Australia floods Photograph:( Reuters )
Nine people have been killed since the deluge began last Thursday, and rescue teams were searching on Monday for at least four people reported missing
Heavy rains lashed Australia's east coast on Monday (February 28). As a result tens of thousands of people were ordered to evacuate. The floods submerged towns and many residents were stranded on rooftops. Authorities warned of life-threatening flash floods.
Nine people have been killed since the deluge began last Thursday, and rescue teams were searching on Monday for at least four people reported missing.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison, who called the unprecedented rains a "weather bomb", said defence personnel would be deployed to flood-hit areas to lead both rescue and recovery operations.
As per Australia's weather bureau, flash floods remained great risk in New South Wales.
"What we are seeing today is unprecedented and the advice that we have received is we would expect things to get worse," NSW Premier Dominic Perrottet told a televised briefing.
The Brisbane River in the Queensland capital peaked on Monday morning, flooding several streets in Australia's third largest city. Social media posts showed indundated houses and debris, including bins, boats and cars, floating down roads.
In the northern NSW city of Lismore, the entire CBD was underwater and the Bureau of Meteorology warned the city's Wilsons River could reach around 14.2 metres on Monday afternoon, surpassing the last peak back in 1954.
"I have been fielding calls from very distressed residents who are sitting on rooftops trying to get help. It's diabolical," Lismore Mayor Steve Krieg told broadcaster ABC.
Krieg said the sheer speed of rising waters caught people by surprise as he urged the town's near 30,000 residents to leave their homes immediately.
Lismore resident Kara Ahearn said she, her partner and three children were rescued by a kayaker from their roof, to where they had fled when their house was inundated within two hours.
"Very intense morning ... very shaken" she told ABC. "We had to leave our pets behind ... we didn't even have time to put our shoes on."
(With inputs from agencies)