SYDNEY – Residents of the city of Townsville, in northeastern Australia, currently the most affected by heavy floods that have been inundating the area for over a week, reported the sighting of crocodiles on the streets of the city, early Monday.
Emergency services spotted a three-meter crocodile on a road in the city on Sunday night, while local woman Erin Hahn posted a photo on social networks of one of these reptiles in front of her father’s house.
Helen Murdoch also shared a photo of a crocodile climbing a tree to avoid being swept away by the floods, which was declared as catastrophic on the weekend by the Australian Insurance Council.
In Townsville, about fifty homes were flooded on Sunday after the opening of the floodgates of the Ross River Dam, which now spills some 2,000 cubic meters of water per second after its water levels reached 230 percent of capacity.
Authorities believe that in the worst case scenario, some 20,000 homes, about a quarter of the total, could be affected by flooding in Townsville, the largest city in North Queensland.
The Premier of Queensland state, Annastacia Palaszczuk, said Monday that the authorities are assessing the damage, adding that “it will continue for the next 24 to 48 hours, this monsoonal pressure will keep shifting, so we don’t know where it’s going to dump the water.”
More than a 1,000 people have been evacuated to the shelters of the city, while emergency services came to the aid of some 200 people since last night, according to Palaszczuk.
The mayor of Townsville, Jenny Hill, said that hundreds of local residents had fled their homes and were now sheltering in evacuation centres and more shelters are planned to open.
The torrential rains that have fallen since last week were not as intense as expected overnight, but another rainstorm was expected during the day.
The city and its 190,000 inhabitants is cut off from all road transport and the airport was closed for several hours as well on Sunday, but has now reopened. Major supermarket companies are planning to supply the town by ship in the coming days, as it is unclear when road transport will be possible again.
Meteorologist Jonty Hall told local broadcaster ABC that the monsoon that brought the rains will move to southern Queensland and probably “ will bring areas like the Central Coast, Mackay, Whitsundays into the equation.”
The floods have been caused by the heaviest rains recorded in decades in Townsville, where in seven days more than one meter of water has fallen, the average amount falling in a year.
The meteorology service forecasts that heavy rainfall will continue to the coming days.