Australia evacuates flooded towns after Cyclone Debbie

Australia began evacuating thousands of people stranded on resort islands in the tropical northeast on Thursday, as water supplies began to run low two days after Cyclone Debbie tore through the region.

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Six large rivers had reached major flood levels and were still rising in several areas, said the Bureau of Meteorology.

A woman's body was found by her family yesterday morning on a flooded property at Upper Burringbar, south of Murwillumbah.

Flood sirens sounded before dawn at Lismore when the Wilsons River surged over the town's levee.

More than 6000 people have left their homes in northern NSW, as rivers rage with the rain dumped by ex-Tropical Cyclone Debbie, which pummelled Queensland earlier this week.

In a very unusual occurrence, rescue crews from the Queensland Fire and Emergency service found a bull shark-a species that is often found in shallower, murky water-in the middle of the road in a town called Ayr.

New South Wales residents forced to flee their homes due to floodwaters caused by ex-Cyclone Debbie have been warned it is still not safe to return home, with hundreds of rescues already.

Logan Mayor Luke Smith said he was very concerned people were ignoring warnings and venturing into floodwaters.

Ms Berejiklian said she was "anxious" to get to flood-affected areas in the state's north.

"We were pretty amazed, we were turning up to shoot a flooding road, we weren't expecting to see wildlife as well".

NSW State Emergency Service Commissioner Mark Smethurst said there was a lot of work to be done, particularly in Lismore.

Council said residents who had no option but to use tap water should boil it for three minutes, cool it, and store the water in a clean container with a lid.

No deaths have been recorded so far, but areas of southeast Queensland have been hit with extensive flooding.

Authorities fear more people may have died overnight as floodwaters continued to rise.

"Nature flings its worst at Australians and it certainly has happened here in the Whitsunday region", Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull told reporters at windswept Bowen Airport, north of where the cyclone made landfall. "We also have structural engineers that are on the ground at the moment".

Australia is home to 20 of the world's 25 most venomous snakes, including the entire top 10.

"Then I saw the fins", she said.

  • Leroy Wright