May 2, 2015 / 3:33 AM / 2 years ago

Flash floods kill five as torrential rains hit Australia's east coast

PERTH (Reuters) - Flash floods killed five people in south-east Queensland when their cars were swept away following a rain storm on Australia’s east coast, police said on Saturday.

The dead included three men, one woman and a eight-year-old boy, while more than 30 other people were rescued from cars stranded on flooded roads in and around Caboolture, 44 kilometers (27 miles) north of Brisbane.

“The tragedy is that people are still taking risks in order to try and get through,” Queensland police inspector Lee Jeffries told local media.

More than 360 mm (14 inches) of rain fell when the storm hit on Friday evening, most of it falling in a three hour period.

The Bureau of Meteorology said that the low pressure system was contracting as it moved south into northern New South Wales early on Saturday but forecast damaging winds, heavy rainfall and large swells for the mid north coast and Central Hunter region of the state.

The low follows last week’s cyclone-strength storm that battered Australia’s east coast over three days, killing eight, cutting road and rail links, closing shipping ports and causing millions of dollars of damage to Sydney and other cities.

Reporting by Morag MacKinnon; editing by Simon Cameron-Moore

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