Record Flooding Hit Australia’s Northeast

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

The floodgates of the city's dam were opened to prevent the Ross River from breaking its banks, flooding some suburbs.

Many homes in Townsville had been left without power and cut off by flooded roads.

Rescue teams, using boats and helicopters have evacuated thousands of Townsville's 82,000 homes, while 400 army personnel have been working to distribute sandbags to properties at risk of inundation.

The Australian Bureau of Meteorology issued a "major flood warning," late Sunday and urged people to seek shelter on higher ground.

"Dangerous and high velocity flows will occur in the Ross River Sunday night into Monday. Unprecedented areas of flooding will occur in Townsville," a statement by the bureau said, adding there was a "risk to life and property".

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.

Townsville Mayor Jenny Hill described the rainfall as a "one-in-100-year event.''

Some 1,012 millimeters of rain was dumped there during the past week, compare to 886 millimeters in all of 1998, which held the previous record for rainfall.

January was the hottest month on record for all of Australia, and southern parts of the country remain in a state of severe drought.

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