Hundreds of homes in southeast Australia were without power and residents filled sandbags as an intense weather system lashed the region, bringing warnings of more heavy rain.
Flood warnings have been issued in southeast Australia where thousands of homes have lost power due to heavy rains.
Hundreds of people in the New South Wales city of Forbes, west of Sydney, were ordered to evacuate their homes by Thursday night ahead of major flooding.
Rivers across Australia’s most populous states, New South Wales and Victoria, and the island state of Tasmania were rising dangerously with catchments soaked by months of above-average rainfall.
The State Emergency Service issued an order for 17 streets including the central downtown precinct to be evacuated by 8 p.m., (0900 GMT) with the Lachlan River expected to reach a major flood peak of 10.6 meters by Friday.
Police said a man was reported missing near the New South Wales town of Hillston, west of Sydney.
He was last seen on a rural property on the Lachlan River, police said.
Police on Tuesday found the body of a 46-year-old man in his submerged car in floodwater near the city of Bathurst, west of Sydney.
To the south in Victoria, emergency crews rescued at least five people driving through floodwaters in rural areas after heavy overnight rain, officials said.
Victoria Premier Daniel Andrews urged people not to drive or walk into floodwaters.
“It’s very dangerous for you, and it’s also very dangerous for the person who has to come to rescue you,” Andrews told reporters.
State Emergency Management Commissioner Andrew Crisp said the heavy rain would reach metropolitan Melbourne, Victoria’s capital and Australia’s most populous city after Sydney, late Thursday.
Officials have been door-knocking along the Maribyrnong River in inner-Melbourne to ensure residents were ready to evacuate if necessary.
Sarah-Jane Gill, a manager at the Rochester Riverside Holiday Park in the town of Rochester, north of Melbourne, said she had evacuated guests on Thursday as the Campaspe River rose.
“It is scary. You laugh in the face of it all, but we’re very nervous,” Gill said.
Nearly 10,000 homes in Victoria were without power overnight, with hundreds yet to be restored, said the State Control Center, which manages Victoria’s emergencies, and electricity distributor Powercor.
In the northern Tasmanian town of Railton, 90 homes were threatened by floodwaters after overnight rain.