TOWNSVILLE, Australia (KTVU) - Residents hit hard by record-breaking rainfall in northeast Australia are being warned to stay out of the floodwaters as crocodiles and snakes have been spotted washing up in unexpected places.
On Tuesday, the water began receding in flood-ravaged Townsville in Queensland state, while communities to the north got hit with monsoonal rain overnight, creating flash flooding in many areas and prompting warnings for residents to move to higher ground.
There have been widespread reports of crocodiles and snakes seen roaming the streets or finding refuge from the flooding in unusal places, prompting authorities to warn people to remain vigilant.
On Twitter, Jeff Warner posted a photo of a snake on a rooftop, saying "I wondered why possums in roof so quiet," with the hashtag #TownsvilleFloods2019.
Other images on social media showed crocodiles that were spotted in suburban areas.
On Facebook, Erin Hahn posted an ominous photo of a large croc in front of her father's home on Sunday, saying "Cannot stress it enough to stay out of the water."
Facebook user Kobi Gosley posted a video of a crocodile resting above floodwaters on a fallen tree near her work. "That's unreal," she's heard saying.
On Tuesday, Prime Minister Scott Morrison got a first hand look at the damage and toured areas of Townsville, including evacuation centers where more than 1,000 people are taking shelter.
Morrison called what he saw, "quite overwhelming," adding, "I think people are in shock. I think the kids are amazingly resilient."
He also praised the tireless efforts of the rescue workers. "400 or more actual Defence Force people who’s own homes are under water, being impacted and they’re out there pulling people off roofs, putting them on boats, knocking on doors assisting rescue operations, these stories are all over Townsville,” he said.
The prime minister declined to say whether the torrential rain was a demonstration of climate change. The event has been described as a one-in-100-year event.
"My thinking is the support for Townsville people. I'm not engaging in broader policy debates today," Morrison said.
The rain knocked out power to much of the city, where an estimated 500 homes and business were flooded. That figure is expected to rise sharply as the cleanup gets under way.