Australia hit by once-in-a-century floods
February 4, 2019 -- “Once-in-a-century” flooding affecting parts of Queensland is set to worsen amid warnings of more heavy rain in the area.
The authorities were forced to open floodgates of a major dam late Sunday, unleashing what they called "dangerous and high velocity flows.”
In Townsville, a major export hub for copper, zinc, lead and sugar, more than 1,100 people have been evacuated, while up to 20,000 homes are at risk of being inundated if the rains continue, officials said.
Authorities warned residents to beware of crocodiles and snakes spotted in floodwaters in residential areas.
Australia's tropical north typically experiences heavy rains during the monsoon season, but the recent downpour has seen some areas get a year's worth of rainfall in a week.
The Bureau of Meteorology says the downpours could continue until Thursday, while floodwaters will take some time to recede even when the rains lessen.
Meanwhile, Australia endured its hottest month on record in January, with sweltering conditions expected to persist through April.