A Flood Watch notifies the community in specific regions of a potential flood threat from a developing weather situation. It is generally issued 24-36 hours before any likely flooding, and is aimed at giving the community a 'heads-up' that flooding is possible.
If a Flood Watch is issued and you are living, camping or working along rivers or streams, you should regularly check weather forecasts, rainfall totals and river levels and be ready to take action.
Flood Warnings are issued when flooding is about to, or is already happening. They predict the flood size (minor, moderate or major) and estimate the time that the river height will reach certain river gauges. When flood warnings are issued, people in low-lying areas prone to flooding need to activate their flood emergency plan immediately.
When a Minor Flood Warning is issued, the following may be expected:
- Water levels reach the top of the river banks
- Low lying areas along the waterway are inundated by flood water
- Minor roads may be closed and low level bridges submerged
- Livestock and equipment along the waterways are moved to higher ground
In addition to the above, the following may be expected when a Moderate Flood Warning is issued:
- Water levels overtop river banks and inundates low lying areas
- Flood water starts to approach buildings and infrastructure
- Some properties may be inundated by rising flood water, requiring evacuation
- Caravan parks on waterways may be inundated
- Main traffic routes may be closed by flood water
In addition to all of the above, the following may be expected when a Major Flood Warning is issued:
- Water levels overtop river banks and causes extensive inundation on the floodplain
- Farmland is inundated, stock and equipment losses may occur
- Residential and commercial properties are inundated
- Properties and towns may be isolated
- Major traffic routes may be closed
- Evacuations may be required