Townsville flooding: two missing as questions mount over dam release

The landslide caused a retaining wall to collapse on Stanley Street Townsville. Source Ben Downie/7NewsMore

"A number of sites including Upper Bluewater (1230mm), Paluma (1181mm), Upper Black River (1034mm) and Woolshed (1008mm) have recorded more than a metre of rainfall over the past seven days", Queensland Flood Services Manager Victoria Dodds said.

Devastating flooding in northeast Australia has forced thousands of people from their homes and brought snakes and crocodiles onto the streets as authorities warn of strong winds and more rain on the way.

"Normally a monsoonal burst might last a few days, but this one's been going on over a week now and is set to continue for a few more days as well", he said.

In hard-hit Townsville, cars were mostly submerged, with picket fences barely poking through waist-deep flood waters.

The pair have not been located despite extensive inquiries with family and friends and a search of floodwaters and the area has begun as a precaution, police say.

Northern Queensland has a tropical climate and experiences monsoon rain from December to April. "From what I can tell, they've done everything from the book", she said, saying the peak was yet to come in the next day or two.

Townsville City Council has advised intense rain may cause fast-moving and rapidly-rising water levels in these areas and lead to flash flooding.

On Sunday, the Australian Bureau of Meteorology warned of "risk to life and property" as the dam gates serving the Ross River were "opened to their full setting".

More rain is now forecast, with about 100 millimeters (4 inches) of rain scheduled to hit Townsville Monday and another 50 millimeters (2 inches) to 75 millimeters (3 inches) on Tuesday, according to CNN meteorologist Karen Maginnis.

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

Up to 2000 properties in the state of Queensland may have been affected by flooding and residents are afraid of hungry crocodile coming inside their inundated homes.

Residents were evacuated as over 1,900 cubic metres of water a second was released through the floodgates.

Townsville Mayor Jenny Hill called the floods a "one in 10-year event".

She also said the decision to close 58 schools and childcare centres was to ensure public safety.

"The volume of water is just incredible. Another five or six steps and upstairs is gone too".

A large swathe of Queensland is braced for flooding, with communities from the north and central coast to the drought-stricken west at risk.

The extreme rain comes as other parts of Australia suffer drought and wildfires.



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