Floodwaters wreak havoc in northeastern Australia

North Queenslanders are in clean-up mode after floods triggered by heavy rain inundated communities. Source AAPMore

North Queenslanders are in clean-up mode after floods triggered by heavy rain inundated communities. Source AAPMore

Earlier, Townsville Mayor Jenny Hill batted away criticism from some residents that they were caught out by record water releases from the city's swollen Ross River Dam.

Townsville has received more than a metre of rain in just a week, which is more than 20 times the average for the time of year - beating the previous record set in 1998, in what became known as the Night of Noah.

Weather authorities are warning there'll be more heavy rains accompanied by destructive winds in the coming days.

The vigorous monsoon trough dumping the rain has begun moving south but it is unpredictable and risky conditions are expected to continue for at least the next 24 hours.

Houses are inundated with flood waters in Townsville, North Queensland.

The pair had not been located by Monday night despite extensive inquiries with family and friends, and a search of floodwaters and the area has begun as a precaution, police say.

Australia's tropical north typically experiences heavy rains during the monsoons, but the recent downpour has far exceeded normal levels.

"You just can't believe how much water has come down from the Ross River", he said. It quoted Townsville disaster coordinator Steve Munro as saying that around 400 to 500 of the city's 82,000 homes were now affected by flooding.

It was feared flash flooding from the release would more than double the height of record-high flood levels already raging through the heart of the city with up to 2000 cubic metres of water per second expected to be unleashed from the dam.

Bureau meteorologist Adam Blazak told AFP the downpours could continue until Thursday, while floodwaters would take some time to recede even when the rains lessen.

The TLDMG made a decision to further open the spillway gates further Friday morning to reduce the risk of significant downstream flooding if further rain falls over the dam catchment in coming days. More rain is expected overnight with Townsville expected to receive 50-80mm on Tuesday'.

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.

"The volume of water is just incredible".

It comes on top of the catastrophic flooding and extreme rainfall swamping the disaster-declared city in an unprecedented "one-in-100-year" event. Downstairs is gone, the fridge and freezer are floating.

A silver lining to the deluge is that drought-stricken farmers in western Queensland have been boosted by the soaking.

Meanwhile, parts of southern Australia are in the grip of a severe drought.

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