Recovery will begin as floodwaters rise in the Kimberley region



Damage assessment crews swoop into the remote Western Australian desert town of Fitzroy Crossing as catastrophic floodwaters recede.

Authorities have evacuated or relocated 233 people from the area and answered 54 calls for help.

In places, the flooded Fitzroy River, which flows across the North Kimberley, is 31 miles (50 km) wide.

Fire and Emergency Services Commissioner Darren Klemm said he had never seen anything like it.

“Every picture you see doesn’t do the scale of it justice,” he told reporters on Sunday.

Fitzroy Crossing and the small indigenous community of Noonkanbah were devastated after the river reached a record high of 15.81 meters last week.

Emergency services minister Stephen Dawson likened Fitzroy Crossing airport to Heathrow as flights carried precious supplies.

ALSO READ  Emergency warnings as monsoon hits Queensland's north coast

The runway had only just reopened on Saturday after being closed by flooding, allowing authorities to fly in some 3,000 kilograms of food and supplies.

“To everyone in Western Australia right now, please take care of your family members,” Dawson said.

The Australian Defense Force is also working to support cities in the region where record-breaking flooding persists.

Floodwater in Willare and Pandanus Park is expected to peak in the next 24 hours as the water moves west, but stormwater is declining across the watershed.

To the east, people in the Tanami Desert and Sturt Creek district watersheds, including those in the Kiwirrkurra community, are being warned to prepare for possible minor flooding expected through Sunday.

Meanwhile, flooding concerns in the Top End have eased as the intensity of former Tropical Cyclone Ellie has finally eased over the southwestern Northern Territory.

ALSO READ  Indian court rules on Cordingley suspect

A series of previous severe weather warnings for remote communities in Simpson, Lasseter and Tanami counties were canceled by authorities on Sunday morning.

The region had braced for impact as Ellie returned to the NT after wreaking havoc in Western Australia.

“Ex-tropical cyclone Ellie has finally weakened over southwestern parts of the NT,” the Bureau of Meteorology said.

“There is no more bad weather in the Northern Territory. Thunderstorms in the Simpson precinct later in the day may bring isolated heavy rainfall and if this occurs a severe thunderstorm warning will be issued.”

ALSO READ  Fugitive found hidden in yacht hull

Although the immediate threat has passed, the situation will continue to be monitored.

Queensland authorities say severe thunderstorms and heavy rain are possible for the north and west of the state on Sunday.

The communities of Palmerville, Georgetown, Mount Isa, Cloncurry, Urandangi and Boulia are all in the line of fire.

Residents in the far west of New South Wales are also being warned that the Darling River has yet to peak.

The town of Menindee is already under water, but the river could rise to more than 10.7 meters in the coming days, exceeding the record set in 1976.