EMERGENCY workers were cleaning up parts of northeastern Australia today after widespread flooding caused by what meteorologists said was a freak, once-in-a-century weather event.
Dozens of people were evacuated from homes and cars and many roads closed because of rising flood waters and fallen trees after the Sunshine Coast was lashed with days of torrential rain, officials said.
"Major flooding has affected residents in the Noosa River, Lake Cooroibah and Lake Cootharaba area and even though we are confident the worst is now past us, it may take several days for waters to return to normal levels,'' he said.
The dumping of more than 1000mm of rain on the Sunshine Coast has been attributed to a once-in-a-century weather event.
Bureau of Meteorology senior forecaster Jeff Callaghan said the low pressure system over southeast Queensland that caused the downpour was a freak event not seen at this time of year since the 1800s.
"They are very rare in August and the last one we can find was probably in the 1880s,'' Mr Callaghan said on the ABC.