Australia Weather alert as floodwaters threaten Carnarvon after Gascoyne River overflows

08:17  06 february  2021
08:17  06 february  2021 Source:   abc.net.au

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Rising floodwaters in Western Australia's Gascoyne region have inundated large parts of the mid-west with emergency services fortifying levees protecting central coast hub Carnarvon.

Emergency services have today issued severe weather and flood warnings for the Gascoyne region and are urging people to prepare for water across roads and properties.

An intense tropical weather system has dumped hundreds of millimetres of rain and caused the Gascoyne River to flood.

Yesterday, emergency services and private helicopter operators rescued about 40 people stranded in and around Minilya, about 120 kilometres north of Carnarvon, when water washed out large sections of road, leaving motorists stranded on rapidly shrinking islands.

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The Bureau of Meteorology says the region has experienced extreme rain in the past 24 hours, with 110mm recorded at Gascoyne Junction.

Department of Fire and Emergency Services Midwest-Gascoyne Superintendent Craig Smith said work was underway to reinforce a levee surrounding Carnarvon.

"The levee system in place is working," he said.

"We've also put up a temporary levee just as a safeguard."

Mr Smith said river levels were expected to rise this afternoon to about 7.1 metres.

He said locals should stay put and continue monitoring the situation but people could relocate if they had major concerns about the flood.

"There is an evacuation centre open in Carnarvon," he said.

WA Premier Mark McGowan urged people to remain vigilant about the weather risks.

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"This week has been like none other, with the bushfires, our lockdown, storms, and now this severe weather warning," Mr McGowan said.

"If you're going outside, please stay safe. If you're travelling on roads, please stay safe.

"If you're getting back to work or heading out to support our local businesses, stay safe and look out for one another."

Caravan park occupants evacuate

Local Kevin Barrett said he had to evacuate when his caravan park outside the town's levee was covered with a metre of water.

"There's water in buildings, in anything and everything that's in the park, and we're told there could be more coming," Mr Barrett.

He estimated the damage bill would be more than $1 million.

Carnarvon Shire President and mango grower Eddie Smith said it was not unusual for the area to flood after a tropical low in the north, but said it was exciting to receive rain as well as floods.

He said his plantation recorded 184mm of rain on Thursday night, almost reaching the property's average annual rainfall in one downpour.

"Right now I'm at home on our plantation and, I've got to say, this is the first time we've had a flood where it's raining as well," he said.

He said the flood was not expected to do any major damage and the wet weather was good news for local growers.

"The rain was extremely welcome. We desperately needed it," he said.

Horizon Power said the floods were disrupting electricity supplies across the region.

"South Plantations, North Plantations and East Carnarvon are likely to experience power outages for some time as a result of the current flood waters," a spokesperson said.

The company urged people not to move through flooded areas using watercraft, saying damage to electrical infrastructure could be dangerous.

WA regions to assess severe flood damage .
Authorities have cancelled a severe weather warning for Western Australia's southwest after a significant flood in the state's Mid West and Gascoyne regions.Heavy rain and flooding caused extensive damage over the weekend, with the Gascoyne River peaking at 7.1 metres near Carnarvon.

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