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Flooding closes two major highways and number of roads stranding drivers in WA's Pilbara and Goldfields

By Ebonnie Spriggs and Rebecca Curtin, Wednesday January 22, 2014 - 17:44 EDT
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Roads in the Pilbara and Goldfields are closed due to flooding (file). - Audience submitted

Drivers in WA's north are stranded due to flooding which has closed two major highways as well as a number of other roads.

A tropical low is dumping heavy rain across parts of the Goldfields and Pilbara, and flash flooding warnings are in place.

The Goldfields Highway between Wiluna and Meekatharra has been closed, as well as the Great Northern Highway from Meekatharra to Newman.

Daryl Everett from the Kumarina Roadhouse, about half way between Meekatharra and Newman on the Great Northern Highway, says a number of travellers are stranded there.

"It's a full house at the moment, contractors, some visitors, a few truckies, it's a mix," he said.

"We have plenty of food and stuff.

"It was busy last night catering for everyone but everyone handled it okay.

"We gave them rooms, those that didn't have rooms we gave them power for their fridges and some slept in the car, they all had plenty to eat."

Main Roads spokesman Chris Martin says more rain is forecast.

"We've been keeping an eye on the weather forecast and advice from the Department of Fire and Emergency Services," he said.

"Over the next few days there's quite a lot of heavy rain forecast for the Goldfields.

"We're going to continue to monitor the situation and advise people as things change."

For up to date information on road closures go to the site.

Mr Martin says drivers should take care.

"It can be quite dangerous," he said.

"We would advise people to delay any non-essential travel. If it is raining heavily and you cannot see, please pull over.

"If you do see a body of water over the road and you're unsure of the depth, we'd advise you not to drive into it."

Water as far as the eye can see

The homestead at Mingah Springs Station, about 180 kilometres north of Meekatharra, has been flooded.

The station's Tracy Elliot says they recorded about 183 millimetres of rain up until about 5:30am but the gauge is now underwater.

"The rain gauge is gone, so god knows what we have had," she said.

"Last time I looked the gauge was about eight inches under water.

"It came up, it went right through the main house, it has gone through everything, all the verandas, the bedrooms, the lounge room, bathroom and it was lapping the kitchen door but luckily it didn't come in.

"All the feed shed, the workshop, all the vehicles, everything has had a good drink.

"All the damage is done, even if it goes down now really really quick, it has done the damage."

Mrs Elliot has been at the station for 24 years and says she has never seen the flooding this high before.

She says there is water everywhere you look.

"The lawns they've gone under, the garden has gone right under, everything had gone under and it's still under at the moment," she said.

"Everyone is doing fine, we are in no danger of getting washed away unless there's more coming down."

Mrs Elliot says they have not been able to assess their stock at this stage.

"I would imagine some of the old cows are a bit light, we could lose some cattle," she said.

"The horses, hopefully they'll be fine. We have three horses here at the house, they look a bit wet and soggy.

"The pet kangaroo, I had to pick him up and put him in on the veranda because he was getting a bit waterlogged, but generally everything is fine.

"I did have three geese but last I saw them they were heading down the creek, so whether we see them again I don't know.

"The good thing is no doubt there'll be some green grass at the end of it all and hopefully some fat cattle, that's what we wanted.

"We asked for rain and we got it, a bit more than we bargained for, but anyway it will be all nice no doubt at the end of it when we clean the mess up."


© ABC 2014

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