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Thousands flee as flood hits Wagga Wagga, Australia

Daniel Munoz / Reuters

Parts of North Wagga are submerged in floodwaters in Wagga Wagga, Australia on March 6, 2012.

Lukas Coch / EPA

Volunteers load sandbags onto a truck at the State Emergency Services headquarters in Wagga Wagga on March 6, 2012.

 

Dannielle Upfield / Wagga Wagga City Council via EPA

Floodwaters on the Sturt Highway in Flowerdale near Wagga Wagga on March 6.

msnbc.com staff and news services report — Floods across eastern Australia forced more than 13,000 people to evacuate their homes on Tuesday after record-high summer rains drenched three states over the past week, swelling rivers and forcing dams to overflow.

In the worst-hit state of New South Wales, authorities ordered 8,000 people to leave their homes in the inland city of Wagga Wagga, where flood waters were expected to breach an 11-meter levee and swamp houses and the main business district.

Thousands of people in Wagga Wagga moved to shelter at local schools, while the center of the town, home to around 60,000 people, was deserted on Tuesday. Continue reading.

Lukas Coch / EPA

Volunteers fill sandbags at the State Emergency Services headquarters in Wagga Wagga on March 6, 2012.

Daniel Munoz / Reuters

A rescue team navigates in a flooded road in Wagga Wagga on March 6, 2012.