SYDNEY: Australia's east coast has been hammered by flash flooding and thunderstorms, with meteorologists warning on Friday that more is expected throughout the weekend.
The rains hit on Thursday, with more than 100 people in the State of Victoria having to be rescued from flood waters, including 17 who were winched from the top of their vehicles by helicopter.
Some areas in Victoria received more than a month worth of rain in less than an hour. Authorities have reiterated warnings for the public not to attempt to drive across flood waters.
Further north, emergency services responded to more than 400 calls for assistance after heavy rains and winds of over 100 km/h battered the State of New South Wales, with the Bureau of Meteorology warning that thunderstorms will continue across the weekend.
Meanwhile in the country's far northeastern state of Queensland, residents are preparing for tropical cyclone Owen to make landfall early on Saturday morning as a destructive category four.
Already clocking wind gusts of over 200 km/h, Owen is predicted to bring heavy rainfall up to 400 mm as it tracks south along the coast.
"It can be anywhere from 100, 200, perhaps 400 mm over the next few days. So with that type of rain coming in a very short time, people must be prepared for flash flooding," Queensland Fire and Emergency Services Assistant Commissioner Kevin Walsh said.