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NT Chief Minister Michael Gunner visits flooded Daly River, says residents may return on Sunday

Monday February 5, 2018 - 19:57 EDT
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Chief Minister Michael Gunner visits the flood affected community of Daly River. - ABC

More than half the houses in the Top End's Daly River community have been damaged after the region was inundated by floodwaters, forcing most of the community's residents to evacuate.

Northern Territory Chief Minister Michael Gunner visited the community on Monday, surveying the damage from the air and by boat.

"[There's] not too much high ground out there, even with the water having dropped a metre," Mr Gunner said.

"About 46 per cent of houses weren't damaged by the floods — which is good news — and there's mild and moderate damage through a number of the others."

Mr Gunner said there was hope some of the Daly River residents, who were , could return on Sunday.

"There is a chance we might be able to get some people back out to community on Sunday, into those homes that are unaffected," the Chief Minister said.

"What has been very helpful is the store [and] the health clinic — those places are essentially going to be operable from day one, so those main community areas are up and about, that's very, very important.

"The power's OK, the sewerage is OK; there are two cracked water pipes that we think we can fix today."

Power supply to the community was operational, but some homes may need electricians to restore power if water had risen above electricity sockets.

Despite being displaced for the past week in Darwin, the evacuees remained in a positive state of mind, Mr Gunner said.

"Spirits are up, it's positive, we've obviously made those schools available — St John's and Nightcliff Middle, [but] everyone always prefers to be home," he said.

Crocodile spotted in floodwaters

Water quality was being closely monitored by authorities, as were other possible dangers lurking in the floodwaters.

"We are keeping an eye out for crocs, obviously the water has encroached on the town. There is a croc trap out there," Mr Gunner said.

"Emergency services have seen a crocodile in the community, so we are keeping a close eye on that.

"Obviously when you see how high the floodwaters are, crocs are just something you have to be careful of and if you can't see them, it doesn't mean they can't see you."

More rain ahead, very low chance of cyclone

The Bureau of Meteorology (BOM) said Top End residents should prepare for another week of heavy rainfall and storms, with a very low chance of a cyclone forming within a few days.

The monsoon burst had subsided, with the current bout of wild weather brought by a trough travelling northward from the base of the Top End.

"The whole atmosphere over the Top End is fairly unstable so we're just going to see those showers and storms popping up, with a little bit of heating," forecaster Sally Cutter said

"We got the possibility of some more squall lines this week."

Weekly rainfall totals of 100 to 200 millimetres, with 30 to 50 millimetres per day, were expected.

"It's very unlikely we're going to see another major monsoonal event like we saw a couple of weeks ago [and] this event is going to be, whilst a little bit wet, iT Is going to be mainly showers and storms," Ms Cutter said.

"With the ground being so saturated any of this rain could potentially cause the rivers to rise, so we are keeping a very close eye on the rivers across the Top End."

The BOM said there was a chance a weak tropical low would form within the trough near the northern coastline in the next couple of days.

It is not expected to spend time over water, the bureau said, which meant there was a very low chance of a tropical cyclone forming within the next few days.

"The chances of anything significant forming in the trough is quite low, there are hints that there will be something there but we're expecting it to have minimal impact, [and] not bringing large amounts of rain," Ms Cutter said.


© ABC 2018

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