Emergency services were called to Lancing Street, Pullenvale, about 4.40pm on Wednesday when a witness saw a white sedan get washed away.
Queensland Police Inspector Daniel Bragg said it took a swift-water rescue team and other police several hours to find the car in an “extremely challenging operation”.
A 75-year-old Taringa woman was found dead in the car, which a tree had fallen on top of.
“The storm this afternoon did come over very quickly,” the regional duty officer said.
“And I’m advised that the floodwaters here rose very very quickly.
“The reality is here, I suppose, if it’s flooded forget it.
“Can I encourage drivers to stop and not go anywhere near flooded waters.”
Inspector Bragg, describing the incident as “absolutely tragic”, said conditions made the search for the woman even more difficult.
“When the police first arrived, the waters were moving very rapidly and they were also rising very rapidly,” he said.
“They formed the view that the waters were extremely dangerous and extremely treacherous.
“So the swift water rescue team were immediately brought in to assist in retrieving that vehicle.”
He warned drivers to steer clear of flooded roads.
“When you’re driving on the road and you see water across the road, you need to drive with extreme caution,” he said.
“If it is flooded, then don’t drive through it because things like this can unfold so quickly and before you know it things are out of your control.”