Home > Australia, Weather > Flood-hit town sees off Dianne but Carlos is on the horizon

Flood-hit town sees off Dianne but Carlos is on the horizon

February 20, 2011

HARD-HIT residents of Western Australia’s northern Gascoyne region are bracing for more floods after high river levels left a family stranded and crops damaged on the weekend.

At Carnarvon, 910km north of Perth, the river’s peak was among the highest ever recorded on Saturday because of rain from Cyclone Dianne.

This week, the town is expected to be affected by a re-formed Cyclone Carlos.

On Saturday, the Gascoyne River peaked at 7.1m, leaving one family with two small children stranded on its north side.

Fire and Emergency Services Authority media liaison officer Brian Halberg said the family had been evacuated by emergency workers and their home was undamaged by the floodwaters.

Flooding was much less severe than the town’s worst ever inundation, in December, and had not caused serious damage.

“It was nowhere near as bad . . . as in December,” when “the river was just under 8m at its peak” Mr Halberg said. The floodwaters were slowly draining away from banana and mango plantations around the town.

Banana plantation owner Tom Day said his crop was spared, but he knew of one grower with about 4ha of bananas under water.

Mr Day said the weekend floods were a “fair whack of difference” to those that swept the town just before Christmas.

In the December floods, 5m of water swept through his home and it was still being repaired and was unliveable. He also lost about 40 per cent of his banana crop.

“I’ve got nowhere near the damage as last time,” he said.

The 70-year-old, a Carnarvon resident all his life, said the town was regularly battered by bad weather, but complete crop losses were rare.

“It goes in cycles. For two years we virtually had no rain. We were getting extremely short on water.

“Now we’ve got more water than you can poke a stick at. It’s not the first time drought has been broken by a flood,” he said.

Shire of Carnarvon President Dudley Maslen said the river peak on Saturday was the fourth highest recorded. Some roads were still inundated but there had been very little infrastructure damage and residents were breathing a sigh of relief.

“We’ve had a lucky escape,” he said. The town was now preparing for the impact of more severe weather from Cyclone Carlos, which could hit as early as Wednesday.

Carlos is expected to re-form into a cyclone off the west Kimberley coast today and Mr Maslen said it was unclear how much impact it would have on Carnarvon.

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