Homes flooded in cyclone-hit northeast Australia
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Homes flooded in cyclone-hit northeast Australia

BRISBANE, Australia (AP) — Heavy rains sent floodwaters pouring into homes and businesses Wednesday in several northeast Australian towns still cleaning up from a massive cyclone that tore through the region last month.

A huge band of monsoonal rain hanging over a coastal area south of Cairns prompted flash flood warnings from the Bureau of Meteorology in Queensland state, which was battered by months of deadly flooding that began late last year and by a giant cyclone in February.

In the hard-hit town of Cardwell — where Cyclone Yasi tore roofs off houses, threw boats from the sea and shredded the main road last month — nearly eight inches (200 millimeters) of rain fell in just 24 hours, Queensland Premier Anna Bligh said. Officials set up an evacuation center and a State Emergency Service team was attempting to push through flooded roads to reach the community Wednesday.

“Those people, particularly in Cardwell, still reeling from Cyclone Yasi must be thinking what on earth is next,” Bligh told reporters in Brisbane. “The thoughts of all Queenslanders are with them.”

Yasi came on top of Australia’s worst flooding in decades, with 35,000 homes destroyed, 35 people killed and Brisbane, the country’s third-largest city, inundated.

This week’s floods have killed one person. A 42-year-old woman died after her car was swept from a flooded road in Kuranda, north of Cairns. Her body was found Tuesday, Queensland police said.

Cardwell Caravan Park owner Colin Oke said about three feet (one meter) of water had inundated three cabins, and that two neighboring homes had water above the floorboards.

“Everything’s damaged,” he said. “I’ve spent four weeks just removing trees and branches and bits of everyone else’s roofs that landed in my yard. I’m about to call my insurer again and tell them I’ve got another problem.”