While parts of the United States were shivering under record cold temperatures last week, Australia, both of its territories and all six of its states were sweltering under a record heat wave. And in the northeastern state of Queensland, days of intense rainfall have caused the kind of flooding that officials say happens only once every 100 years.
Townsville is a city in Australia's northeast coast more than 190,000 people live here. Its city council says it gets more than 300 days of sunshine every year, but the massive downpours that have hit Townsville recently have put a major strain on a nearby dam. On Sunday night, the Ross River Dam was at about 250 percent of its capacity and its flood gates had to be opened in to prevent the structure from collapsing. Australian officials warned people in Townsville that historic flooding would happen as a result. And some residents who reportedly thought they'd be OK have had to climb to their roofs for safety.
And it's not just the floodwaters that are dangerous, 9 news reports that there have been several sightings of crocodiles and snakes that have been carried along in the floods. And while you're about to get a sense of the ongoing rescue effort, relief from the rain is nowhere in sight. A cnn meteorologist predicted that Townsville would receive another four inches on Monday, and two to three inches on Tuesday. Entire neighborhoods are underwater, and thousands of homes were in danger of flooding and strong winds that are in the forecast.