The heaviest floods in a century in Queensland will worsen this week after weather forecasters warned of more torrential rain even as the south of Australia bakes in sizzling temperatures.
Hundreds of residents have already been evacuated after days of monsoon rains lashed the region around the coastal city of Townsville in north Queensland.
Adam Blazak, a forecaster with the Bureau of Meteorology said some areas had reached "major" flood levels.
"Normally a monsoonal burst might last a few days, but this one's been going on over a week now and is set to continue for a few more days as well," he said.
Between 150mm and 200mm of rain was expected across Townsville at the weekend - equal to about a month's average rainfall. Australia's tropical north expects heavy rains during the monsoon season at this time of the year, but the recent deluge has surged far above normal.
Local authorities are deliberately flooding a number of areas after the record rainfall pushed a dam beyond capacity.
Residents in Townsville have been warned there is a "risk to life" amid "unprecedented flooding" that could damage up to 20,000 homes.
Local authorities issued a number of flood warnings and told residents to avoid using roads and consider moving to higher ground if conditions worsen.
Crocodiles and snakes have been spotted int he water as troops and police in boats have been searching for residents in need of help.
"It's basically not just a one in 20-year event, it's a one in 100-year event," said Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk.
North Queensland has significant zinc reserves as well as major deposits of silver, lead, copper and iron ore, with Townsville a major processing centre for the region's base metals.
In stark contrast, wildfires in the southern island state of Tasmania have burnt through close to 190,000 hectares of land.
Chris Arnold, the chief officer of the Tasmania Fire Service, said nearly 600 personnel were working to contain the fires, some of which have been burning for weeks and have destroyed homes.
Mr Arnold said that while the last few days had produced favourable conditions for battling the blazes, communities in part of the state were still under threat as expected hot and dry weather could see bushfires escalate again.
Australia endured its hottest month on record in January, with sweltering conditions expected to persist through April.
That scorching weather triggered power outages in some areas and sent electricity prices soaring.