Floods in Western Australia

Heavy rain in Western Australia left several people missing in flooded areas in the Kimberley. All have since been rescued, although further rainfall is forecast and more flooding likely.

Forecasters say a tropical low is forming just off the coast of Western Australia which is expected to bring heavy rainfall over the weekend.

Western Australia has already seen several days of heavy rain, and levels of local rivers and steams are high. Over a 24 hour period between 22 and 23 January, the Goldfields area saw up to 130mm of rain, and between 40mm and 60mm across the region. The mean rainfall in January for Kalgoorlie-Boulder is just 24mm. The city has seen over 100mm in the past 24 hours. Two days ago heavy rain in the Fitzroy Crossing River catchment caused the Great Northern Highway to flood, leaving drivers unable to continue their journeys.

western australia floods
Flooded roads in Kambalda, WA. Photo courtesy WA Today / Susan Schultz

The forecast of heavy rain for the weekend has prompted the local authorities to issue safety warnings, especially to those communities in Laverton, Leonora, Leinster, Menzies, Kalgoorlie and Coolgardie.

The Department of Fire and Emergency Services (DFES) said that “There is a possible threat to lives and homes due to rising water levels in local rivers and streams,”
“Water will be fast flowing and levels will rise quickly.”

Meanwhile, seven adults and eight children who had been missing in a flooded area of Western Australia are now safe after a successful search and rescue operation. The group became stranded in floods after they had left Wiluna in the Kimberley on Tuesday 21 January 2014.

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Sources: News Australia; WA Today