Flood early warning system - Toowoomba and Oakey

The flood early warning system provides advanced warning that water levels in Toowoomba and Oakey creeks are likely to reach a level of flooding that could close roads and/or pose a threat to businesses and houses.

As well as sending out alerts, the system can also trigger changes to traffic lights so motorists will know to stop and not attempt to cross flooded roads.

The flood early warning system is based on a series of water height meters which measure the rate of water level rise at various sites. Sites are located along East and West creeks in Toowoomba and along Cooby, Gorman, Doctor and Oakey creeks in the Oakey area. This information is relayed by radio from each remote site to a central server in Toowoomba, which will trigger alerts if flood levels are imminent. The system will then generate automatic notifications in the form of SMS alerts and emails. 

Oakey flood warning system

The Oakey flood early warning system is a flood forecasting and warning system for the residents of Oakey. The system is based on data sourced from rainfall forecasts provided by the Bureau of Meteorology, real time rainfall data sourced from rainfall gauges within the catchment and real time water levels sourced from water level gauges located along the Doctor and Oakey creeks in the Oakey catchment.

The forecast and real time data are monitored 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.

In the event of an alert

In the case of an emergency, you may receive a voice message on your landline or a text message on your mobile phone. If you receive an emergency alert and want more information, follow the instructions in the message or find your local emergency service on this website. Emergency alerts are sent by emergency services to landline telephones based on the location of the handset, and to mobile phones based on the billing address.

The Oakey flood early warning system will provide a minimum warning time of approximately six hours prior to a flood event at the Oakey Township. However, every rain event is different and the actual flood warning time will be dependent on rainfall intensity. You will be advised on a case by case basis via the Local Disaster Co-ordination Centre on what to do in the event of flooding. 

The early warning time should allow for provisions to be made to move livestock and pets to a safe location. The RSPCA and other voluntary organisation are also available to assist in the case of emergency.

Schools, nursing homes and hospitals follow their own disaster and evacuation procedures in conjunction with emergency and  police services. Please contact these organisations if you require further information with regards to their individual evacuation procedures.

If you are elderly or unable to leave your home due to disability or illness a register is available. This register is a confidential document that will notify the Local Disaster Management Centre that assistance is required. To register for this service please contact the Customer Service Centre on 131 872.

 The Police or SES will provide notification where possible when it is safe to return to your home or business.

If you are not home or do not receive an alert, you can call the Customer Service Centre on 131 872 for information, as well as listen to your local ABC radio station and other media

Always be prepared for an emergency. Refer to the Get Ready Queensland website for more information on how you can prepare for a flood event.

Accuracy and reliability of the flood early warning system

The accuracy is based on the following information:

  • areas of flood inundation can be estimated using rainfall forecasts from Bureau of Meteorology prior to the event (least accurate)
  • areas of flood inundation can be estimated using real time information sourced from the rainfall gauges (during a rainfall event) (moderately accurate)
  • area of flood inundation can be estimated using real time information sourced from water gauges (very accurate)
  • estimated flood inundation is based upon Airborne Laser Survey (ALS) of the terrain, which has a vertical accuracy of approximately 150 mm.

The Oakey flood early warning system has been designed with a number of systems in place to increase its reliability. These include:

  • battery back up of electronic systems
  • three communication channels (a radio, back-up radio and 3G)
  • twin computer servers at different locations
  • flood wardens manually read gauge heights and Local Disaster Co-ordination Centre staff use numerous information sources when making decisions
  • electronic systems broadcast an alarm to council officers if they have been tampered with
  • a manual gauge is located in close proximity to the automatic water level gauge station,  providing a measure of insurance against technical failure and/or the destruction of automatic water level gauges by floodwaters.
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