The tail end of one of Australia’s largest cyclones triggered wild storms and flash flooding at the other end of the country, while residents at the epicentre picked through what was left of their homes.
The tropical low that was Cyclone Yasi, which tore through the north east earlier this week, was active over central Australia and making a series of thunderstorms over the southern city of Melbourne and other large towns in Victoria state much worse, the Bureau of Meteorology said.
More than 7ins of rain fell in just a few hours overnight in some Melbourne neighbourhoods and winds gusting to 80mph knocked down trees, the Bureau of Meteorology said.
Drains were overwhelmed, causing flash flooding that covered streets and swamped some homes. The State Emergency Service said 84 people were rescued from cars that stalled in flooded streets, or from inundated properties.
A 26-year-old British tourist was taken to a hospital after part of a tree fell on the tent she was camping in, SES spokesman David Tucek said.
Many parts of Australia have suffered a summer of awful weather, including pounding rains across north-eastern Queensland state that caused the nation’s worst flooding in decades, killing 35 people and causing an estimated £3.5 billion damage.
Yasi ripped across the coast near Cairns on Wednesday night, tearing apart dozens of homes and damaging hundreds more, cutting power to tens of thousands of people and flattening millions of dollars worth of crops. Just one death was reported.
Police and army personnel moved through the storm-savaged coastal town of Tully Heads on Saturday, going door-to-door accounting for residents.
Officials spray painted “No Go” as a warning on the worst-hit homes. A few houses were reduced to rubble. A layer of brown sludge covered the ground, leaving a sickening smell wafting throughout the community.
The massive surge of water ripped through homes, taking out walls and pushing resident’s belongings into other people’s houses and yards.