Crocodiles out on streets in Australia after devastating floods

North Queenslanders are in clean-up mode after floods triggered by heavy rain inundated communities. Source AAPMore

The gates were fully opened on Sunday night sending more torrents of water into the city, swamping roads, yards and homes.

Australia's tropical north experiences heavy rains during the monsoon season at this time of the year, but the recent downpour has surged far above normal levels.

The pair had not been located by Monday night despite extensive inquiries with family and friends, and a search of floodwaters and the area began.

More than 20 suburbs were ordered to evacuate yesterday afternoon as authorities announced the dam - now at 250 per cent capacity - had automatically opened about 8pm Sunday and could stay open until 6am today.

The army was called into the city to help with evacuations.

Military troops in inflatable Zodiac boats are rescuing hundreds of people trapped in homes hit by the unprecedented flash flood in a huge rescue operation unfolding in the city.

The premier said emergency crews responded to more than 200 calls for help overnight, with about the same number still waiting for help on Monday morning.

Affected suburbs would include Rosslea, Hermit Park, Railway Estate, Townsville City, Oonoonba, Idalia, Cluden, West End, Rowes Bay, Garbutt, Aitkenvale, Cranbrook, Currajong, Mysterton, Pimlico, Mundingburra, Douglas, Annandale, Kirwan and Thuringowa Central and South Townsville areas.

"It is just unbelievable, we've never seen anything like it", Mr Parker said. Nathan Hughes via REUTERS Ross River Dam releases water in Queensland, Australia, in this still photo from a February 3, 2019 video by Julia Hunt.

It fears there could be up to two more metres of rain before the deluge relents, potentially leading to "catastrophic" flooding.

Bureau of Meteorology senior forecaster Gabriel Branescu said today's rainfall would be similar to Sunday, which included widespread falls of more than 100mm with isolated areas up to 340mm.

With the dam at more than 300 percent capacity, engineers said they had no option.

Australia's Bureau of Meteorology said the monsoon rainfall had missed other parts of the state which are in the grip of an intense drought.

Up to 20,000 homes could be flooded if the downpours continue, officials warn.

PTI quoted Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk as saying, "It's basically not just a one in the 20-year event, it's a one in 100-year event".

Opening the spillway would release up to 2000 cubic metres of water per second from the Ross River Dam, over nine and a half hours overnight.

Ergon Energy's spokesperson Emma Oliveri told the AFP that more than 16,000 people were without power, with the supplier unable to say when the lights will come back on.

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