hotel, told ABC News that whatever else happened, the pub would keep running. She said patrons would all be “sitting on the verandah drinking alcohol, which is what they do”.

Written by Peter Needham

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