Hundreds of people remain holed up in evacuation centres across Townsville waiting for floodwaters to recede as North Queensland's big wet rolls into its 12th day.
The one-in-100-year monsoonal deluge is far from over with the Bureau of Meteorology warning more heavy rain is likely from Palm Island, north of Townsville, south to Mackay on Wednesday.
The ongoing severe weather warning follows the discovery of two men's bodies in a Townsville drain after floodwater receded.
A local resident said the men may have been sucked into man-sized pipes that lead to the drain from a liquor store where a looting incident had been reported.
Two bodies reportedly found in Townsville storm water drain #flood #bigwet @SBSNews pic.twitter.com/e4Ic5IQUNH
An investigation has been launched into the conduct of police officers in the lead-up to the deaths of the two men.
The Ethical Standards Command will now investigate the police who had been searching for the men after an attempted break-in at a nearby Dan Murphy's liquor store at 3am on Monday.
The police probe will be overseen by the state's Crime and Misconduct Commission and a report will be prepared for the State Coroner.
Authorities unsure how many homes have gone under
Queensland Fire and Emergency Services Commissioner Katarina Carroll said it is impossible to know how many homes have gone under across north Queensland.
"It's easily hundreds, it could be thousands," she said on Tuesday, but added audit teams were being hampered by the enduring risk of flash floods with each new deluge.
The 12-day-old weather event has exhausted emergency service workers, who have carried out thousands of rescues since the flood crisis began.
More than 100 fresh police officers and nurses will begin flying into Townsville to relieve their local colleagues on Wednesday.
Their arrival comes as schools in the region begin reopening as the monsoon trough slowly pushes south.
Recovery planning underway
The Bruce Highway reopened on Tuesday, allowing a backlog of trucks to head for the city carrying much needed supplies of fruit, vegetables and other supplies.
Planning for the city's recovery is well under way, despite concerns about more flash flooding.
While the flood risk will continue for the rest of the week, forecasters say an end to the disaster is in sight.