Townsville under water as north Queensland drenched in 'unprecedented' rain

North Queenslanders are in clean-up mode after floods triggered by heavy rain inundated communities. Source AAPMore

An aerial view shows the flood-affected area in Townsville, Queensland, Australia February 3, 2019, in this still image from video obtained from social media.

The Australian Defense Forces delivered 70,000 sandbags, deployed amphibious cargo vehicles and helped pluck flashlight-wielding residents from their rooftops Monday, as monsoon rains drenched the northern state of Queensland.

But while fear of crocodiles and losing everything to floods or looters is top of his mind right now, there's also anger building about the decision to open the gates at the swollen Ross River Dam. "Unprecedented areas of flooding will occur in Townsville", a statement said, adding that there was a "risk to life and property".

It makes crossing the murky water in their house to refuel the generator a hair-raising experience, he said. "There is more rain to come", she told reporters today.

He creeps down stairs and scans the murky water for crocs before he leaps on a table to refuel the generator powering his flooded home.

"Before you start playing in flood waters you should always remember the distinct possibility you could be wading into your neighbour's faeces".

The weather was atrocious overnight, with two police engaged in evacuation work rescued themselves after fast rising flood waters trapped them and washed away their patrol auto.

"Small boats worked through the night to evacuate members of the community", said local commander Brigadier Scott Winter.

Around 400 Townsville residents have sought shelter at nearby Lavarak military barracks and the Red Cross is also assisting with the response and recovery effort.

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In more grim news for locals, Queensland Police warned of sewage running through the floodwaters.

Up to 20,000 homes could be flooded if the downpours continue, officials warn.

"It's very hard for us to predict what's going to happen over the next 24 hours", Townsville Mayor Jenny Hill warned.

"I have never seen the likes of this before", Queensland state Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said in an interview on Australian Broadcasting Corp TV, in a state often hit by cyclones and flooding.

"(It) was almost a meter or two long (3.3 to 6.6 feet)", she said.

Bureau meteorologist Adam Blazak told AFP the downpours could continue until Thursday, while floodwaters would take some time to recede even when the rains lessen.

The flooding has begun to spread inland to drought stricken western Queensland where grazier Cameron Kennedy said a week ago he was desperately praying for rain - now he wants is for it to stop.

Landslides were reported with more possible in the worst-hit areas, the Bureau of Meteorology said on Monday, warning of further "intense rainfall" and "significant flash flooding" along the eastern shore.

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