Video: Dead shark found 19km inland after Cyclone Debbie in Australia
A shark found in the middle of the road stunned residents of a small Australian town following a deadly storm.
The bull shark washed up on a flooded road near the town of Ayr, Queensland, after tropical cyclone Debbie battered northeast Australia.
Queensland Fire and Emergency Services (QFES) shared photos of the shark on social media, warning members of the public to stay out of flood water near the Burdekin River.
It came as Australian authorities told 40,000 people to evacuate to higher ground yesterday as a storm system generated by the powerful cyclone that pummelled the north-east two days ago swept down the coast with heavy rain.
Cyclone Debbie hit as a category four storm in the north of tropical Queensland state on Tuesday, smashing tourist resorts, bringing down power lines, flattening canefields and shutting down coal mines.
Driving rain fell most heavily yesterday in hinterland and coastal areas either side of the state capital, Brisbane.
"This severe weather system that began with Cyclone Debbie and is tracking down the coast is causing havoc across our state," Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said.
The cyclone was downgraded to a tropical low depression on Wednesday but yesterday was driving squalls with torrential rain across a 1,200km stretch of Australia's east coast, swelling rivers, causing flash floods and prompting authorities to tell 40,000 people to evacuate.
In Lismore in the north of neighbouring New South Wales state, the State Emergency Service ordered 7,000 residents in low-lying areas to leave after forecasts predicted the town's worst flood in nearly 20 years.
A levee protects the rural hub in the Northern Rivers region of New South Wales, home to at least 25,000 people, but most of those downtown planned to seek higher ground, Geoff Baxter, a barman at the Richmond Hotel, told Reuters. "We're clearing out the pub, mate, and closing it up. All the shops got closed, everyone's clearing up their cellars," he said.
Further north, Queensland closed more than 2,000 schools as sustained heavy rainfall brought flash floods to the Gold Coast tourist area. In the cyclone-hit zone further north still, military helicopters, ferries and planes brought hundreds of holidaymakers stranded on resort islands in the storm's path to the mainland, where tens of thousands more people were without power.