Flooding in North Queensland, Australia has spilled into the Flinders River System to create a 60 kilometre-wide “mega river” that can be seen from space.
On Wednesday, the Bureau of Meteorology said the river system “is currently experiencing its most significant flood in at least the last 50 years”.
“The amount of rainfall has been staggering,” Sky News meteorologist Rob Sharpe told News Corp.
“Above 500mm of rain spread across a vast region – 300km across and 200km north.
“The Flinders River System is now a flood plain. This is a mega river making its way up to the gulf.”
At 1000km long, the Flinders is the longest river in Queensland and drains a vast area of some 108,000sq km. Only the last 70km of the river holds water all year round.
The river is surrounded by a large flat clay pan that is ideal for raising cattle. Floodwaters rose so fast that cattle couldn’t be moved in time and hundreds of thousands of animals perished.
The Flinders River will shrink back to its regular size once the remaining floodwater drains into the Gulf of Carpentaria, which may take another week.
Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison will see the flood devastation of the cattle industry first hand in a visit to the town of Cloncurry on Friday.
Noting he was last in the area two years ago when all around was dry red dust, Morrison tweeted: “We will be standing with all those affected as you recover and rebuild.”
Authorities are warning people to take care after one woman died and nine more people were infected by a soil-borne bacteria stirred up by heavily contaminated floodwaters.