Falls of up to 300 millimetres have swamped local creeks and rivers in north Queensland overnight as a monsoonal trough dumped rain on the region.
Townsville weather stations recorded in excess of 100 millimetres on its wettest day in almost 12 months, while the city's landmark — Castle Hill — received 156mm.
Further south heavier falls in the lower Burdekin have caused trouble for residents with the Bruce Highway closed near the Burdekin Bridge due to flash flooding.
Farmer Dean Sgroi lives in Ayr where 271mm fell, but he farms across the Burdekin River near Groper Creek where 345 millimetres was recorded.
While sugarcane crops were suffering in summer heat and the rain will give irrigators a break from pumping water, he said flooding could stunt crop growth.
"It rained all night here in Ayr but across the river it was heavier from what I'm hearing," he said.
"It's enough for now. It was needed, but now it will start to become a problem."
His brother and fellow cane grower Miles Sgroi lives downriver from Home Hill near Groper Creek and said 60 centimetres of floodwater surrounded his home.
"I've got 10 pumps underwater at the moment; went out this morning and they'll be under for sure," he said.
"This is definitely enough rain for now. As long as this isn't the start and end of the wet season.
"We want to have some follow-up rain later on — not for another month or so though."
The Mount Isa railway line is closed as bridges went under at multiple locations west of Charters Towers.
At Prairie, astonished locals watched as a freight train reversed from a damaged bridge that buckled under the strain of floodwaters in Prairie Creek.
Local Jodie Hunter said the train had pulled up just metres from the flooded creek.
"We just waited there and watched as they got approval to pull the loco back and pull it out," she said.
"The train's just parked up there now; it can't move in either direction.
"I dare say they would have been a bit confronted and frightened with what they pulled up at."
A Queensland Rail spokeswoman said track inspection vehicles were checking sections of the line, however floodwaters were preventing crews accessing Prairie at this stage.
All freight trains along the line have now been stabled at dry locations while the Inlander passenger train was being held at Cloncurry.
Ms Hunter said despite floodwaters swirling about town locals were happy with the life-giving falls.
"We've been out here praying for it for so long. It's just now we've got it, it's coming down in bucketloads," she said.
"A bit of a reprieve would be nice for a couple of days, but we can't control Mother Nature, we're thankful for it."
Flood safety warning
Burdekin Shire Mayor Lynn McLaughlin said the flooding was serious and residents needed to stay well clear of floodwaters.
"The Local Disaster Management Group has just stood up and had our meeting," she said.
"The flooding we're receiving is localised, there's lots and lots of water around our local roads and properties.
"It's not a river flood, we're hoping once this intense rain stops in a couple of hours that it will clear quickly."
Cr McLaughlin said road users should be patient and pleaded with motorists to not drive on inundated roadways.
"Stay indoors and stay off the roads for the next few hours, stay out of the floodwater and make sure children are indoors," she said.
More rain to come
The Bureau of Meteorology said rain will set in around the coastal districts but should ease by the weekend.
Duty forecaster Sam Campbell said heavy rainfall will ease about the Burdekin region, but the monsoon trough was established with a moist air mass over the north of Queensland.
"Even once this activity around Ayr and Alva Beach eases and contracts offshore, that threat of heavy falls and storms will persist for today," he said.
"It will continue into Wednesday around the coastal locations probably contracting to the north of Charters Towers.
"We're not out of the heavy rain yet but by Friday the dry air will start to push through and just the chance of showers from then onwards."
Mr Campbell said the monsoon trough was much weaker than last year's system, when the remnants of Tropical Cyclone Trevor combined with a trough flooding Townsville city.
"Right now the flow into the monsoon trough is much, much weaker than what we saw last year," he said.ABC