December 27, 2010

Flood, Crocodile Warnings Issued In Northern Australia

Flood warnings issued in New South Wales and Queensland, Australia, bring with them concerns over the proliferation of crocodiles, officials told the AFP on Monday.

According to Malcom Brown of the Sydney Morning Herald, flood warnings were issued for 14 rivers in New South Wales on Sunday as rain continued in the region. The areas affected are Bathurst, Brewarrina, Canowindra, Carinda, Carrathool, Condobolin, Deniliquin, Dubbo, Enngonia, Eugowra, Hay, Hillston, Mungindi, Narromine, Tamworth, Warren and Wellington.

Meanwhile, in southwestern Queensland, flooding was "reaching serious levels," the newspaper reported on Monday. Nearly four inches of rain had fallen at the southern town of Chinchilla during the past 24 hours, they said, calling the flooding "the worst since 1942" and noting that meteorologists were unsure how much more precipitation was yet to come in the region.

The AFP also reports several sightings of crocodiles in Queensland.

"Torrential rains have inundated much of Queensland state after Tropical Cyclone Tasha crossed the coast early Saturday, and south of Ingham many towns are cut off by flood waters," the French news agency was reporting.

"The Queensland state government has announced disaster relief for some areas and urged residents not to attempt to drive through flood waters after 20 people were rescued from creeks and rivers in the past two days," they added.

Much of the rainfall is a result of the storm formerly known as Tropical Cyclone Tasha, which was downgraded by the Australia weather bureau on Saturday. In an interview with the AAP on Christmas Day, senior forecaster Greg Browning said that the storm had been "steadily weakening" and that the winds had "dropped off significantly" once the storm made landfall.

However, Browning added that there was "still a lot of rainfall associated with the system" and emphasized that flooding was, in AAP reporter Lisa Martin's words, "inevitable."

"Emergency services in both states appealed to people to stay out of the floodwaters and to avoid travelling," added Brown of the Sydney Morning Herald.


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