Brisbane Flooding Empties City, Swamps Streets

Floodwaters inundated Brisbane Wednesday, forcing mass evacuations from Australia’s third-largest city.

Officials say as many as 40,000 private, commercial and public buildings will be affected by the flooding, which has caused the Brisbane River to engulf 34 of the city’s suburbs.

The raging torrents have reached the tops of traffic lights in some parts of the city, The Associated Press reported.

The Brisbane River was expected to rise 14 feet above normal Wednesday and peak at 17 feet above normal Thursday, according to UPI.

Utility officials said about 70,000 homes in the Brisbane area were without power by Wednesday afternoon.

The deluge in Brisbane comes after weeks of driving rains in Australia’s northeastern state of Queensland left at least 22 people dead and 44 more missing.

Earlier this week, flash floods swept through the city of Toowoomba, sweeping cars and people down the streets. Twelve people died in that flood alone.

Emergency officials have set up evacuation centers around the Brisbane area, UPI said. The airport put up about 150 flood evacuees Tuesday after it was incorrectly listed as an evacuation center, although it was not equipped with proper emergency supplies.

Authorities received over 32,000 calls for assistance overnight.

Prior to the Brisbane flooding, Queensland Premier Anna Bligh estimated that damages could cost about $5 billion.

Categorized | Natural Disasters
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