Days of heavy rain in northern Australia caused flooding in parts of Kimberley in the state of Western Australia (WA) and the town of Daly River, Northern Territory (NT) state, where over 300 people have been evacuated.
Some areas have recorded over 700 mm of rain in the last few days. During January, Broome in WA recorded its highest monthly rainfall on record with 942.2 mm.
Australia’s Bureau of Meteorology (BoM) said that the heavy rains were as a result of an active phase of the monsoon and a tropical low.
The highest weekly rainfall totals were observed in the Northern Territory, where many locations had falls in excess of 500 mm. Humpty Doo, a town in rural Darwin, and West Roebuck both received more than 700 mm during the last seven days. Broome and West Roebuck observed rainfall in excess of 400 mm on 30 January.
BOM added that “during the last few days, a tropical low has focused the heaviest rainfall on the western Top End of the Northern Territory and the western Kimberley region.”
“The low is forecast to track inland over coming days, moving further away from the open waters that provided its energy. As it does so, increasing amounts of dry air will infiltrate the system and it will steadily weaken,” BoM added.
The Kimberley town of Broome recorded 412.2 mm in 24 hours between 29 and 30 January, its second wettest day on record behind the 476.6 mm set in 1997.
The tropical low also brought string winds of 100 kph, with gusts of up to 125kph. Home and businesses have been flooded and more than 450 residents lost power, according to local media.
The Bureau of Meteorology said via Social Media, “Broome has recorded 697.2mm in the past 5 days which is the highest 5-day total on record going back to 1889. The previous highest 5-day total was 667.4mm in 1978. Broome also received their highest monthly rainfall on record with 942.2mm!”
Emergency WA has warned residents in several areas of Kimberley, including Sandy Desert, West Kimberly and Fitzroy River catchments of possible flooding over the coming days.
Yes – that's a road … And this is a truck! Broome is dealing with a flood emergency. The town is underwater after a tropical low brought strong winds and dumped more than 400mm of rain. See the pictures in Seven News at 4 and 6pm (Video: James Weeding) #7News @7NewsPerth pic.twitter.com/fDIPow8cvY
— 7 News Perth (@7NewsPerth) January 30, 2018
Windy and heavy rain in Broome. Over the last 21 hours #Broome has recorded 395.2mm and is approaching its daily record of 476.6mm. Refer the Severe Weather Warning for details https://t.co/QF3c8g5vC5 pic.twitter.com/PLNNXO5F70
— Bureau of Meteorology, Western Australia (@BOM_WA) January 29, 2018
Broome has recorded 697.2mm in the past 5 days which is the highest 5-day total on record going back to 1889. The previous highest 5-day total was 667.4mm in 1978. Broome also received their highest monthly rainfall on record with 942.2mm! Photos: Dave Murray (Broome observer) pic.twitter.com/MOmfWlowv1
— Bureau of Meteorology, Western Australia (@BOM_WA) January 31, 2018
In Northern Territory, the Daly River overflowed affecting parts of the town of the same name.
The area recorded 252 mm of rain in 24 hours to 30 January, and about 500mm of rain over three days. As of early 31 January local time, the Daly River stood at 17.52 metres, over 3.5 metres above major flood stage.
“The current advice from the Bureau of Meteorology is that the Daly River has reached major flood levels and will remain above major for some time” Northern Region Emergency Controller, Assistant Commissioner Matthew Hollamby said on 30 January.
“The community has been on stand-by for evacuation as part of the Daly River Emergency Plan since last Friday. The bulk of the community is being evacuated today (30 January). There are approximately 380 people (some have already self-evacuated) in the community who are expected to be evacuated using helicopter before being driven by bus to the Foskey Pavilion in Darwin”, the Assistant Commissioner said.
He added, “The Northern Region Emergency Committee teams have been working 24/7 to ensure the safe evacuation of the community.”
Schools have been closed and there is a boil alert for those residents remaining in the area.
B - Daly River
Broome, WA - January 29 to January 30, 2018
West Roebuck, WA - January 29 to January 30, 2018
Daly River Police Station, NT - January 29 to January 30, 2018
Daly River at Daly River, NT - January 31 to January 31, 2018
Flood levels: Minor: 12.60 Moderate: 13.10 Major: 14.00
Daly River - January 28 to January 30, 2018