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World flips out over side effects of Queensland floods

February 6,2019

Intense rain and flash flooding have been causing devastation in north Queensland for 11 days with conditions not expected to weaken until the weekend.

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.

But the flooding has also brought out plenty of unexpected nasties — specifically crocodiles and snakes, which locals have reported seeing wandering streets and swimming in water flowing through areas they shouldn't be.

The horrifying visitors, as well as the sheer amount of water gushing through the region, has been watched and reported on by the rest of the world in horror.

"Snakes and crocodiles have been spotted roaming the streets of northern Queensland in Australia after 'unprecedented' floods," the New York Times wrote.

"Crocodiles and snakes too have been spotted by residents battling the deluge of rain in Queensland, Australia," Sky News UK added.

The Independent also sent out a disbelieving tweet after speaking to an Irish family in Queensland.

And a tweet from ABC News in the US went viral late last night, that showed a mammoth crocodile escaping floodwaters by perching on a fallen tree.

"Poor croc. You know that it's bad when the Crocodiles are trying to get to dry land. Be safe my Australian friends," one US man wrote.

"Time to evacuate Australia," another commenter added.

Authorities are sending out daily warnings to try and keep Queenslanders out of floodwaters.

"Playing in flood waters is extremely dangerous, 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.

"Crocodiles have been reported in flood waters in parts of Townsville, and there can also be snakes and other wildlife present."

Rain was still coming as emergency workers used boats, choppers and tip-trucks to rescue well over 1000 residents from Townsville's flooded suburbs.

They were helped by many other citizen heroes including some in an armada of fishermen's tinnies who braved the murky snake and croc-filled floodwaters to help their neighbours.

Despite authorities struggling with some people entering floodwaters, most locals are terrified.

In flooded Hermit Park, near the city centre, Andrew Roberts said he and his wife, Cass, have food, water, and a radio — and won't be leaving their two storey home of 14 years.

"It's a little bit scary because when it floods in Townsville, the crocs get into the water," Mr Roberts told AAP. "My biggest concern is getting eaten."

It makes crossing the murky water in their house to refuel the generator a hair-raising experience, he added.

Police have also previously warned Queenslanders about potentially swimming in their neighbour's faeces or being hit by things like fridges.

On February 3, Townsville local Erin Hahn posted a photo of a crocodile sitting metres away from a family's driveway.

"Croc out the front of my dads place in Mundingburra, O'Reilly street, Ross River Road end. Cannot stress it enough to stay out of the water," Ms Hahn wrote.

The post has since been shared more than 23,000 times.

On January 30, when the region's unprecedented flooding started to kick off, a Queensland driver caught the moment a 3.5m crocodile walked in front of his car.

Justin Mills was driving home through Ingham, three hours south of Cairns, on the Bruce Highway late at night when he was forced to slam on his brakes.

In front of him was a 3.5m croc, slowly meandering across the busy highway.

The region has been lashed by floods the past week, causing the rivers to swell and crocodiles to end up in areas — like the Bruce Highway — they wouldn't normally be exploring.

Heavy rain continued to pelt Australia's flood-ravaged northeast today, prompting the authorities to warn of further flash flooding in the hours ahead.

An Emergency Alert flood message has been issued for Bluewater, Bluewater Park, Toolakea and Saunders Beach.

The message advises properties in these areas are at risk of flash flooding due to intense rainfall in the Bluewater Creek catchment causing water levels to rise.

Residents are advised to move to higher ground is concerned.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison toured the region where "once-in-a-century" floods have inundated thousands of homes and closed airports and schools, leaving cars and houses submerged.

"It's just going to be tough, going to be tough for a while," Mr Morrison said, expressing sympathy for young families who had lost their homes.

"The real work is to make sure that they can get through the clean-up and rebuild their lives." In hard-hit Townsville, more than 650 people have been evacuated from their homes and about 11,000 houses remained without power Tuesday. Around 9000 more have asked for help.

Even as stormwaters receded in some areas, there seems little prospect of an immediate respite from what locals call the "Big Wet".

"We expect this active monsoon to remain active for the coming days, potentially easing over the weekend, so there is an end in sight," said Richard Wardle of Queensland's Bureau of Meteorology.

"But we are expecting further periods of heavy rainfall, some of it very heavy, about the northeast tropics for the next few days... with that there is the real elevated risk of flash flooding."

Local gym instructor Rebecca Chilmaid described the scale of the devastation, of people left "without clothes, cars, their homes, everything".

"People and businesses have lost everything," she told AFP.

"I sit and struggle to keep tears from falling thinking about it."

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 just a week.

"Last night it was crazy," resident Michael Nieminen, who lives in Bluewater, 30 kilometres northwest of Townsville, told the ABC.

"We had another lot of flash flooding come through, we had water come right up in the backyard again, similar to last week, not as high, luckily, but a lot of rain and a lot of water upstream," he added.

The authorities were forced to open floodgates of a major dam late Sunday, unleashing what they called "dangerous and high velocity flows".


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