Queensland river swells to 60km wide

North Queensland's once-in-a-century flooding has caused death, disease and heartbreak, now the vast inland sea has triggered a violent thunderstorm.

Luckily the freakish storm formed in an isolated area about 200 kilometres south of Normanton and ran out of puff before it hit the town, the Bureau of Meteorology's Harry Clark told AAP.

"From a meteorological perspective, it was pretty amazing to see."

The unusual storm, which normally only happens over the ocean, was triggered by moist warm air generated by the swollen Flinders River.

The river is usually a series of winding channels but has swollen into a vast inland sea more than 60 kilometres wide.

"The increase in temperature from all the flood waters, because they're so vast, basically the size of New Caledonia at their peak, provides enough moisture to allow thunderstorms," Mr Clark said.

Further south, a dust haze from drought areas and smoke pushed north from bushfires in NSW have hampered flood clean-up operations.

The near statewide haze reduced visibility from Brisbane west to Windorah in southern Queensland before pushing north on Thursday.

"It's cleared from most places but Townsville appears to be the only place experiencing significant visibility reductions," Mr Clark said.

Meanwhile, the authorities are warning people to take care after one woman died and nine more people were infected by a soil-borne bacteria stirred up by heavily contaminated floodwaters.

Cases of melioidosis bacteria aren't unusual during the wet season, however, the recent cluster of infections in Townsville following the unprecedented flooding of thousands of homes has caused concern.

Townsville Hospital says eight of the infected people remain in hospitals in a stable condition and another is being cared for at home.

The death in Townsville takes the flood toll to three, following the deaths of two men about two weeks ago.

Police are still searching for a 35-year-old man who disappeared in floodwaters at Groper Creek, south of the city, on Friday.

Further inland, authorities are racing to dispose of hundreds of thousands of dead animals in the state's west to limit the spread of disease.

Cattle, sheep and wildlife perished in the unprecedented two-week rains, which left large swathes of the state under water.

Their rotting carcasses pose a high risk of botulism and Q fever to clean-up crews and to local water supplies in flooded communities.

Meanwhile, exhausted residents struggling to restart their lives in Townsville have also been hit with severe heatwave conditions.

On Thursday the maximum temperature climbed about 10 degrees warmer than average to 39.3C at 2.30pm, the Bureau of Meteorology says.

Add a Comment