Australia – Record Breaking Rain Causes Floods in Northern Territory

Parts of southern Northern Territory and northern South Australia have seen record breaking rain over the last two days.

The rain, caused by a deep low pressure system, was described as a one-in-50-year event by Australia’s Bureau of Meteorology.

Parks Australia to close the Uluru National Park on Monday 26 December, 2016. Images on Social Media showed streams of water cascading down the sides of the landmark rock. The park has since re-opened.

Elsewhere in the Northern Territory, the Walungurru district recorded 231.6 mm of rain in 24 hours between 25 and 26 December, cutting off roads and washing out tracks. The previous highest daily rainfall record was 127.2 mm set in March 2006.

Floods in Kintore, Northern Territory, Australia, December 2016. Photo: Northern Territory Police

More rain fell during the evening of 26 December. Northern Territory Police Superintendent Pauline Vicary said between 12.30pm, Sunday 25 December and 8.30am, Monday 26 December, it is estimated that around 398 mm of rain fell in Kintore.

Police say that 96 people were evacuated from their homes in Kintore and stayed in temporary accommodation at the local school. Around 25 homes have been damaged in the town.

Superintendent Vicary added, “Water levels reached one metre and was fast flowing in parts, however it has now receded.

“A number of roads in the area remain impassable, and it is advised that people avoid the area and make alternative travel arrangements if possible.

She added, “Assessments of the damage will be made to determine when it is safe for people to return to their homes, however this may take a couple of days to complete.”

Tourists’ Car Swept Away

Tourists feared to have been trapped in a car which washed off a causeway into the Hugh River, near Alice Springs, have been found safe, according to Northern Territory Police. A police statement said:

“Northern Territory Police and Emergency Services are pleased to report that the tourists reported missing in the Hugh River have been located. All are safe, with only minor injuries reported.

“One female and two male occupants of the vehicle are being transported to Alice Springs Hospital for assessment.

“Roads in the area remain impassable and police urge people to obey all signage regarding closed roads and to exercise extreme caution. If possible, please delay any travel in areas affected by floods.”

6 Still Missing

Meanwhile, local media are reporting that five adults and a baby are still missing two days after they left the remote West Australian community of Kiwirrkurra on their way to the Northern Territory.

The group of 6 are said to be traveling in 2 vehicles and set out on Christmas Day to reach Kintore but have not yet arrived. Local police and emergency services are carrying out searches for the missing group.

Update 28 December 2016:

The missing 6 were found by police and rescue teams on 28 December, 2016. Northern Territory police said:

“Northern Territory Police and Emergency Services are pleased to report that four of the people reported missing on the road between Kiwirrkurra and Kintore have been located safe and well.

They were rescued by a helicopter late yesterday afternoon.”

A search party later found the two still missing from the group. Police said both are currently at the Kintore clinic receiving medical treatment.

Police said “Many roads in the area remain impassable and police urge people to obey all signage regarding closed roads and to exercise extreme caution. If possible, please delay any travel in areas affected by floods.”

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Flood summary

Last updated: January 2, 2017
Event
Northern Territory, Australia, December 2016
Date
December 25 to December 28, 2016
Type
Inland flood
Cause
Extreme rainfall

Locations

A - Kintore
B - Uluru

Magnitude

Rainfall level
231.6 mm in 24 hours
Walungurru district - December 25 to December 26, 2016

Damages

Missing people
8 people
December 25 to December 29, 2016
Around 8 people were reported as missing in the floods. All those missing were later found, alive and safe.
Evacuated
96 people
Kintore - December 25 to December 29, 2016

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