The weather bureau says falls of 200mm to 300mm a day in north Queensland are likely to continue until the end of the week as ex-tropical cyclone Oswald dumps torrential rain across the region.
Senior forecaster Ken Kato says some of the heaviest falls up to Wednesday evening were at the township of Scherger which recorded nearly 370mm in 24 hours, and Weipa with about 330mm.
Coastal towns and cities between Cooktown, on Cape York Peninsula, south to Mackay are on flood alert.
The Bruce Highway has been cut in several places and coastal rivers between Cooktown and Ingham are swollen and rising.
But the bureau doesn't expect the cyclone to re-form unless the depression moves back out over the ocean.
'It really depends on the track it takes,' Mr Kato said.
'At the moment it looks like it's going to stay over land and track parallel to the coast.'
Mr Kato said while there's a chance the storm could re-enter the Coral Sea later this week, that's by no means certain.
'These tropical systems can be notoriously hard to predict accurately.'
Tully, between Cairns and Townsville, was drowned by 600mm in 48 hours.
With the Cairns to Townsville train line washed out and roads cut, the local publican says patrons have been flooding in to stock up on beer.
'We've had a heap of people in today getting their rations,' Hotel Tully manager David Corbett told AAP.
'It's good to see everyone's got their priorities right - food is number two and grog is number one.'
Mr Corbett said he would most likely have to sleep in the pub on Wednesday night because he may be cut off from home.
He said locals were used to massive downpours, but backpackers staying in the pub weren't as comfortable with the relentless downpour.
'Most of them have never seen anything like this,' he said.