‘Rain bomb’ hits Australia’s northeast, killing seven in floods
16:01 JST, February 27, 2022
MELBOURNE (Reuters) — A severe storm system pummeled Australia’s northeastern city of Brisbane on Sunday, causing evacuations, power outages and school closures as the death toll climbed to seven from accompanying flash floods.
More than 1,400 homes in the capital of Queensland state were at risk of flooding while more than 28,000 homes were without power statewide, as pristine beaches on the Gold and Sunshine coasts, which are key tourist attractions, all closed.
“We never expected this rain,” state premier Annastacia Palaszczuk told a briefing. “This rain bomb is just really, you know, it’s unrelenting … It’s just coming down in buckets.”
More than 100 schools across the southeast of a state famed for abundant sunshine will be closed on Monday. State rescue services said they received 100 requests an hour for help in recent days.
Among the six killed in the flooding were a 34-year-old man who tried to swim to safety after the waters submerged his car and another whose vehicle was swept away in the most populous state of New South Wales (NSW).
About 700 people were asked to evacuate from the city of Gympie on Saturday after the Mary River system surged beyond 22.06 m (72.4 ft) for the town’s worst flood since the 1880s.
Meteorologists said the deluge and thunderstorms would continue through Monday, before starting to ease off in Queensland, but moving south to New South Wales, where some communities at risk in its northeast have been told to evacuate.
The risk of riverine and flash flooding was “very real over coming days,” said Steph Cooke, the state’s emergency services minister.
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