Thousands flee as floods hit Australia

2012-01-25 14:18
Sydney - Thousands of Australians were evacuated on Wednesday, with dozens being rescued, as monsoonal rains sparked flash flooding and landslides and a cyclone threatened to form in the Pacific Ocean.

Emergency authorities ordered 4 200 residents of five towns in New South Wales to abandon their homes as a huge storm lashed northeast Australia, causing rivers to break their banks.

"Do not delay your evacuation. Roads will be congested or closed. You could become trapped and need rescue," the NSW State Emergency Service said.

"Remaining in flooded areas is dangerous and may place your life at risk."

Flash floods

The downpour caused flash floods and landslips in neighbouring Queensland overnight, swamping homes and forcing hundreds of roads to close, with 26 emergency rescues as cars were swept into surging waterways.

Queensland Premier Anna Bligh said the downpour, which has flooded homes was a terrifying reminder of last year's devastating floods which killed 35 people and inundated tens of thousands of homes.

"The deluge has caused significant distress from people who experienced last year's devastating floods, with police fielding numerous calls from anxious victims," Bligh told reporters.

"It's an event that is causing a lot of disruption."

A severe weather warning was lifted for Queensland as conditions eased but Bligh said the rain would return late Friday or Saturday, pelting the state with up to 300mm of rain.

"We will feel the full urging of the monsoons, a trough that has been impacting the north," she said.

Cyclone

A "third phase" of weather was expected later next week, she added, with modelling suggesting a cyclone could form.

"There is a possibility of a cyclone forming off the northern parts of the state ... which will bring with it winds and heavy rainfall," she said.

Top-intensity Cyclone Yasi tore across the Queensland coast last February, ripping homes from their stumps and wiping out huge sections of farmland as the state reeled from an earlier flooding emergency.

The Bureau of Meteorology issued a severe weather warning for northern NSW on Wednesday, forecasting "heavy rain which may lead to flash flooding".

Several local rivers were already breaking their banks, the bureau said, with a "greater than 70% chance of major flooding as well as local flash flooding from today onwards."

The exceptional rain, due to a La Nina weather pattern in the Pacific Ocean, is not expected to rival last year's wild storms.

La Nina is characterised by unusually cool ocean temperatures in the eastern equatorial Pacific and has been associated with strong rainfall in Asia and Australia.

- Are you there or do you know people who are affected? Send us your stories and photos
Read more on:    australia  |  weather  |  floods

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.
NEXT ON NEWS24X

Hostages safe in Paris

10 minutes ago

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
7 comments
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

 
/News

Book flights

Compare, Book, Fly

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.




Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.