Cyclone Debbie wreaks havoc on its way out

The tail end of Cyclone Debbie is on its way in, forcing tens of thousands of people from their homes. 

Authorities fear lives are at risk after extraordinary flooding in northern New South Wales and parts of Queensland, and some who have called for help cannot be reached. 

The deluge has trapped some Queensland residents, giving them nowhere to go and creating a desperate situation.  When help finally arrives, the rescue itself is risky. 

"Hey guys, watch out for snakes, there's been a fair few," one says. 

But it's not just snakes, a bull shark washed up in flood waters into Ayr. 

The true scale of the flooding is obvious, street after street under water. One family spent three hours on the back of a truck waiting to be saved from rising flood waters.

"Just watching it rise up, it got really scary," one says. 

"We think we've lost all of our cattle and there was a little calf born yesterday," another told Newshub. 

Search and rescue teams were kept busy - a man and his dog were also saved after clinging to a log for an hour. 

"Out of nowhere, we hear a cry for help."

"I'm a little bit tired, a bit of dog hair in my mouth," the rescued man says. 

 But not everyone could be reached, flood waters are simply too dangerous for rescue teams. Police are now checking inundated homes and cars that were washed away.

In Lismore, rapids raced through the town. Sirens sounded for locals to pack up and leave immediately - many chose to stay and protect stock, but their efforts were in vain.  Some stayed out to watch the weather wreak havoc. 

River levels are continuing to rise even on a low tide when they should be starting to drop.

But there is some respite on the way, rainfall is easing and what's left of Cyclone Debbie is moving out to sea.


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