Queensland sees flooding after near record rainfall

2 hours ago

Near-record levels of rainfall have caused life-threatening flooding in the Australian state of Queensland, authorities say.

Thousands of people in the north of the state have been urged to move to higher ground.

In Cairns authorities said there was major flooding in the city’s suburbs and the airport was shut.

One meteorologist said some areas saw more than 600mm of rain over the last 24 hours, with 500mm more expected.

A tropical cyclone hit the region earlier this week. Australian weather forecasters said that water levels on Sunday could exceed records set in the 1970s.

Queensland State Premier Steven Miles said the situation was “very serious and it could get worse”, adding that around 10,500 people had no power.

“I have been speaking with people on the ground, who say they have never seen rainfall like this – (these are) people who have lived in the state’s far north for all their lives,” he added.

According to the Cairns Local Disaster management Group, homes, buildings, roads and bridges have been inundated. Flood warnings have been issued in several areas.

So far no deaths or missing people have been reported, but a 10-year-old girl is in a critical condition after being struck by lightning in Cairns on Saturday.

Police say there have been “multiple” evacuations and rescues, and five emergency centres have been opened.

Deputy police commissioner Shane Cheply also said that some homes had been flooded, but did not provide any numbers.

Daintree Village 120km north of Cairns has seen 350mm of rain since Saturday morning, officials said.

There is hope that the rain in the region could ease. One weather forecaster has told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation that that the weather system had stalled, but it could move further inland overnight.

Eastern Australia has been hit by frequent flooding in recent years and the country is now enduring an El Nino weather event, which is typically associated with extreme events such as wild fires and cyclones.

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