SYDNEY, Jan. 2 (UPI) -- Flooding in Australia's northeastern state of Queensland has submerged at least 22 cities and towns and claimed eight lives, emergency officials said Sunday.
The Bureau of Meteorology issued a new severe thunderstorm warning but later called it off.
The most recent death was a 41-year-woman who was in a car swept off a bridge over the Leichhardt River. Her body was later found more than a mile downriver, the Australian Broadcasting Corp. reported.
Two other people, a swimmer and a fisherman, remained missing, although the search for the swimmer was called off, the Sydney Morning Herald reported.
Floodwaters on higher ground were beginning to recede, although downstream, the 77,000 residents of Rockhampton were bracing for 28 feet of water Wednesday, the broadcaster said. All but one highway to the city has been closed and the airport is closed. The mayor has warned 40 percent of the city could be flooded by the Fitzroy River.
A Rockhampton resident told the BBC of panic buying and swarms of snakes in the floodwaters.
The Royal Australian Air Force is using helicopters to deliver supplies and food to residents stranded by floodwaters, the report said.
The area affected by flooding is bigger than France and Germany combined, the BBC said.