Friday, 26 April, 2019

Australian city threatened by tornadoes after devastating floods

Raging floodwaters in the Townsville suburb of Bluewater QUEENSLAND POLICE SERVICERaging floodwaters in the Townsville suburb of Bluewater
Leonard Rios | 05 February, 2019, 07:13

News.com/au reports that people living in north Queensland were visited by officials over the weekend and told to prepare for the flood.

Townsville has been the hardest hit as heavy rainfall continues to flood far north Queensland.

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

On Sunday, the city authorities were forced to open the gates at the Ross River dam to release water, after it had swollen to double its size following a week of record rainfall.

Queensland Fire and Emergency Services Commissioner Katarina Carroll said it was impossible to know how many homes had gone under across the city.

That order sparked warnings that 21 suburbs could see flash flooding, including high velocity flows that could kill people.

The Bureau said there had been "extremely heavy falls" since 9am yesterday, with 506mm recorded at Ingham Pump Station, 415mm at Halifax, 309mm at Cardwell Gap and 271mm at South Mission Beach.

"They were involved in another police investigation", State Disaster Co-ordinator and police Deputy Commissioner Bob Gee said.

A boat goes down Carr Street, Hermit Park. "We don't want to get to that stage (but) we can't control that".

Police fear the pair may have been swept into a drain.

"I'm really imploring to the people in those vulnerable areas, start thinking now about what you are going to do".

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And Queensland environment minister Leeanne Enoch has even warned locals to watch out for snakes, who are very good swimmers.

She said the total damage bill was likely to cost "hundreds of millions of dollars because of the scale of it" in a long recovery.

NRL player Kalifa Faifai Loa helps Danielle Josey and Lyndon Josey remove valuable belongings from their home in Idalia, Townsville.

"It's basically not just a one in 20-year event, it's a one in 100-year event", she told reporters Saturday.

"Fundamentally what do you have to do to make people leave?", she said.

Two police officers were left clinging to trees for about 30 minutes Sunday evening after their patrol auto was swept away by floodwaters as they were aiding evacuations.

The latest police deployment adds support for extra officers already stationed in the flood-affected region, with Commissioner Gee saying security was a priority moving forward.

With the dam at more than 300 percent capacity, engineers said they had no option.

Residents have been told not to try to return to their sodden homes until authorities tell them it's safe to do so.

"So grateful to this awesome human in our time of need honestly can't thank him enough", she said. "Stay informed, look for updates and follow advice of emergency services", the bureau said.

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