Queensland Flooding Forces 20 Swift Water Rescues, Evacuations Underway
By Mel Fabrikant Monday, January 28 2013 @ 04:05 PM EST
Two days of heavy rain as the remnants of Tropical Cyclone Oswald impacted Australia have left many rivers in Queensland flooded.
Hundreds of people have been evacuated due to the flood risk in the towns of Gladstone and Bundaberg, according to the BBC.
At least one person has died and two people have been reported missing. Tornadoes have damaged homes and injured at least 17 people in the Bundaberg region. Meteorologists in Australia have reported that there is a potential of flooding in Bundaberg that could cause rivers to rise to levels not reached in the last 70 years.
A 14-year-old boy had to be rescued as he clung to a tree in the swift moving waters in Rockhampton.
Rescue teams were able to guide the boy safely to the bank, however, one rescuer was swept away. He was able to swim to the shore further downstream, according to the AP.
During the past five days, at least 20 swift water rescues were needed due to flooded rivers.
"More than 9 inches (22 centimeters) of rain fell at the Rockhampton Airport over an 18 hour period ending on Jan. 23," said AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Michael Pigott.
The Fitzroy River, which runs through Rockhampton, is reported to be rising and is expected to reach about 7.5 meters (31 feet) during the weekend, according to reports from the Australian Government of Meteorology. The water levels of the Fitzroy are expected to rise sharply into next week as water arrives from upstream sources.
People are urged to use extreme caution and avoid approaching swift flowing rivers.
By Vickie Frantz, AccuWeather.com Staff Writer