A strong storm system hit Brisbane, Australia’s northeastern capital, on Sunday, triggering evacuations, power disruptions, and school closures, while the death toll from related flash floods grew to seven.
More than 1,400 residences in Queensland’s capital were at risk of flooding, and over 28,000 homes statewide were without power, as gorgeous beaches on the Gold and Sunshine coasts, which are popular tourist destinations, were all closed.
“We never expected this rain,” Annastacia Palaszczuk, the state premier, said at a press conference. “This rain bomb is simply… it’s unrelenting… It’s raining buckets right now.”
On Monday, more than 100 schools in the southeast of a state known for its abundant sunshine would be shuttered. In recent days, state rescue agencies said they received 100 requests for assistance every hour.
A 34-year-old man tried to swim to safety when his automobile was inundated by floodwaters, and another whose vehicle was carried away in New South Wales, Australia’s most populated state (NSW).
On Saturday, some 700 residents were ordered to flee Gympie as the Mary River system crested at 22.06 m (72.4 ft), the town’s biggest flood since the 1880s.
Meteorologists predicted that the rain and thunderstorms will continue into Monday, before easing off in Queensland but heading south to New South Wales, where several towns in the state’s northeast had been advised to evacuate.
Steph Cooke, the state’s emergency services minister, said the possibility of riverine and flash flooding was “extremely real” in the coming days.