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Rain lashes the Pilbara as Peta moves inland

Gian De Poloni, Thursday January 24, 2013 - 13:08 EDT
Audience submitted image
Rain from Cyclone Peta has closed the North West Coastal Highway. - Audience submitted

Heavy rain from ex-tropical Cyclone Peta has caused flooding in some areas of the Pilbara.

Forecasters say the category one system hit the coast, east of Point Samson about 35 kilometres east of Karratha, yesterday afternoon.

Flooding was reported in Port Hedland, which received more than 100 millimetres of rain on Tuesday night and 34 millimetres in the last 24 hours.

Mount Florence Station, about 150 kilometres north of Tom Price, recorded 212 millimetres of rain overnight, while Roebourne airport received more than 80 millimetres.

The system is now a tropical low moving across inland areas and will move slowly westward as it weakens.

A cyclone watch has been cancelled, however, a severe weather warning is in place for most parts of the Pilbara today.

Thunderstorms and heavy rain are expected which may lead to flash flooding.

Debbie was at the local caravan park in Point Samson when the cyclone hit.

"It just bucketed down endlessly, it just didn't stop, it was just coming down," she said.

"All the residents did a strap down of their caravans and they all went and communed inside the rec centre."

Tony Richardson from Mount Florence Station says it has not stopped raining since yesterday afternoon.

"We've got a creek that would be the highest it's been in 10 or 11 years," he said.

"It came right up to the veranda.

"We were watching it as it was coming down the coast and we thought it was going to continue down the coast.

"We expected a storm or two but we didn't think it would come this way, no."

Rescue

Meanwhile, four Rio Tinto workers were winched to safety this morning after the vehicle they were travelling in became bogged in the Pilbara.

The four employees are believed to be contracted under the Calibre Group.

They were near the Ti Tree Rail camp in the Fortescue Valley, about 75 kilometres south of Tom Price, where they became bogged on a bush track near a flooded river bed last night.

The group was flown by helicopter to Newman Hospital this morning.

A 160 kilometre stretch of the North West Coastal Highway remains closed between Roebourne and the Great Northern Highway turn-off, 40 kilometres east of Port Hedland.

The Dampier port is expected to re-open today while Port Hedland's port opened yesterday afternoon.


- ABC

© ABC 2013

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