Australia floods: Crocodiles seen in 'once in a century' waters

The landslide caused a retaining wall to collapse on Stanley Street Townsville. Source Ben Downie/7NewsMore

While northern tropical regions of Australia experiences rains during this time of the year, the current situation is above normal levels. Concentrated areas of intense rainfall with totals up to 300mm possible, particularly with bands of thunderstorms.

Around 400 Townsville residents have sought shelter at nearby Lavarak military barracks and the Red Cross is also assisting with the response and recovery effort.

"Remember to keep an eye out for your neighbours affected by flood where it is safe to do so and call emergency services if you need help", Queensland Police said.

Affected suburbs would include Rosslea, Hermit Park, Railway Estate, Townsville City, Oonoonba, Idalia, Cluden, West End, Rowes Bay, Garbutt, Aitkenvale, Cranbrook, Currajong, Mysterton, Pimlico, Mundingburra, Douglas, Annandale, Kirwan and Thuringowa Central and South Townsville areas.

Water levels in the Ross River Dam dropped to 211 per cent of capacity, down from 250 per cent earlier in the day.

"In Queensland, of course, we're used to seeing natural disasters, but Townsville has never seen the likes of this".

But she also expressed simmering frustration amid complaints from some residents that they were caught out by record water releases from the city's Ross River Dam.

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said the severe weather would move south, putting Mackay in the warning area.

The opening of the floodgates of the Ross River dam in Queensland created what Australia's weather bureau called "dangerous and high velocity flows".

"We still don't know how much more rain will fall in the catchment, " she said.

Risky and unpredictable conditions with the potential for more flash flooding are expected to continue for at least the next 24 hours.

"Small boats worked through the night to evacuate members of the community", said local commander Brigadier Scott Winter.

"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", Queensland Minister for Environment Leeanne Enoch said in a statement.

An emergency flood alert was issued about 12.30am for Bluewater, Bluewater Park, Toolakea and Saunders Beach, with residents urged to move to higher ground as properties in these aras now at risk of flash flooding.

Townsville Mayor Jenny Hill had described the rainfall as a "one-in-100-year event" and said Monday, "We're not out of the woods yet".

The Australian Defence Force delivered 70,000 sandbags, deployed amphibious cargo vehicles and helped rescue residents from rooftops after some areas received a year's worth of rainfall in a week. "We don't want to get to that stage [but] we can't control that".

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