Boats, helicopters deployed for rescues in Australia floods

Boats, helicopters deployed for rescues in Australia floods

"So I am pleading with people in the area to please pay attention to all of the emergency messages from Townsville City Council and Queensland Police and Queensland fire and emergency services". "So, once again, our message is, if you don't need to be out on the roads, please don't", she added. Emergency crews are evacuating people on rafts, said a BBC News report on Saturday.

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

"We're doing everything possible to keep people safe so please heed the warnings".

Palaszczuk warned the communities face more difficulties ahead.

"We have 9100 people without power in Townsville and we will be monitoring situation over next few days".

"You can't say you weren't warned that something would happen". Residents are advised to move to higher ground if concerned. Fundamentally the public have a responsibility to heed those warnings.

Bureau of Meteorology (BOM) forecaster Dean Narramore said this morning that there had been some extraordinary rainfall numbers coming in for the Townsville area, with a number of locations receiving over a metre of rain in the last seven days.

The Bureau of Meteorology said a slow-moving monsoonal trough was sitting above Queensland, with some areas expected to get more than a year's worth of rain before conditions ease.

This setting would release up to 2000 cubic metres of water per second out of the dam.

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"Dangerous and high velocity flows will occur in the Ross River Sunday night into Monday".

A silver lining to the deluge is that it has boosted drought-stricken farmers in western Queensland.

Back on the east coast, communities from Ingham to Mackay, 500km away, are at risk of flash flooding and damaging winds, including the possibility of tornadoes.

It also extended its severe weather warning as far south as Winton, and warned residents to be watchful for potential flooding of the Ross, Herbert, Tully and Murray rivers.

Crocodiles have been spotted in suburban streets, and the water is teeming with snakes.

At Hughenden, properties are facing inundation and the forecast is for more major falls out there, as far as Mount Isa near the Northern Territory border. On Sunday the figure was between 400 and 500, but that was before dam releases were doubled.

Up to 20,000 homes are at risk of being inundated if the rains continue.

QFES Commissioner Katarina Carroll said there were 850 calls for assistance and 18 swift-water rescues, with authorities still trying to assess the extent of the damage.

"That water needs to go somewhere. This situation is unprecedented", she said.

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