Flooding overwhelms Australian towns after cyclone

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BRISBANE, Australia, March 31, 2017 (BSS/AFP) – Tens of thousands of people have been evacuated from towns in two Australian states as authorities warned Friday there could be deaths from severe flooding caused by ex-tropical cyclone.

Category four Cyclone Debbie hit northeastern Australia on Tuesday between Bowen and Airlie Beach in Queensland state, ripping up trees, washing boats onto land and causing widespread damage.

Debbie was downgraded to a tropical low as it tracked southeast, but continued to pack damaging gusts and dump huge amounts of rain all the way down the eastern coast to New South Wales state, south of Queensland, and Sydney.

Lismore near the NSW coast was hard hit, with the State Emergency Service (SES) warning of three-metre (9.8-feet) high flood levels in the town.

“Overnight we had about 130 flood rescues, most of which services were unable to get to. So… as we start to go out and try to find people that made those calls overnight, there could be some very distressing news,” SES acting Deputy Commissioner Mark Morrow told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation.

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