The north-east Australian city of Townsville could face tornadoes, just as it is being hit by devastating floods, authorities said Sunday. Gabi Elgood, a local journalist, said: "We've never seen so much water in our lives. the rain just doesn't stop".
Days of severe rainfall in the town of Townsville caused insurance losses estimated at more than A$45 million ($32.63 million), industry figures show, while weather officials have warned that heavy showers could continue in some areas.
On Sunday, authorities were forced to open the gates of the city's main dam after it swelled to double its capacity - releasing up to 1,900 cubic metres of water a second.
Queensland Police issued a blunt warning for people to stay out of floodwaters.
The situation in Australia is becoming hard. more than 650 people have been evacuated from their homes and about 11,000 houses remained without power Tuesday.
Around 400 Townsville residents have sought shelter at nearby Lavarak military barracks. As stormwaters receded in some areas, he warned of a hard recovery ahead.
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Australia 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.
Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk has warned the bill for damages could reach into the hundreds of millions of dollars.
Ergon Energy's spokesperson Emma Oliveri told the AFP that more than 16,000 people were without power, with the supplier unable to say when the lights will come back on.
She said crocodiles and snakes could appear near any of north Queensland's waterways, and that they should not be approached.
'Atmospheric conditions are ripe for tornadoes and waterspouts around Townsville, ' the Bureau of Meteorology in Queensland said on Twitter.