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The Hinchinbrook Shire Council and the Bureau of Meteorology maintain a comprehensive network of rainfall and river height stations throughout the catchment of the Herbert River.
A number of manual and semi-automatic stations enhance transmission of this information. Flood predictions and warnings are made in both general and specific terms. The automatic sites transmit data by radio to a Council computer in Ingham on a regular basis. Manual readers at a number of key locations also provide visual river height readings for confirmation of the electronic data. All river heights are measured from riverbed level.
The Bureau of Meteorology categorises flooding as minor, moderate and major and together with the Council, predicts specific heights and times of the flood at Gairloch Bridge. Knowledge of the flood height at Gairloch allows an assessment to be made of the impact of flooding in the Ingham, Halifax and Lower Herbert areas.
Abergowrie flood heights are taken at Abergowrie Bridge, the deck of which is 10m above bed level. All Ingham and Lower Herbert flood heights are related to Gairloch Bridge which is 4.1m above bed level. Residents should be aware that floodwaters can continue to rise downstream of Ingham and surrounds for some hours after Gairloch has peaked.
The Flood Height Comparison lists significant heights at Gairloch Bridge and their probable effects around Ingham and downstream.
In 2003 WBM Oceanics Australia (Now BMT WBM) completed the Herbert River Flood Study for the Herbert River Improvement Trust. A deliverable of this study was the production of flood level, depth and hazard mapping, which was subsequently incorporated into Hinchinbrook Shire Council’s planning scheme. However, since the completion of the study there have been changes on the floodplain that have affected flooding and additional more accurate data has become available. In December 2015, BMT WBM in association with Venant Solutions Pty Ltd undertook an update to Council’s Flood Model. As a result of this update, Hinchinbrook Shire Council has developed a series of flood depth maps for the following flood events:
These flood depth maps have been developed around the township areas in the Hinchinbrook Community. The maps provide an indication on the expected peak flood depth during each flood event listed above. The depth mapping is indicative only and is developed using the updated 2015 flood model.