Authorities have warned monsoonal flooding is likely to become more widespread across Australia’s Northern Territory (NT) after rural communities were cut off.
More than 200 mm of rain has fallen across the NT over the past week, with more expected to come as an active monsoon trough produces thunderstorms.
More than 20 river catchments have been impacted by the heavy rains and several have broken their banks, flooding roads and isolating outback communities.
The Bureau of Meteorology (BoM) has issued a moderate flood warning for the Daly River and a severe weather warning for damaging winds and heavy rainfall in six districts.
“Through the Daly River catchment, we’ve definitely seen widespread falls of around 200 to 300 millimeters in the last week,” senior meteorologist Billy Lynch was quoted by the Australian Broadcasting Corporation as saying.
“Rainfall is generally easing, but there’s a lot of water flowing through the Daly River system at the moment, so rivers are rising.”
The NT government on Sunday said it was planning food drops for communities that have been cut off.
In Woodycupaldiya, an outstation in the West Daly region, 16 adults and 15 children have been left without access to food and medical supplies.
Further south in Timber Creek the storms have exacerbated damage caused by ex-Tropical Cyclone Ellie in December.
The cyclone hit the town on Dec. 23, causing significant damage to homes and critical infrastructure.
Jack Horgan, a member of the Ngaliwurru-Wuli Aboriginal Corporation in Timber Creek, said the town had just returned to normality.
“We’ve only just recovered from that lot, and now there’s another lot which looks to be – depending on what the Bureau is saying – just as bad, if not worse,” he said. ■