Police at the scene of a roof collapse in Tugun as
Queensland experiences severe rains and flooding from
Tropical Cyclone Oswald. (Photo by Chris Hyde/Getty Images)
Four people are dead and thousands of homes are
underwater in Queensland and NSW as ex-tropical cyclone Oswald
closes in on Sydney.
The weather front is beating a devastating path down the
coast and authorities are ramping up for another day of
evacuations while floodwaters have already isolated hundreds
The crisis has claimed four lives so far, including a
three-year-old boy who was hit by a falling tree in
Eighteen people have been rescued with the most recent
operation taking place overnight at Lismore, where a man was
plucked from the roof of his car.
State Emergency Services (SES) Deputy Commissioner Steve
Pearce said some areas in northern NSW had been hit with over
half a metre of rain, with more than 2000 people isolated by
After hitting the Hunter on Monday evening, the front was
expected to hit Sydney around dawn on Tuesday, he said.
"We're expecting really damaging winds of up 100km/h; we're
expecting torrential rain of up to 100mm and possibly 200mm
in localised areas," Mr Pearce said.
"We're expecting flash flooding, we're expecting trees to be
brought down, wires to be brought down by these winds.
"We're expecting a very challenging 24 hours in front of us."
Shortly before 7pm (AEDT) on Monday, about 1500 residents
downstream of Grafton were ordered to leave their homes in
Ulmarra, Cowper and Brushgrove districts.
Floodwaters have also cut off all roads between NSW and
Meanwhile, more than 2000 homes are underwater in the
worst-affected city - Bundaberg in central Queensland.
About 3000 people have also been evacuated two years after
floods devastated much of the same areas of the state,
resulting in 35 deaths.
Army choppers equipped with night vision were used to
evacuate stranded residents into the evening.
"The water is everywhere ... it's the worst on record," the
city's mayor, Mal Forman, told ABC TV on Monday night.
Brian Cox, from Queensland's Disaster Management service,
said the greatest challenge was ever-rising floodwaters.
He said 190 patients would probably be flown out of Bundaberg
Hospital on Tuesday morning.