Australia floods leave two dead, thousands evacuated

Rising floodwater in the Sydney suburb of Windsor after the flood gate of the Warragamba Dam were opened in Sydney, Australia, 3 March, 2012 Rising floodwater in the Sydney suburb of Windsor over the weekend

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At least two people were killed and thousands forced from their homes as flooding continued across areas in three Australian states.

Days of heavy rain have led to swollen rivers, flooded farms and forced authorities to close bridges and roads.

Flood levels continued to rise on Monday, with 70% of worst-hit New South Wales flooded or under threat.

Some 4,500 people have reportedly left their homes in central and western parts of the state.

Parts of the states of Queensland and Victoria has also been hit by the floods.

Two men have been killed, both swept away in their cars.

The first man was swept downstream over the weekend at Araluen in southern New South Wales as he tried to drive through the flood. His two companions were rescued.

On Monday a man died when his car was washed off a road in the town of Glenwood, near Gympie in southeast Queensland. There was an unconfirmed report that another car was also swept away.

Authorities have cautioned people against trying to drive through floodwater.

The floods have been caused by days of torrential rain, with one town north of Brisbane seeing 311 mm (12 inches) of rain in a 24-hour period.

On Monday, emergency officials in New South Wales said there were concerns over rising water levels in the Riverina region in the southwest of the state.

The Murrumbidgee river has burst its banks in some areas and the city of Wagga Wagga is facing threats of flooding.

"It's still a very dangerous situation right across the region," said State Emergency Service spokesman James McTavish.

Just last month thousands were evacuated in Queensland, which experienced its third major flood in less than two years. Parts of New South Wales were also cut off by severe flooding.

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