Townsville warned as floodgates open BBC Online

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

While northern tropical regions of Australia experiences rains during this time of the year, the current situation is above normal levels.

It is also predicted rainfall of up to 300mm is likely on Tuesday and Wednesday in some areas, further impacting areas including Mackay, Townsville, Bowen, Ayr, Palm Island, Rollingstone, Proserpine, the Whitsunday Islands and Sarina.

He watched the floodwaters rising under his home for days before he finally left on Sunday when he heard the dam floodgates would be fully opened.

Around 400 Townsville residents have sought shelter at nearby Lavarak military barracks.

In hard-hit Townsville, cars were mostly submerged, with picket fences barely poking through waist-deep flood waters.

Queensland Fire and Emergency Services told The Courier-Mail a massive 850 SES calls were made in the 24 hours leading up to 5am today.

Schools in Townsville remain closed and a decision will be made early on Monday about whether to reopen the city's airport after all flights were cancelled late on Sunday.

Townsville has received more than a metre of rain in the past week - more than 20 times the average for the time of year.

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"What we're seeing in and around Townsville is absolutely devastating for the families and community but more help is on its way", he said. Millions of litres of water were released in a matter of seconds as the dam reached over it's capacity.

Queensland Police are warning locals not to become complacent with more water and potential for flash flooding expected.

Fifteen small rigid hull inflatable boats (Zodiaks) are conducting evacuation of members of the community as fast as they can.

"We will continue to send out emergency alerts where we think there is going to be a risk, please heed those alerts", she said.

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. Marissa Papageorge via REUTERS SES volunteers are seen rescuing residents in Rosslea, Townsville, Queensland, Australia February 2, 2019. "Unprecedented areas of flooding will occur in Townsville", a statement said, adding there was a "risk to life and property".

Townsville Mayor Jenny Hill described the rainfall as a "one-in-100-year event".

"This is the highest rainfall event in a 10-day period", Australian Bureau of Meteorology (BoM) extreme weather forecaster Grace Legge told ABC News. Grocery store chain Woolworths said it was sending in food supplies by barge, while supermarket chain Coles was flying stocks into Cairns and trucking them to Townsville.

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