Australia Weather News

The man had been kayaking with a group when he went missing about 2:00pm. - ABC

ACT police are urging people to avoid floodwaters after the death of a kayaker on the Murrumbidgee River in southern Canberra.

The man had gone kayaking with a group near Point Hut Road on Sunday but, amid rising river levels and heavy rain, his kayak became stuck under a bridge.

He was reported missing by the group about 2:00pm, when a search commenced downstream.

Police said he was pulled from the water and found to be unresponsive about 6:20pm on Sunday.

ACT Policing Inspector Brett Booth said the water was flowing "very fast" and was "very cold".

He urged Canberrans to avoid swollen rivers over the coming days.

"It's very dangerous to get near it, we recommend people stay clear of it and stay clear of the banks of the rivers — do not enter the water under any circumstances," he said.

High water hampered 'major search operation'

At about 6:00pm on Sunday, Inspector Booth said emergency services had paused their search efforts in some places to wait for water levels to subside, but were still searching elsewhere.

"The water levels are very high, the water is flowing very fast and there's a lot of obstacles underneath the water," he said.

He had earlier said they were hopeful they would find the man but were "prepared for him to be deceased".

Inspector Booth said the group of kayakers who had been with the missing man were also assisting police at Tuggeranong Police Station.

ACT Policing officers, AFP Search and Rescue, AFP Water Police, ACT Fire & Rescue and the ACT State Emergency Service workers all took part in the search effort.

Heavy rainfall has caused chaos across the region, with rivers breaking their banks, roads inundated and thousands of calls for help recorded.

Many towns in the surrounding region have been impacted. Volunteers have been sandbagging in Yass and the entire town of Bungendore has been cut off by floodwaters.

Warnings have been issued to motorists not to attempt to cross flooded roads, after a number of rescues across the weekend.

The Bureau of Meteorology said the Canberra region had recorded more rainfall on Saturday than in July and August 2019 alone.