Over 1,000 Evacuated by Floods in Northeast Australia

Following record breaking heatwave, Australia is now enduring 'once in a century' floods

Rainfall in the Townsville area wasn't as bad as feared overnight.

The north-east Australian city of Townsville could face tornadoes, just as it is being hit by devastating floods, authorities said Sunday.

Morrison on Tuesday visited a new housing estate where scores of homes had been inundated and one of the evacuation centers where more than 1,000 people are sheltering.

Water levels in the Ross River Dam dropped to 213 per cent of capacity late on Monday, down from 250 per cent earlier in the day.

A major flood warning remained in place for the Ross River, and it was expected to peak at 11am, with residents in surrounding low-lying Townsville suburbs still at risk.

The floods follow weeks of unrelenting heat across Australia, which caused mass animal die-offs, raging bush fires, and prolonged and severe drought.

Two police officers were left clinging to trees for about 30 minutes Sunday evening after their patrol vehicle was swept away by floodwaters as they were aiding evacuations.

Locals also reported several sightings of large crocodiles as a raging torrent of floodwater rips through the heart of the city. This number is expected to rise exponentially.

"They were involved in another police investigation", State Disaster Co-ordinator and Queensland Police Deputy Commissioner Bob Gee said. "We still have many roads that are cut around those areas".

Police Acting Chief Superintendent Steve Munro said: "We are in uncharted territory".

"That's why I'm just waiting for my aunty to come in just to verify with the family first". "We're not through this yet".

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Police had been called to the shopping centre on Ross River Rd half an hour before after reports of an attempted break-in at Dan Murphy's.

One Twitter alert yesterday urged residents to scramble to higher ground.

Rain was still coming on Monday as emergency workers used boats, choppers and tip-trucks to rescue well over 1000 residents from Townsville's flooded suburbs. "The dam spillway gates may open to their full setting between the hours 8.30pm and 6am". Residents were warned of a "risk to life" and "unprecedented flooding" that could affect up to 20,000 homes.

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

The Port of Townsville remains open, but cargo loadings have faced interruptions due to heavy rain, a port spokeswoman said.

Australian soldiers drive through flood waters in Hermit Park, Townsville.

Valarie Thompson said she was awoken by the rain at 2:00am and hasn't been able to leave her Forestry Road home since Saturday. "If they have entered floodwaters we have concerns for their welfare".

"With that we expect to see more episodes of that real intense heavy rainfall that could lead to flash flooding".

Prime Minister Scott Morrison is seen hugging a resident in a flood affected area in Townsville, Tuesday, February 5, 2019. "On Doppler radar they show up as red-blue "couplets" like these near Alva Beach".

Forecasters are now anxious that a tornado could form in the region in the coming days as monsoonal conditions and strong winds continue.

The Bureau of Meteorology said the severe weather is set to spread further south to the Whitsunday Islands area.

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