An 85-year-old woman has become the second victim of storms ravaging south-east Queensland this week as the damage bill edges towards A$500 million, as emergency services are gearing up for more severe storms forecast to hit on Saturday.
Police have recovered the body of a woman who died when the car she was in was swept away in racing floodwaters west of Brisbane.
The death followed that of a 20-year-old man on Sunday night and came as emergency crews dealt with fresh flood damage across Brisbane, Ipswich and the Lockyer Valley from rains overnight.
About 10,000 insurance claims worth A$95 million have been lodged so far but insurers expect the total damage bill to hit close to A$500 million.
Emergency crews have been working since last Sunday afternoon to clean up after storms struck Brisbane, the Gold Coast and Ipswich on Sunday.
They were given little relief with more deluges blanketing the area on Wednesday night and early Thursday morning.
Premier Anna Bligh told reporters preparations were being made to ensure well-rested defence and emergency personnel were available for another big storm.
“We know that the most severe storm that we can expect is likely on Saturday and we want to make sure that the people who are likely to be dealing with it have had sufficient rest,” Bligh said.
Emergency services minister Neil Roberts said the Queensland Fire and Rescue Service would be deploying additional swift water rescue teams on Saturday night as a matter of precaution.
“We’ve seen over the past couple of days and instances, we’ve had too many people driving through or walking through floodwaters,” Roberts told reporters.
About 300 SES personnel are scattered throughout south-east Queensland and plans are in place to have the SES continuing working into the weekend.
Offers of help from interstate SES workers have been accepted with an additional 140 SES volunteers from NSW expected to arrive in Queensland soon.
The predicted storms also could cause havoc with the Rugby World Cup final to be played at Suncorp Stadium on Saturday night.
Bligh said any decision about the game would have to be left until Saturday.
But a Rugby League World Cup spokesman said it would have to be “extreme circumstances” for the match to be cancelled.
“Suncorp Stadium is an outstanding wet weather ground,” the spokesman said.
“At this stage we are not giving any thought to the game not going ahead.”