Flooded Aussie City Expects 4,400 Swamped Properties

"(MSNBC)
A city cut off by floodwaters that also brought in snakes and crocodiles was told to expect a crest on Wednesday — but not before 4,400 properties have water in or around them.

Rockhampton Mayor Brad Carter that the Fitzroy River would peak at nearly 31 feet. ""That makes it the equivalent to the second largest flood this region has ever had, from Australia's second largest river catchment,"" he told reporters.

The river is likely to stay above flood level for 10 more days, officials added.

A huge inland sea spawned by heavy rain across Queensland state has been draining toward the ocean, hitting places like Rockhampton, a coastal city with 75,000 residents.

St. George, a town of 3,000, was among those still expecting the floodwaters. Some 80 percent of the town south of Rockhampton is expected to be flooded next week.

In Rockhampton, residents on boats made their way through flooded streets, while police checked houses to see whether they were occupied.Up to 500 people have been evacuated from their homes along the Fitzroy River, which runs through the city and has spilled over its banks and inundated houses and businesses in waters ranging from a few inches to waist-deep, with levels expected to rise another few feet. Air and rail links to the city were cut and only one main road remained open.

Adding to the woes, Carter said Tuesday the floodwaters were threatening Rockhampton's sewage treatment plants and officials may seek to discharge some effluent directly into the swollen river system. He said this would only occur away from the city, and that the discharged sewage would be highly diluted and would not pose a health risk."