8 March 2012
Last updated at 11:01
Large areas of Australia's New South Wales, Queensland and Victoria states have been hit with severe flooding after some of the heaviest rains in years.
At least two people have been killed in the past week as they were swept away in their cars. Many towns, including Nathalia, in Victoria, have had to strengthen their flood defences.
Thousands of people were evacuated from Wagga Wagga, south-west of Sydney, amid fears the Murrumbidgee River was about to breach its banks.
Local people filled sandbags in an attempt to protect the town and their homes from the encroaching water.
The waters eventually peaked lower than had been feared and while the waters did creep into some properties, most of the town was spared.
Prime Minister Julia Gillard visited Wagga Wagga on Wednesday and said it was an "anxious time" for residents. She said the military was on standby to help if needed.
The inland town of Forbes, New South Wales, was cut in three by floodwaters, prompting the authorities to urge hundreds of people to abandon their homes for higher ground.
The floodwaters in more rural areas brought with them other dangers, including snakes entering residential areas.
In Sydney, about 119mm (5in) of rain fell in the downtown area, the heaviest in five years, bringing flash flooding. Rainfall of up to 134mm was reported elsewhere.
Dozens of roads and railway lines were closed, homes and transport stations were flooded, power went out and some motorists had to be rescued after becoming stranded in their cars.
Emergency workers carried out checks and repairs after what roads minister Duncan Gay said had been "a weather event the likes of which many of us have never seen".
A severe weather warning was issued for Sydney, but the forecast was for the rains to clear by Friday.