About 20,000 people in northern NSW have been told to evacuate, 10,000 homes are without power and safe water and at least one person is feared dead as the area’s flood records tumble.
The Gold Coast Bulletin has said that there are unconfirmed reports that a body has been recovered from a Tweed property on Friday afternoon as the Northern Rivers and Mid North Coast areas are inundated after huge rainfalls.
Record flooding has occurred along the Tweed River at Murwillumbah and Lismore, where the river level peaked higher than the 1954 flood early Friday.
SES assistant commissioner Kaylene Jones said earlier that there were concerns some people may have been swept away by floodwaters that have swept through the region and seen emergency services perform 270 rescues.
“Some people potentially have been washed downstream and there’s a potential that some of those flood rescues may indeed result in tragedies,” she said early on Friday.
The ABC has reported that Murwillumbah area residents are seeking refuge in ceiling cavities and on the roofs of their homes while huge parts of Lismore are underwater as flooding continues to ravage the region.
The Tweed River valley recorded 500-740 millimetres of rain in the 24 hours to 2am on Friday, while the Wilsons River valley recorded up to 576 millimetres in the 36 hours to 4am Friday.
Flood records have been broken in Lismore where the flood siren sounded for the first time in 12 years and the city’s levee was breached for the first time since it was built in 2005.
A three-year-old boy was swept into a stormwater drain in Lismore Heights on Thursday afternoon but was rescued by NSW Ambulance and taken to Lismore Base Hospital suffering just minor cuts.
Dozens of schools in the area were shut on Friday as word spread across town of cracks in the $19 million flood levee, with the Wilsons River peaking at 11.55 metres.
— Ruby Cornish (@rubycornish) March 30, 2017
Much of south-east Queensland still under water
Ex-cyclone Debbie moved off the coast early Friday morning, but has left a trail of damage and is pushing half a dozen rivers to a major flood level in south-east Queensland after being lashed by the storm on Thursday.
More than 100 homes and businesses have been flooded in low-lying areas of the Logan area in south-east Queensland as the Albert and Logan Rivers swell to unprecedented levels.
There are fears for more than 300 more properties in south-east Queensland – including more than 200 homes – could be swamped by “unprecedented” floodwaters on Friday afternoon.
Thousands of residents in low-lying areas of the northern Gold Coast, Logan, and Beaudesert have fled their homes as torrential rain from the remnants of ex-cyclone Debbie hits local rivers.
Isolated falls of 600 millimetres were gauged in 24 hours and winds picked up to a maximum 120km/h — the strength of a category one cyclone — as the worst of the low-pressure system passed over the south-east on Thursday evening.
The Logan and Albert river catchments are overflowing after isolated falls in the Scenic Rim of 500 millimetres overnight.
– with ABC and AAP