Kimberley cops another weather walloping

Glenn Cordingley and Jakeb WaddellBroome Advertiser

The Kimberley can expect widespread flooding and road closures that will again isolate communities and towns following torrential rain generated by a developing tropical low.

A section of the Great Northern Highway from Roebuck Plains Roadhouse, 33km from Broome, to Willare Roadhouse, 30km south of Derby has already been closed.

Another stretch of the national highway between Sandfire and the flooded Roebuck Plains was only open to four-wheel-drives and trucks by 1pm today.

All unsealed roads in the Shire of Broome remained closed.

The Department of Fire and Emergency Services (DFES) issued a bulletin shortly after midday today urging people to prepare for flooding in parts of the Kimberley and Pilbara.

The February daily record for rainfall in Broome was smashed this morning when 370.6mm was dumped on the town in the 24-hours up to 9am.

A further 22.6mm has fallen on the town since, as of 1pm.

Broome’s wettest February recorded 495.6mm in 1999, but that was expected to be broken sometime this afternoon or tomorrow.

The tourist town recorded its wettest January in history last month, with rainfall reaching 915.6mm.

Early this afternoon, the tropical low was offshore, south-west Broome, and moving slowly while intensifying.

The system was expected to begin moving south to south-east later today before making landfall tomorrow along the East Pilbara or West Kimberley coast.

Catchment conditions in the Kimberley and North Pilbara are relatively wet from rainfall over the past few weeks, with streams and rivers flowing.

Further heavy rainfall was likely to result in rapid stream and river rises.

Heavy showers were expected in the Kimberley and North Pilbara over coming days with 24-hour rainfall totals of 50mm to 100mm expected, and isolated totals of up to 200mm possible.

Heavy rainfall associated with the tropical low has been observed in the West Kimberley and northern Pilbara districts with totals in excess of 350 mm recorded.

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