Kimberley residents urged to stock up for impending low

Peter de KruijffThe Kimberley Echo
There could be more rain in store for the Kimberley with a low tracking west from the Northern Territory.
Camera IconThere could be more rain in store for the Kimberley with a low tracking west from the Northern Territory. Credit: Facebook

There could be more road closures on the way in WA’s north with a tropical low tracking towards the Kimberley from the Northern Territory.

Bureau of Meteorology WA media and communications manager Neil Bennett said it was becoming increasingly confident the low would start bringing heavy rain and squally thunderstorms to the East Kimberley today.

“As it tracks further to the west it is likely to get out over water, so we could see a tropical cyclone off the West Kimberley coast,” he said.

“Possibly Friday evening but more likely Saturday morning.

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“We’re not anticipating landfall in the Kimberley, we’re thinking longer term it will be more the central Pilbara. That might not be until the back end of the weekend or early next week.”

Mr Bennett said the there could be heavy rainfalls in areas like Derby and Broome which have already been inundated with water this wet season.

The cyclone forecast track map for the low.
Camera IconThe cyclone forecast track map for the low. Credit: Bureau of Meteorology

Main Roads Central and Northern Regions executive director John Erceg said the Great Northern Highway was still damaged by flooding from the last cyclone on the west coast despite it having been re-opened.

“Up to 200 millimetres of water is still sitting over the Highway in the Roebuck Plains area and this will take some weeks to drain away,” he said.

“BoM is forecasting the possible formation of another tropical cyclone in the days ahead and the torrential rain associated with this weather system will undoubtedly put further pressure on the Highway and road network in the North West.

“Road closures are likely and it’s important that road users obey all “Road Closed” signs – they are there to protect people’s safety as well as limit damage to the road surface.”

The Department of Fire and Emergency Services is encouraging residents to stock up on non-perishable food with many communities likely to become isolated due to road closures.

Heavy rainfall in Kalumburu last month turned a road into a creek at McGowan’s Island Camp.
Camera IconHeavy rainfall in Kalumburu last month turned a road into a creek at McGowan’s Island Camp. Credit: Matt Flinders

DFES Kimberley district officer Glenn Hall said there could be daily totals of about 120mm near Wyndham as the low skirted across the top of the coastline and above 200mm once it got out west.

“We are anticipating isolation issues out of this event,” he said.

“The message we need to get out is people need to prepare now.

“We’re asking people to make sure their cars are stocked with fuel and they stock up on at least on non-perishable items.”

Mr Hall said families should have a minimum of three days worth of food per person at the ready.

“As well as things like pet food, medicine you may require and checking your emergency kit,” he said.

Mr Hall said during the last event supermarkets in Kununurra were able to transport food from Perth via South Australia but barging food to the West Kimberley might not be so easy this time if there are cyclonic conditions.

Last year several remote communities required emergency food air drops after becoming cut off from supply routes.

There is currently a flood warning for people living near the Fitzroy River and West, East and North Kimberley river catchments including people in or near Broome, Derby, Fitzroy, Wyndham, Kununurra, Warmun, Halls Creek and Kalumburu.

Rainfall totals for the catchment areas are likely to be in the range of 100mm to 200mm with isolated totals to 300mm to 400mm up to Friday.

Stay up to date with warnings and what to do in an emergency at www.emergency.wa.gov.au and road conditions at travelmap.mainroads.wa.gov.au/Home/Map or by ringing Main Roads on 138 138.

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