Published: Tue, February 05, 2019
Worldwide | By Angelina Lucas

Australia flood crisis continues as PM visits stricken Queensland area

Australia flood crisis continues as PM visits stricken Queensland area

Heavy rain continues to drench Townsville, with 6 to 10 inches of rainfall lashing the city since Sunday morning, according to the Townsville Bulletin.

Two police officers who were evacuating people in the suburb of Hermit Park had to be rescued themselves when fast rising waters left them clinging to trees and washed away their patrol auto.

Police officers wade through flood waters in Townsville.

More than 1,100 people have been evacuated, with even more rainfall expected in the coming days.

"We have not been in this situation before", Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC).

"We've been giving warnings for the last three days, we doorknocked the areas previously to warn people there was a significant risk, in fact some people were doorknocked twice". Nathan Hughes via REUTERS Ross River Dam releases water in Queensland, Australia, in this still photo from a February 3, 2019 video by Julia Hunt.

"Residents still in their homes in these suburbs should move to the highest ground in their dwelling".

Unsafe and unpredictable conditions with the potential for more flash flooding are expected to continue for at least the next 24 hours.

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Speaking to reporters Monday, Queensland state Prime Minister Anastasia Palaszczuk warned that more rain in Townsville and the surrounding area over the next two days could cause flash flooding.

The town of Ingham, north of Townsville, received 506 mm of rain in 24 hours between Saturday and Sunday, of which 145 mm fell in just one hour, Blazak said.

Much of Townsville remains underwater after authorities deliberately opened the floodgates of the Ross River Dam on Sunday night after the reservoir swelled beyond capacity amid unprecedented rainfall in the region.

In a Facebook post published last night, a member of the Palm Island Aboriginal Shire Council said family was "worried sick" over the missing men.

A low pressure centre sitting inland over northern Australia combined with a trough of monsoonal low pressure is drawing intense moisture into the coast from the Coral Sea, and that band is converging with winds from the south, generating persistent rain and thunderstorms along a relatively narrow band.

It was feared flash flooding from the release would more than double the height of record-high flood levels already raging through the heart of the city with up to 2000 cubic metres of water per second expected to be unleashed from the dam.

"That water needs to go somewhere".

Her calls were echoed by Andrew Gissing, General Manager of Resilience at Risk Frontiers - who said warnings were in place for good reason.

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