Record-breaking rains hit Queensland's Townsville over the past 7 days, causing historic flooding and killing at least 2 people and up to 300 000 cattle (updated to nearly 500 000). While many are counting their losses, some farmers say the rain brought them much needed relief.
Townsville reported 1 413.4 mm (55.64 inches) of rain from January 27 to February 7, more than a year's worth of rain. An estimated 20 000 homes in the city were affected and thousands of people forced to evacuate.
Rainfalls of between 1 000 and 2 000 mm (39 – 78 inches) on Queensland's coastal catchments in 10 days has swelled rivers, with Townsville's Ross River bursting its banks and inundating homes and agricultural districts. It is important to note that not all areas received that much rain, some had what they described as 'beautiful, steady soaking rain.'
Widespread floods cut roads and power, damaged infrastructure and isolated communities.
Two bodies were found in an Aitkenvale storm drain and these are the only reported human casualties.
However, massive floods killed up to 300 000 cattle in western Queensland, with losses estimated at $300 million.
Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk, said the sight so many cattle that had died agonizing deaths made her "sick in the stomach".
An independent inquiry will look into key preparedness and response elements, she said.
Major flooding continues along many rivers from Townsville to Carpentaria and Diamantina Lakes.
On Thursday evening local time, the Flinders River at Richmond reached a record crest of 9.81 meters (32.19 feet). The previous record was 8.76 meters (28.74 feet) from 1974.
Severe weather across the flood-ravaged state is now easing up.
Featured image: Floods in Queensland – February 2019
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