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Northern Queensland usually experiences a tropical climate at this time of year.

The two men were feared washed away by floodwaters after running away from the scene of an alleged looting in Townsville.

The authorities were forced to open floodgates of a major dam late Sunday, unleashing what they called "dangerous and high velocity flows".

Australian Army soldiers spent the night evacuating around 400 residents from Idalia telling locals they were working as fast as possible.

AFTER a terrifying night of rapidly rising floodwater, Townsville residents are waking to assess the damage of last night's flash flooding - and bracing for more wild weather.

"Crocodiles prefer calmer waters and they may move around in search of a quiet place to wait for floodwaters to recede", Leeanne Enoch, Queensland's minister for environment, said in a statement Monday.

Schools and courts remain closed, more rain and high winds are on the way and emergency warnings still in effect for more than a dozen rivers.

WITH more than a metre of rain having fallen in Townsville in seven days, weather experts are warning the severe weather is still to come, with heavy rain and the chance of tornadoes.

"In Queensland, of course, we're used to seeing natural disasters, but Townsville has never seen the likes of this".

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"We have not been in this situation before", Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk is quoted as saying by the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC). The BoM warned that risky "high velocity flows" were likely along the Ross River in the wake of the release.

In Townsville, authorities have warned people riding out the disaster that even when the rain stops, it could take days for the water to subside so they can go home.

Desperate residents had to contend not only with flash flooding, landslides and power blackouts, but also several saltwater crocodile sightings in residential roads and cul-de-sacs.

"Townsville, like communities all across the country, bands together in times of crisis and these floods are no different", he said.

"A risk to life and property continues around the Townsville region as we're seeing unprecedented flooding continue on the Ross River", Adam Morgan from the Bureau of Meteorology said on Monday.

Australia's Bureau of Meteorology said the monsoon rainfall had missed other parts of the state which are in the grip of an intense drought.

"It's basically not just a one-in-20-year event, it's a one-in-100-year event".

"The monsoon trough is near stationery which is why we're getting persistent heavy showers affecting many areas, it's particularly of interest in Herbert catchment, Upper Burdekin, Haughton and Ross River catchments", Mr Gunn said.