20,000 homes at risk in Australia floods as crocodiles, snakes wash up
CNN - 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.
Much of the city of Townsville in Queensland state is flooded, with residents left without power and some compelled to seek safety on the roofs of their homes, according to CNN affiliate 7 News.
Intense rain on Sunday forced authorities to open the floodgates on the Ross River Dam to relieve pressure and prevent a collapse, releasing around 1,900 cubic meters of water per second downriver. The dam was holding 224% of its capacity Monday afternoon, according to CNN affiliate 9 News, after peaking Sunday night at 247%.
An intersection in Townsville partially submerged under water.
"Dangerous and high-velocity flows will occur in the Ross River Sunday night into Monday. Unprecedented areas of flooding will occur in Townsville. Expect access routes to be cut," the Queensland Bureau of Meteorology said in a statement.
The massive downpours hitting Townsville come as Australia is reeling from a record-breaking heat wave that affected all eight of the country's states and territories.
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.
9 News reported that entire suburbs of Townsville were completely submerged. Local resident Gresham Ross told 9 News that the floodwaters are the highest he's seen in 30 years of living in the area.
"You just can't believe how much water has come down from the Ross River," he said.
James Griffiths contributed to this report