Australia hit by ‘once in a century’ floods

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Flood waters are peaking in the northern Queensland city of Townsville.

Evacuation efforts continue Monday in the Australian city of Townsville in the tropical northeast state of Queensland, after authorities chose to fully open the gates of a dam Sunday.

All flights in and out of Townsville were last night cancelled as authorities warned worst-case scenario modelling showed as many as 20,000 properties could be inundated - about one-quarter of the city's homes.

"We're in a hard time, particularly in Townsville we're in response mode".

"I lost a little girl when she was three and a half and I can't replace that photo".

Mr Blazak said that with adverse weather predicted to continue for up to 72 hours, some regions could see record-breaking rainfall.

More than 500 people have been relocated from Townsville and surrounding areas.

"Playing in flood waters is extremely risky, not just because of the unpredictable nature of the water itself, but also because what may lie beneath the surface", police said in a statement earlier this week.

Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk described the flood as a "one-in-100-year" event, prompting residents to wonder why they have experienced two such events in the past 21 years.

Moreover, floodgates of a dam were forced to open in Townsville to prevent a river from overflowing.

Townsville residents have also been put on alert for crocodiles with some reptiles having found their way into populated areas with the flooding. "In Queensland, of course, we're used to seeing natural disasters, but Townsville has never seen the likes of this".

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About 1,000 people were in evacuation shelters overnight Sunday as residents were warned to conserve water and schools were closed.

Authorities are begging locals to listen to emergency services as they're faced with at least another 24 hours of heavy rain and potential for flash flooding.

Residents are advised to move to higher ground is concerned.

"Some people thought that they could get through this. and that hasn't been the case".

Farmers were rejoicing after days of heavy rains had turned parched paddocks into lakes in some areas.

This is first time since the dam was upgraded in 2007 that the water level has exceeded 43m-the point at which the gates are fully opened.

The pair went missing just after an attempted break-in at a nearby Dan Murphy's liquor store at 3am on Monday.

A severe weather warning has also been issued for the west coast of Cape York Peninsula where damaging winds and abnormally high tides are possible.

The unprecedented flooding has brought devastation to much of the region - especially Townsville - leaving potentially thousands of homes underwater and causing roads and bridges to disappear.

Ross River Dam releases water in Queensland, Australia, in this still photo from a February 3, 2019 video by Julia Hunt.

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