The floods in the Australian state of Queensland are getting worse and worse. It all started before Christmas with a tropical storm near Cairns, which was followed by a protracted period of rain. This led to extensive and deep flooding, with the situation around the town of Rockhampton, 700 miles further south, being particularly dire. This now appears to have been eclipsed by flooding around the state capital, Brisbane, where 6 inches of rain fell within 75 minutes last night. Walls of water, up to 20 feet (6 m) deep have come crashing down the river valley, sweeping away everything in its path. A dozen people have died in the floods, although the casualty toll may not be known accurately until the floods subside. Queensland's state government publishes emergency updates on this link.
Elsewhere in Australia:
Over the next few days, the state of Western Australia will have to look over its shoulder, as a tropical cyclone appears to be forming 900 km to the north of Exmouth. Once it has formed, it will double back on its present westerly course and could pose a threat to the Pilbara or Kimberley coasts.
A similar hazard exists some 700 miles east of Queensland, where a tropical cyclone could form in the island state of Vanuatu. Four provinces of Vanuatu are on Yellow or Blue Alert at present.