Floods bring crocodile warning for Australia's north
Flooding in Australia's tropical north has prompted a warning about crocodiles, with several of the reptiles spotted in swollen waterways, an official said Monday.
The flood threat near Ingham in the eastern state of Queensland is easing but acting mayor of Hinchinbrook Shire Council Andrew Lancini said several residents had sighted the saltwater predators.
"There's usually reports of crocodiles (during floods)," he told AFP.
"You would be surprised if we didn't (have them)."
Torrential rains have inundated much of Queensland state after Tropical Cyclone Tasha crossed the coast early Saturday, and south of Ingham many towns are cut off by flood waters.
The town of Chinchilla in the state's south was suffering what could be its worst deluge in decades after more than 100 millimetres (4 inches) of rain fell overnight, forcing the evacuation of several homes.
Justin Byrnes, who owns the town's Club Hotel, said rising floodwaters had inundated several businesses and were on track to be the worst in memory.
"What we're hearing is that this will far exceed '83, which is probably the worst one in memory that's documented," he told ABC radio.
The Queensland state government has announced disaster relief for some areas and urged residents not to attempt to drive through flood waters after 20 people were rescued from creeks and rivers in the past two days.
Forecasters said rain was set to continue in southern Queensland for several days while there was a possibility that a low-pressure system in the north of the state could form another cyclone.
Floods have also hit parts of New South Wales state to the south of Queensland while the nation's west has endured soaring temperatures, prompting authorities in Perth and other areas to be on alert for bushfires.
(c) 2010 AFP