Intense rainfall in Queensland forces dam to open floodgates; 500 homes underwater

The landslide caused a retaining wall to collapse on Stanley Street Townsville. Source Ben Downie/7NewsMore

The landslide caused a retaining wall to collapse on Stanley Street Townsville. Source Ben Downie/7NewsMore

"Mackay could get some heavy falls over the next few days with some possibility of flooding", meteorologist Jess Gardner told AAP.

WITH more than a metre of rain having fallen in Townsville in seven days, weather experts are warning the severe weather is still to come, with heavy rain and the chance of tornadoes.

But that was before dam releases were doubled in anticipation of more rain, sending nearly 2000 cubic metres of water per second charging out of the Ross River Dam.

An emergency flood alert was issued about 12.30am for Bluewater, Bluewater Park, Toolakea and Saunders Beach, with residents urged to move to higher ground as properties in these aras now at risk of flash flooding.

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said a recovery centre was opened in Townsville.

The national broadcaster ABC reported that thousands of homes had been abandoned in the suburbs of Townsville and that evacuations were being conducted. There's more water coming, make steps to keep yourself safe.

Police officers wade through flood waters in Townsville.

Major Hodge said his own home was "gone" and he had to evacuate his own family from Idalia on Sunday night.

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"We are now sitting on the side of the highway in the cab of his truck and other stranded people are in the back of his B double trailers. We don't want to get to that stage [but] we can't control that".

Cars and livestock have been swept away over a large area around the coastal city of Townsville.

"It is just unbelievable, we've never seen anything like it", Mr Parker said. "Unprecedented areas of flooding will occur in Townsville", a statement said, adding there was a "risk to life and property".

Despite these efforts, by Monday morning, the dam has held over 500,000 gigaliters of water which represents its 229 percent capacity. Locals are being advised to watch out for crocs and serpents in the most "unexpected places" as emergency crews continue to deal with the rising water levels.

Woolworths Northern Queensland Operations Manager Tina Anandji said the company had "secured two charter planes to carry 3,000 tonnes of fresh food and essential items" to the northern city of Cairns.

Many residents are returning to their homes for the first time this morning since waters receded overnight.

Disaster officials yesterday defended their decision not to forcibly move stranded residents - with 1,100 people assisted to relocate at the height of catastrophic flooding - despite special powers granted to police under a disaster declaration.

According to the Bureau of Meteorology, a slow-moving monsoonal trough was sitting above Queensland, with some areas expected to receive more than a year's worth of rain before conditions ease. "You can't say you weren't warned that something could happen", she said.

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