Brisbane, Australia (AFP) Jan 11, 2011
Eight people died and scores were missing on Tuesday after giant flash floods smashed through an Australian town like an "inland tsunami", dramatically escalating a widespread flood crisis.
Officials said the death toll was expected to rise after fast-running torrents of water devastated the rural town of Toowoomba and other nearby areas, sweeping away cars and leaving survivors clinging to trees.
"These are shocking and heartbreaking circumstances involving young families and young children in a very rapidly unfolding situation," Queensland state premier Anna Bligh said.
TV images showed streets turned into churning rapids dotted with floating cars, some with people sitting on top, while elsewhere residents were forced on top of buildings as water-levels reached their roofs.
A woman and two children were found dead in Toowoomba city centre, which lies 125 kilometres (80 miles) west of the state capital, Brisbane, while a man and a boy were killed at nearby Murphys Creek, officials said.
Disaster coordinator Ian Stewart said rescue teams were searching for 72 people reported missing, adding that he had serious concerns about the township of Grantham, where dozens of people are stranded.
"Grantham is going to be, in my view, just a disaster in terms of the number of homes that have been damaged or destroyed and we're waiting on confirmation of potential extra loss of life," Stewart said.
The flash floods were caused by torrential rains falling on Australia's flood-stricken northeast, where overflowing rivers have afflicted a huge area the size of France and Germany combined at huge economic cost.
Federal MP Ian MacFarlane described dramatic scenes in Toowoomba as the flash flood deluged the town before subsiding within three hours, leaving scenes of destruction and people dead in their cars.
"We're just seeing building after building, the water rushing in and blowing the windows out," MacFarlane told Sky News. "Cars that were parked in the carparks were just lifted up and went bobbing down the street."
"I've lived in Toowoomba for 20 years and I've never seen anything like that. This is flooding without precedent in Toowoomba," he added.
Helicopter rescue teams sent to search for the missing in the Lockyer Valley region were hampered by further heavy rains on Tuesday.
"This has been a terrible day, a terrible day," said police commissioner Bob Atkinson.
"Early reports would indicate that what hit Toowoomba could best be described as an inland instant tsunami, with a massive wall of water that's gone down through the Lockyer Valley."
Bligh called the waters "a freak of nature" and said Queensland was facing its "darkest hour".
"This is going to be I think a very grim day, particularly for the people in that region, and a desperate hour here in Queensland," she said.
"Mother Nature has unleashed something shocking on the Toowoomba region," Bligh said earlier. "This is without a doubt our darkest hour of the last fortnight."
Share This Article With Planet Earth
Bringing Order To A World Of Disasters
When the Earth Quakes
A world of storm and tempest
'Dramatic' rain warning for flood-soaked Australia
Sydney (AFP) Jan 9, 2011
Heavy rains falling on Australia's flooded north-east could have a "dramatic" impact, officials warned Sunday, stretching already swollen rivers and creeks to their limit across the devastated region. Queensland police commissioner Alistair Dawson said that severe weather lashing the already sodden northeastern state could bring flash flooding to currently dry areas with little warning. ... read more
ISRO To Launch Two Communication Satellites This Year|
Arianespace Will Have A Record Year Of Launch Activity In 2011
2011: The Arianespace Family Takes Shape
ISRO To Launch Singapore's First Satellite In Orbit In February
NASA tries to awaken mars rover
NASA Checking On Rover Spirit During Martian Spring
Rover Will Spend Seventh Birthday At Stadium-Size Crater
China to explore Mars with Russia this year
Moon Has Earth-Like Core
The Hunt For The Lunar Core
Rocket City Space Pioneers Announce Partnership With Solidworks
NASA Tests New Propulsion System For Robotic Lander Prototype
Mission To Pluto And Beyond Marks 10 Years Since Project Inception
Kuiper Belt Of Many Colors
Reaching The Mid-Mission Milestone On The Way To Pluto
New Horizons Student Dust Counter Instrument Breaks Distance Record
The Final Frontier
Citizen Scientists Join Search For Earth-Like Planets
Qatar-Led International Team Finds Its First Alien World
Planetary Family Portrait Reveals Another Exoplanet
Canada says it could build launch rockets
ISRO Scanning Data For GSLV Flop
J-2X Turbomachinery Complete
New Technology: Hybrid Ion Rocket Engine
China Builds Theme Park In Spaceport
Tiangong Space Station Plans Progessing
China-Made Satellite Keeps Remote Areas In Venezuela Connected
Optis Software To Optimize Chinese Satellite Design
A Look Into Vesta's Interior
Dawn Has A Consistent 2010
Asteroid Itokawa Sample Return
Astrobiology Top 10: Close Encounter With Comet Hartley 2
|The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2010 - SpaceDaily. AFP and UPI Wire Stories are copyright Agence France-Presse and United Press International. ESA Portal Reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. Advertising does not imply endorsement,agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by SpaceDaily on any Web page published or hosted by SpaceDaily. Privacy Statement|