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Northern Territory's Barkly region prepares for tropical low from Cyclone Trevor

By Katrina Beavan, Emily Smith and Thea Halpin, Sunday March 24, 2019 - 18:01 EDT
ABC image
One-year-old Rekiara from Tennant Creek enjoys a rare bout of rain. - ABC

Rekiara had hardly seen a drop of rain in her young life before today.



The one-year-old lives near the small outback community of .

But since 4:00am it has received steady showers, with local resident Mike Nash finding 17mm in his rain gauge when he checked this morning.

In the next 24 hours the town is set to receive between 40 and 70 mm, as moves across the region.

Other parts of the Northern Territory's outback Barkly region could see up to 200mm, with more significant weather heading towards the east and closer to the Queensland-NT border.

According to SecureNT, there will still be a threat of flash flooding tonight and tomorrow.

But despite early preparations, Mr Nash said left them without vital information.

"We've got unknown rain falling in the Barkly and no-one knows who can get through and who can't," he said.

"There's a lot of people trying to get cattle out and its hopeless at the moment without ringing around, and even the phones don't work sometimes.

"It's painful, very painful."



He said despite campaigning from residents and the local council, there was still no indication when, or if, the town might see its weather radar reinstated, after it was cut off two years ago.



The Bureau of Meteorology has been contacted for comment.

A number of residents were evacuated from at-risk communities and outstations during Friday and Saturday and are now staying at an evacuation centre at Tennant Creek High School.

Darren Brampton, teaching-principal at Wogyala school, said the evacuated students would still be attending school tomorrow, with a makeshift classroom to be set up.

"Not quite sure where we're having it yet, but our kids are here so we'll be picking them up," he said.

Despite being evacuated with the rest of the community, Mr Brampton had been keeping an eye on the weather in Wogyala via a smartphone app that is attached to his own weather station.

He said the rain fall overnight had more than doubled their total rainfall since the start of the year — hitting 19mm as of about midday.

"It's been pretty dry so it's nice to have a bit of rain," he said.

"But at this point I don't think it is as much as we thought we were going to get."



Residents urged to make way to shelter now

Another evacuation centre has now been set up at the Tennant Creek Civic Hall, for Tennant Creek residents who do not have adequate shelter.

Those who are still considering moving there are urged to do so quickly.

"We urge those who are considering to seek shelter to make their way to the shelter now prior to the weather deteriorating further," said Regional Controller, Acting Assistant Commissioner Michael Hebb



"It is important people who seek shelter are aware that they need to bring their own provisions, including food and bedding, and that substances including all drugs and alcohol — are strictly prohibited in emergency shelters."

Evacuees should bring with them: food to last 24 hours, one bag per person, identification, Medicare card, bank account details, medication, clothing, towels, toiletries, nappies or formula and sheets and pillows.

Animals are not allowed in the emergency shelter, and owners should ensure pets are in a secure environment with enough food and water for five days.

It is predicted that the tropical low over the Barkly region will shift its focus toward the north-east Simpson district within the next 24 hours.

Alice Springs remains on the edge of the system, and at this time there is a 60 per cent chance of rainfall, with no expectation of significant rain in the Todd River catchment area.

For continuing updates, stay listening to local radio and check the Bureau of Meteorology and Secure NT websites and social media pages.


- ABC

© ABC 2019

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