Body is found by a swollen river as heavy rain and thunderstorms drench two states and authorities warn of dangerous beaches and flooding
ONABEKUN ISIAQ ADEKUNLE
Feb. 13, 2020
A man's body has been found among the debris on the flooded river bank in Queensland as authorities warn of dangerous conditions over the weekend.
It is believed the body belongs to a kayaker, 75, who went missing from Conondale, in the Sunshine Coast, on Sunday.
The grim discovery comes as Queensland and New South Wales prepare to be hit by another powerful downpour.
A slow-moving storm battered southeast Queensland on Wednesday night, dumping more than 200mm of rain.
Residents woke on Thursday to find cars submerged in flood waters as the roads were turned into rivers and several schools were forced to close on Thursday due to the flooding.
Forecasters are now warning that more carnage could be on the way as a coastal trough threatens to deliver heavy rain, and possible thunderstorms.
A severe storm warning has been issued for Southport, Mount Tamborine, Coomera, Hope Island, South Stradbroke Island, Oxenford, Helensvale and Jacobs Well.
The storm warning comes as authorities desperately search for Gold Coast woman Yang Chen, 26, who is feared to have been swept away in the floodwaters.
She had been walking with a man near Gorge Falls in the Tallebudgera Valley when he lost sight of her at 11am on Wednesday.
Authorities hold concern as many creeks are still overflowing after the torrential downpours over the past week.
Her disappearance comes as a nine-year-old boy had to be rescued after he was sucked down a drain in the Gold Coast on Wednesday. He suffered minor scrapes to his head and was taken to hospital.
The Sunshine Coast bore the brunt of the storm on Wednesday, with shocking pictures showing entire towns swamped with floodwaters.
Sunshine Coast Airport saw 232mm of rainfall in the 24 hours to 9am on Thursday, while Coolum was hit with 217mm and Nambour 201mm.
Shark nets and baited hooks have been pulled from all Gold Coast and Sunshine Coast beaches, Rainbow Beach, Bribie Island and North Stradbroke Island ahead of the wild weather.
The falls have been welcomed across the Queensland water grid, with storage capacity at almost 60 per cent, rising from 56.4 per cent on February 7.
New South Wales looks like it might be spared from the severity of the storm, however, showers are still expected to hit hammer the state until mid-next week.
Emergency services have been scrambling to clear debris left over from the severe storm which left more than 100,000 people without power.
There were still about 25,000 homes that could be without power until the weekend.
Beachoers have been urged to rethink their plans, as Tropical Cyclone Uesi brings hazardous surf conditions for the entire east coast.
Uesi is tracking towards Lord Howe Island, 600 kilometres east of Port Macquarie, with destructive winds and intense rainfall forecast to hit the island from Thursday.
Winds are forecast to gust up to 150km/h and about 150 millimetres of rain could drench the island over 24 hours.
The bureau's NSW weather services acting manager, Mike Funnell, said Uesi could cause powerful surf along the NSW coastline with a separate weather system contributing to high swells.
Mr Funnell said the state's already battered coast will likely be further eroded over the next few days.
'The sea is going to be a very dangerous place to be this weekend,' he said in Sydney.
A hazardous surf warning has been issued for the Byron Bay coast on Thursday and most of the state's coastline on Friday.
The Bureau of Meteorology says the cyclone should become an ex-tropical cyclone system as it passes over the island in the early hours of Friday morning.
A severe thunderstorm warning has been issued for the northeast with Lismore, Tenterfield, Byron Bay, Ballina and Casino facing possible flash flooding.
Flood warnings are in place for several rivers, including the Tweed River at Tumbulgum and the Orara River at Glenreagh, with the bureau saying many waterways are already saturated after last week's record rainfall.
The NSW State Emergency Service has also warned of minor flooding in the upper Nepean River at Menangle in Sydney's southwest.
Marine Rescue NSW operations director Andrew Cribb warned most coastal areas will be extremely dangerous on Friday and the weekend.
He urged rock fishers to avoid coastal areas completely and advised boaters as well as surfers to rethink their plans.
NSW Police Deputy Commissioner Gary Worboys urged people to drive safely on the roads and not enter floodwaters.
About 21,000 people across Sydney and the Central Coast are still without power after last weekend's record rainfalls.
Many are bracing for more days without power as utility company Ausgrid works to get electricity back to all its customers by the end of the weekend.
Ausgrid has asked all levels of government for assistance, particularly with clearing downed trees.
Endeavour Energy on Wednesday night said fewer than 50 of its customers were still without power. It plans to restore power to all homes by Thursday night.
The recent rain has boosted Sydney's parched dams, with Warragamba Dam now at more than 73 per cent capacity, surging from 43 per cent a week ago.
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