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Saturday, May 18, 2024

Australia. Burketown. Small town, big flood. Water level ‘higher than ever’

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Australia is struggling with violent storms and downpours that have been hitting the eastern part of the country for several days. In the state of Queensland, entire towns were under water, and many cities were completely cut off from the rest of the world. Lightning strikes that have injured at least one person are also dangerous.

Over the past week, they have come over eastern Australia stormsbringing downpours and strong gusts of wind. The storm system is moving from northern Queensland to the southeast, and on Sunday, as the fierce weather peaked, thunderstorm and flooding warnings were in place in many places.

A sunken town

The northern city of Burketown, about 2,100 kilometers from Brisbane, Queensland’s capital, was hit hardest by the downpours. On Saturday, the vicinity of the city was completely under water, and the enormity of the damage is best shown in aerial photos.

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Dan McKinlay, head of Burketown council, said Sunday that 97 residents had to be evacuated by air in the last 48 hours – Burketown has a population of 150. He admitted that the water level in the area was “as high as never before” and the city looked “situated in the middle of the ocean”.

The Australian Meteorological Office (BoM) predicts that water levels in the area will peak on Sunday. It said the flood had already surpassed the March 2011 record of 6.78 metres.

Dangerous thunderstorms

South of Burketown in south-east Queensland, residents are facing severe storms. In Brendale, a Brisbane suburb, a man was struck by lightning and taken to hospital in serious condition. Severe thunderstorms continued to hit Australia’s east coast on Sunday afternoon, with high water warnings in place for some rivers.

For the past two years, eastern Australia has experienced numerous floods as a result of the La Nina weather event. Large swaths of the Northern Territory and New South Wales have been submerged in recent months.

Main photo source: Reuters/Queensland Police

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