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Canberra
Tuesday, September 22, 2020
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Weekend rain brings minor flooding across Canberra region

Rivers rose, roads were closed, some of Scrivener Dam’s floodgates were opened and even Lake George reappeared as steady, heavy rain poured across the Canberra region this past weekend.

A total of 59.2mm of rain was recorded at the Canberra Airport over the weekend, with winds hitting a peak of 54km/h on Sunday morning just before 9am.

With a gush of water coming down the Molonglo River, Lake Burley Griffin had filled to the point where, come Sunday, three of Scrivener Dam’s five floodgates had opened in spectacular fashion.

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Queanbeyan-Palerang Regional Council (QPRC) Mayor Tim Overall said just over the border, the Queanbeyan River at the Queens Bridge peaked at 5.4m at 4pm Sunday and began falling from 6pm.

The Morisset Street low level bridge was closed after the Queanbeyan River rose and peaked on Sunday afternoon, but by this morning, the road had reopened.

“This was a minor flood event, with minor flooding along the Molonglo River and Oaks Estate, which peaked around 6m.”

 In a 2010 flooding event, the Queanbeyan River rose to 8.4m, and in 1925 the river rose to 10.5m.

Despite the road closures throughout the region, Mr Overall said the August rain was welcomed by many of the rural communities.

“August rain settles in well into the soil and is great for farmers as we go into spring,” he said.

QPRC sports grounds are currently closed and will remain so until at least Thursday 13 August.

Many roads in the Queanbeyan area were closed, having been impacted by the rising waters.

The roads affected include Briars Sharrow, Captains Flat Road, Majara and Molonglo Streets in Bungendore, Bungendore Road, Bombay crossing, Oaks Estate crossing and many more.

The downpour also brought on some incredible scenes out at Lake George, with the often dry lake pooling with water so rapidly that it spilt onto the Federal Highway requiring the road to be closed at Wollogorang (south of Goulburn) to southbound traffic on Sunday afternoon.

Vehicles travelling to Canberra were required to avoid the turnoff and follow the Hume Highway to Yass.

The Federal Highway later reopened southbound with one lane remaining closed.

Yass Valley Mayor Rowena Abbey said the rain hadn’t missed her region either, with at least 15 road closures and a lot of low lying crossings cut following “a little bit of small flooding”.

“The Yass dam last night was spectacular in terms of the amount of water flowing over the top and around the overflow. It had actually topped over the top of the dam last night.

“The river is up, and very, very, I guess, cleansing in some ways after all the drought and rubbish that’s been in the rivers,” she said.

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