Floods hit empty Brisbane; 20,000 homes in danger

Photo gallery: At least 22 people have died and more than 50 are missing in Australia's northeastern state of Queensland.

By ASSOCIATED PRESS
January 12, 2011 13:58
1 minute read.

Australia Flood 311. (photo credit: Associated Press)

 
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BRISBANE, Australia— Emergency sirens blared across Australia's third-largest city Wednesday as floodwaters that have torn a deadly path across the northeast poured into an empty downtown, swamping neighborhoods in what may be Brisbane's worst flooding in 100 years.

The surging, muddy waters reached the tops of traffic lights in some parts of Brisbane, and the city's mayor said at least 20,000 homes were in danger of being inundated.

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At least 22 people have died and more than 50 are missing elsewhere in Australia's northeastern state of Queensland since drenching rains that began in November sent swollen rivers spilling over their banks, inundating an area larger than France and Germany combined. Brisbane, the state capital with a population of 2 million, is the latest city to face down the waters.

On Wednesday, Brisbane residents who had spent two days preparing took cover on higher ground while others scrambled to move their prized possessions to the top floors of their homes Some stacked furniture on their roof.

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