The natural attributes of the Sunshine Coast – rugged hinterland, coastal plains and subtropical climate – predispose the region to flooding. Inland flooding of the region’s waterways, creeks, rivers and low-lying plains is a regular occurrence.
Over the past decade, the region’s permanent population has grown rapidly, with development focused on the coastal plains and waterways. There is considerable traffic movement through these areas, with the highly mobile population travelling through flood-prone ‘hot-spots’ every day.
The Sunshine Coast is also a popular holiday destination, with in excess of two million people per annum visiting the region each year. The peak tourist season (November to February) coincides with the summer storm and cyclone season. The increased likelihood of flooding during this time presents significant additional risk.
Historically, there has been flooding every few years on the Sunshine Coast. The January 2011 flood events on the Sunshine Coast were moderate compared with flooding in other parts of South East Queensland. The last significant flood events in the region were during January to March of 2012. There were three flood events, roughly a month apart. Each event had rainfall that exceeded a 1 in 100 event probability at certain durations. These events affected most parts of the Sunshine Coast at different times including Caloundra, Nambour, Maroochydore and Mooloolaba.
The flood classifications gauge (PDF, 52KB) gives more information of historical flooding on the Sunshine Coast.
You can view a selection of images from previous floods on the Sunshine Coast on the Sunshine Coast Libraries Catalogue.
The Bureau of Meteorology records and reviews rainfall and flooding data for all Australian flooding events, which is compiled into a brief summary report. Read the Bureau of Meteorology's Queensland Flood History overview.
The Bureau of Meteorology's Sunshine Coast-specific reports are available for:
- May 2009 South East Queensland floods (PDF, 2.9MB)
- April 2009 Sunshine Coast and Mary River floods (PDF, 3.8MB)
- August 2007 Sunshine Coast floods (PDF, 3.5MB)
- December 2005 Noosa Heads flash flood (PDF, 704KB).
An extremely rare event in Australia, a tsunami results from under-sea events such as earthquakes, landslides or volcanic eruptions. While unrelated to normal flood conditions, it is important to be familiar with warning signs and know what to do in the unlikely event of a tsunami.
Warning signs may include:
- earth tremors
- dramatically receding shoreline
- official emergency warnings, sirens and broadcasts.
If you notice any of the above warnings it is important to evacuate coastal areas immediately and move to higher ground until further notice from authorities.
Visit Geoscience Australia for more information.