20000 homes at risk in Australia floods as crocodiles, snakes wash up

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To make matters worse for the terrified residents fleeing their homes, there have been numerous sightings of crocodiles and snakes being swept along with the floodwaters, 9 News reported.

Neighbourhoods were inundated after the authorities chose to open the floodgates of a dam on the River Ross on Sunday in response to days of torrential rain.

In hard-hit Townsville, cars were mostly submerged, with picket fences barely poking through waist-deep flood waters.

"You just can't believe how much water has come down from the Ross River", he said.

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

Palaszczuk also warned residents not to be outside their homes or out on the roads if not necessary.

Meanwhile, the rains show no signs of stopping, as Morrison and other senior government officials toured the area and met with those displaced by the floods.

Media reports said emergency services struggled to respond even as 1,100 people have called the services for urgent help. 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.

Queensland police said spillway gates may be opened fully later Sunday and warned residents to stay away from riverbanks and move to higher ground. "It's basically not just a one in 20-year event, it's a one-in-100-year event", said Palaszczuk.

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.

"We'll continue to do all we can to get stock into Far North Queensland while the roads are cut", she said.

A silver lining to the deluge is that it has boosted drought-stricken farmers in western Queensland.

A view of the flooded area of Townsville on February 04, 2019 in Townsville, Australia.

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