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New floods hit northeastern Australia
by Staff Writers
Sydney (AFP) Jan 24, 2012

Flooding in northeastern Australia caused thousands of homes to lose power Tuesday and prompted authorities to start evacuations, around a year after deadly floods devastated the region.

Up to a dozen homes were evacuated on Brisbane's northern outskirts as Australia's third-largest city was hit by heavy rain, reports said, and authorities urged more people to leave their homes.

Almost 10,000 homes were blacked out and rising waters forced the closure of roads in Brisbane, which ground to a halt for several days in early 2011 due to flooding.

Last year's floods inundated tens of thousands of homes, wiped out huge tracts of farmland, crippled the coal mining industry and killed some 35 people. It was followed by a top-strength cyclone, which worsened damage.

In Brisbane on Tuesday, a waterfront childcare centre had to be evacuated, and three people swam to safety after their car was flooded, television network the ABC said.

Authorities began draining two of the city's dams and said they would likely drain more as the rainfall continued, as meteorologists warned there was more bad weather to come.

"Heavy rain which may lead to flash flooding is expected... over the remainder of today and during Wednesday, particularly about the coast and adjacent inland parts," the Bureau of Meteorology warned.

Northeastern Australia is braced for another exceptionally wet summer season (December-February) due to a La Nina weather pattern in the Pacific Ocean, though the weather is not expected to rival last year's wild storms.

La Nina is characterised by unusually cool ocean temperatures in the eastern equatorial Pacific and has been associated with strong rainfall in Asia and Australia.

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Two dead, hundreds evacuated in Fiji floods
Wellington (AFP) Jan 24, 2012 - Two farmers were killed and more than 700 people evacuated as torrential rain flooded large parts of Fiji's main island Viti Levu, officials said Tuesday.

Roads to the western part of the island were cut after days of heavy rain and 715 people were sheltering in evacuation centres, the Pacific nation's information ministry said.

It said two farmers drowned in separate incidents as they tried to rescue their livestock. One died on Monday but it was unclear when the second died.

The ministry also said the army was called in to help a number of foreign tourists reach Nadi airport, the island's main aviation gateway, on Monday night. It said international flights at the airport were still operating.

It advised residents to stay indoors until further notice amid forecasts the rain will not ease until Thursday.


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Efforts to control Mississippi River result in flooded farmland and permanent damage
Urbana IL (SPX) Jan 23, 2012
When the water in the Mississippi River rose to 58 feet with a forecast of 60 feet or higher in May 2011, the emergency plan to naturally or intentionally breach the levees, established over 80 years prior, was put in motion. The flood of 1937 did top the frontline levee and water passed into and through the New Madrid Floodway, but being floodfree since then caused area landowners to oppose the ... read more

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