A crocodile crawls from the flooded driveway of a home in Townsville, Australia, on 3 February 2019. Photo: Erin Hahn / AFP / Getty Images

By Guy Davies
4 February 2019

LONDON (ABC News) – The Australian government is warning citizens to be on the look out for crocodiles and snakes in the streets amid severe rainfall and flooding in north Queensland over the past few days.

“Crocodiles prefer calmer waters and they may move around in search of a quiet place to wait for floodwaters to recede,” Leeanne Enoch, Queensland's minister for environment, said in a statement Monday.

She continued, “Crocodiles may be seen crossing roads, and when flooding recedes, crocodiles can turn up in unusual places such as farm dams or waterholes where they have not been seen before. Similarly, snakes are very good swimmers and they too may turn up unexpectedly.”

The coastal city of Townsville has been the most affected by the flooding. Local media outlet 7news posted a video on Twitter of an 11-foot crocodile crawling up a highway to the north of the city. One image of a crocodile roaming the streets has been shared over 20,000 times on Facebook.

Aerial view of a major intersection in the flooded Townsville suburb of Idalia, Australia on 4 February 2019. Photo: Getty

Townsville has been brought to a standstill by severe flooding after an all-time record rainfall, the premier of Queensland, Annastacia Palaszczuk, said Saturday. The town has experienced the equivalent of 3.2 feet of rainfall over the past week. […]

"It's basically not just a one in 20-year event, it's a one in 100-year event," she said Saturday, according to the AFP.

Heavy rain continues to drench Townsville, with 6 to 10 inches of rainfall lashing the city since Sunday morning, according to the Townsville Bulletin. Around 17,000 properties in Townsville are believed to be without power.

The Queensland Bureau of Meteorology issued a major flood warning for Townsville on Sunday night, saying that “conditions will change rapidly & continuously” due to “unprecedented areas of flooding.” [more]

Crocodile warning issued as Australian city faces 'unprecedented' levels of flooding


Aerial view of the Ross River Dam, near the north Queensland city of Townsville, after authorities opened the floodgates on 3 February 2019, deliberately flooding about 2,000 homes. Photo: ABC News

By Ben Smee
4 February 2019

TOWNSVILLE (The Guardian) – After eight days of heavy monsoonal rain, authorities in the north Queensland city of Townsville had no choice but to open the floodgates of the Ross River Dam, deliberately flooding about 2,000 homes.

The decision was made as the Queensland government also published a warning to people to beware of crocodiles, snakes and other wildlife, which were reported to have left the swollen river and headed into some suburban areas.

Some parts of Queensland have had more than 1.5m of rain since last weekend. At Ingham, north of Townsville, 419mm fell in a single day on Sunday.

At Townsville almost 1m was recorded at Townsville airport across eight days of torrential rain. The average annual rainfall for the same weather gauge is 1127.9mm.

In parts of north Queensland, monsoonal rains have bucketed more water in eight days than in a typical year. The Ross River dam above Townsville was measured at a remarkable 247% capacity on Sunday night before the decision was made to release more water, in an attempt to avert a catastrophic collapse.

With the floodgates fully open, about 1,900 cubic metres of water a second was released. That stabilised the dam, which on Monday afternoon was holding 523,475 megalitres, or 225% its typical capacity.

But the fast-flowing water release caused the Ross River to break its banks and inundate several low-lying areas on Townsville’s south side. […]

An aerial view shows houses inundated with flood waters in Townsville, Queensland, Australia, 4 February 2019. Photo: Dave Acree / EPA / Shutterstock

Andrew Roberts said he was more worried about being eaten by a crocodile in his Townsville home than chest-high water surging through the ground floor.

“It’s a little bit scary because, when it floods in Townsville, the crocs get into the water.”

Roberts, who lives in low-lying Hermit Park, was also angry about the decision to release water from the Ross River dam.

“We were lambs to the slaughter,” he said. “Our homes have been sacrificed to save the rest of Townsville. It should never have been this bad. Why didn’t they have releases earlier and give the water a chance to get away?

“Heads should roll over this.” […]

Prof Jamie Pittock from the Fenner School of Environment and Society at the Australian National University said the need to spill water from the dam highlighted the limits to using dams for flood control.

“Dams cannot control the biggest floods,” Pittock said. “Large flood return frequency is projected to worsen with climate change.” [more]

Australian authorities deliberately flood 2,000 Queensland homes after record downpours

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