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Queenslanders have been warned to expect heavy falls and flash flooding over the weekend with widespread rain persisting on the already soggy southeast and central coast.

Intense rain from a damaging low pressure trough inundated the southeast on Friday with a couple of 160mm falls in six hours.

Residents were forced to evacuate their homes as flooding hit areas around Laidley, Gatton and Grantham in the Lockyer Valley, west of Brisbane, south around Beaudesert and in Warwick, Cecil Plains, Millmerran and Killarney in the Southern Downs.

Around 300 homes were affected in Laidley, where the River Lockyer crossed the town’s main street.

Major flood warnings are in place for the Condamine, Logan and Bremer rivers and Warrill, Laidley and Lockyer creeks.

The border town of Goondiwindi is also preparing for possible flooding after heavy rains in the watershed of border rivers.

Bureau of Meteorology (BOM) senior forecaster Laura Boekel warned that the intense rains are expected to continue through Saturday.

More than 700 roads were cut or affected by floodwaters on Friday, including the Bruce Highway near Gin Gin, with Queensland Fire and Emergency Services carrying out 20 rescues in 24 hours.

Queensland floods: More heavy rain expected after 300 homes flooded in Laidley |  queensland
A road is cut off by flood waters near Laidley. Photography: Dan Peled/Getty Images

Authorities warned on Saturday not to travel to Gympie, located on the Mary River, as major roads were cut off by flooding. Residents are preparing for floodwaters to inundate the urban area.

Prime Minister Annastacia Palaszczuk said while the rain was not as intense as the downpours that caused catastrophic flooding in February, the system was expected to persist through Saturday.

“Please don’t be anxious,” she said. “The main thing is to listen to the alerts and we will keep everyone informed as much as possible.”

Assistant Police Commissioner Steve Gollschewski urged people to stay connected and heed warnings and avoid driving through flood waters.

“We have lost far too many lives on our roads this year and in previous events,” Gollschewski said.

A powerful easterly swell and strong outflow winds caused four meter waves with the BOM warning of dangerous surf conditions and possible coastal erosion between Fraser Island and the NSW border.

The unseasonal deluge is Queensland’s sixth deadly flood since December, which scientists have attributed to a second La Nina weather pattern in two years.

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