Floods Waters to Peak in Queensland, Thousands Still Stranded

Floods Waters to Peak in Queensland
An aerial view of flood affected streets in Moree, New South Wales, Australia. Photographer: Brad Hunter-Pool/Getty Images

Thousands of Australians remain forced from their homes as floodwaters engulfed the nation’s north-east, a year after natural disasters cost the economy about A$9 billion ($9.7 billion).

The Balonne River at St George, a town of about 3,000 people located 500 kilometers (311 miles) west of the Queensland state capital, Brisbane, is expected to peak at around 14 meters (46 feet) today, below a previous forecast of 15 meters, following deluges in the Australian state.

The river rose to a record 13.85 meters at around 4:00 a.m. local time today, and is still rising slowly, the Australian Bureau of Meteorology said on its website. Residents were asked to leave town over the weekend and yesterday.

The deluge may damage as much as 10 percent of the cotton crop in Australia, the world’s third-biggest shipper, according to Olam International Ltd.

Floods in Queensland and the neighboring state of New South Wales have caused an estimated A$50 million of damage, New South Wales Minister for Emergency Management Robert McClelland said in a Feb. 3 statement. About 30,000 properties were affected in Queensland last year by flooding that left dozens of people dead and disrupted trade as mines were shut.

The bureau forecast isolated showers and thunderstorms in Australia’s eastern districts over the next two days. The rainfall may cause some rises in local streams but isn’t expected to add to current flooding.

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