21 May 2009

State of emergency declared in Queensland

5:31 am on 21 May 2009

South-east Queensland has been declared a natural disaster zone after the death of a man on the Gold Coast on Wednesday afternoon.

The ABC reports thousands of houses and businesses have been flooded.

An investigation is underway into the death of a man, 47, on the Gold Coast.

Police say he was in a first floor office in a building in Surfers Paradise when he was struck by a piece of metal that smashed through a window.

Initial investigations indicate 100km an hour winds dislodged the metal from another nearby building.

About 300 people have been evacuated from Murwillumbah on the New South Wales north coast.

A severe weather warning is in place for southern Queensland and northern New South Wales. Torrential rain and high winds are forecastas well as large waves over north-eastern NSW.

Conditions in NSW are not expected to weaken until Saturday.

Separate flood warnings have been issued for the Tweed and Brunswick Rivers.

Wednesday was one of the wettest days in south-east Queensland's history.

More than 300mm of rain fell across the region, with some spots receiving up to 428mm.