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Thousands cut off by floods in Australia

Heavy rain floods the east of the country and now the northwest is threatened by Cyclone Rusty.
Last Modified: 24 Feb 2013 11:04

Bundaberg underwater as southern Queensland experiences record flooding from Cyclone Oswald a few weeks ago [GALLO/GETTY]

Thousands of people along Australia’s east coast have been cut off by flooding brought on by days of heavy rain. At least two people are known to have died after the severe storms damaged homes and downed trees in and around the Sydney area.

Intense storms bringing high winds and torrential rain ripped through eastern Sydney Saturday night into Sunday ripping of roofs and damaging power lines. Much of the flooding is now receding but the north coast region, including the towns of Port Macquarie and Taree, remain under close watch along with the Hawkesbury-Nepean area west of Sydney.

State Emergency Services have now said that the Macleay River peaked lower than first feared in Kempsey, 350km north of Sydney. The New South Wales town does appear to have escaped major flooding.

Around 20,000 people remain cut off across north and mid-north coasts and the authorities continue to monitor the situation and will provide medical evacuation should it be needed.

The latest deluge comes just weeks after Tropical Cyclone Oswald caused flooding across parts of Queensland and New South Wales. It will become drier here over the next few days as the showers become fewer and further between.

Meanwhile, residents on the other side of the country have been warned to prepare for dangerous weather as a cyclone intensifies off Western Australia's north coast.

Tropical Cyclone Rusty is expected to bring gales late on Sunday night or early on Monday, as it tracks towards the coast. Warnings for dangerous weather have been issued for coastal communities from Broome to Whim Creek, including areas around Port Hedland, Wallal and Broome.

According to the Bureau of Meteorology, the system is currently estimated to be 350km north of Port Hedland and 435km west of Broome, moving south at 8kph. It is expected to make landfall on Wednesday with sustained winds of around 160kph and gusts approaching 195kph.

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Source:
Al Jazeera
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