The Royal Flying Doctor Service is encouraging outback residents to be ready for anything as forecasters predict a La Niña weather event that will bring higher than average rainfall this summer.
RFDS Queensland chief operating officer Andrew Barron said crews were well prepared, having previously experienced extremely wet conditions.
“From an aviation point of view, it means planes have to carry more fuel,” he said.
“They need to have an alternate to go to in case they can’t land.
Carrying more fuel means less room for cargo and crew, which in rare cases could lead to doctors and nurses being left on remote stations while patients are evacuated.
“We obviously need to ensure we have enough people on board to care for the patients,” Mr Barron said.
With the 2011 floods and last year’s catastrophic north-west Queensland flood still fresh in people’s minds, Mr Barron had a simple message.
“People just need to be prepared,” he said.
“If they are calling, just give us a [situation report] of their airstrip if they are on a property and think about other options.
“If weather is going to be a problem, think early about what other options they have moving themselves, or get care in.”
Mr Barron is urging outback residents to visit a clinic as soon as possible if they need care.
Local councils on front foot
The Barcaldine Region is located in the geographical centre of Queensland.
Council collections of oversized household items from Boulia to Barcaldine have been brought forward.
Local grazier and Mayor of Barcaldine Regional Council Sean Dillion is encouraging residents to prepare their property for a big wet season.
He said while a flood could be tricky, it would be a good problem to have.
“Notwithstanding of course the horrible flooding we saw in north and north west Queensland in 2019 which was a truly horrific event, equal in scale to drought,
“If we see widespread heavy rain yes, we’ll have some infrastructure damage, yes, we’ll have a lot of fences to put up, but our cattle will be worth more, most likely, subsequent to that event.”
Blowing in the wind
Boulia Shire Mayor Rick Britton was excited about the predictions comparing the coming summer to those of 1973/1974 and 2000, which were the wettest years on record.
The Boulia SES was preparing machinery and rescue equipment in anticipation of destructive storms.
“I’ve noticed in the past five or six weeks here we’ve had pretty prominently north, north-west winds,” Cr Britton said.
“To me, that’s a sign that there is something in the wind.