Published: Mon, February 04, 2019
Global News | By Blake Casey

Crocodiles in the streets: military steps in to tackle Australia’s wild floods

Crocodiles in the streets: military steps in to tackle Australia’s wild floods

Much of the city of Townsville in Queensland state is flooded, with residents left without power and some compelled to seek safety on the roofs of their homes, according to CNN affiliate 7 News.

Palaszczuk warned the communities face more difficulties ahead.

Up to 500 homes have been flooded and the Bureau of Meteorology (BoM) warned of more rain and possible tornadoes forming, local media reported.

Now, the authorities are warning of tornadoes and more rain over the next few days.

Residents of more than 20 suburbs were ordered to evacuate, with the army called to help evacuate residents in flood-prone suburbs.

The Australian Defence Forces filled sandbags, deployed amphibious cargo vehicles and helped pluck flashlight-wielding residents from their rooftops Monday, as monsoon rains drenched the northern state of Queensland.

Townsville disaster coordinator Assistant Chief Superintendent Steve Munro said there were 82,000 houses in Townsville and flood modelling predicted up to a quarter would be affected by flooding in the worst-case scenario.

Now 500 homes are underwater with worst-case scenario modelling predicting up to 20,000 properties at risk - one third of the city's homes.

But she also expressed simmering frustration amid complaints from some residents that they were caught out by record water releases from the city's Ross River Dam.

"I've got a message for the people in the north of our state about the Ross River catchment, we've issued a warning tonight at 6.10pm eastern standard time and I need to draw your attention to the important message that's in this warning", State Manager Bruce Gunn explained.

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Water levels in the Ross River Dam were expected to peak at 11am on Monday (2pm NZT) and remain at that level until at least midnight.

It's unclear how many more homes may have been inundated.

"It's basically not just a one in 20-year event, it's a one in 100-year event", said Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk.

"We have had so many of these natural disasters over a short period of time", the premier told reporters on Sunday, referring to earlier floods and cyclones over the summer months.

"It is just unbelievable, we've never seen anything like it", Mr Parker said.

"We are literally in unchartered territory for this city", Mayor Hill said.

'It really is heartbreaking. we haven't heard from her and we all just want to know she is'. Meanwhile, parts of southern Australia are in the grip of a severe drought.

The trough is expected to move slowly south. Communities could see intense rain from Ingham as far south as Bowen, and even Mackay. "Expect access routes to be cut", the Queensland Bureau of Meteorology said in a statement.

The weather system is also dumping welcome rain on drought-hit parts of western Queensland, but infrastructure damage there appears main confined to the road network.

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