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Flooding isolates Tasmanian residents

Friday May 28, 2010 - 20:20 EST

Residents of Tasmania's east coast are grappling with flooding triggered by severe thunderstorms.

St Marys Pass, the Elephant Pass and Esk Main Road - leading to and including the township of St Marys - have all been closed.

In St Helens, the main road and Harefield Road are under water and should not be used.

Police are also advising motorists not to travel east of Fingal.

In St Marys, the town hall has been opened for people displaced by the floods.

Police have asked residents not to leave their homes on their own, but to ring the police, who will then contact the State Emergency Service for assistance. The number to ring is 131444.

It is reported there is as much as one metre of water across the road in the St Marys township.

St Marys resident Ruth has told ABC Local Radio it is a deluge.

"It's still raining heavily, water everywhere, we do have a major flood here," she said.

"We've been back here for 10 years and the water's the highest it's been since we've been back."

109 millimetres of rain fell in the town of Gray, near St Helens, in the two hours from 3pm.

A senior forecaster with the weather bureau, Tim Bolden, says heavy falls will return to parts of the north-east tomorrow.

"We are looking once again at some locally heavy falls about the north-east of the state, and it does look like the same areas that will probably be most under the gun.

"So as well as the flash flooding that we've seen at the moment, that could well produce some catchment-wide river rises that could flow downstream," Mr Bolden said.

Earlier, emergency authorities took five people to hospital after their car ran off the flood-affected St Marys Pass.

Marie Vogt from the State Emergency Service says the five people were not injured.

"They've been delivered to that hospital simply for safe keeping at the moment, but they are fine and uninjured," she said.

"We've had another vehicle go off the road at Elephant Pass. Those occupants are fine."


© ABC 2010

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