Weather News

WA banana plantations flattened, following Tropical Cyclone Olwyn's passage through Carnarvon

Lucie Bell, Saturday March 14, 2015 - 19:11 EDT
ABC image
Tropical Cyclone Olwyn has decimated many banana plantations in Carnarvon, WA - ABC

Tropical Cyclone Olwyn has flattened banana crops in the West Australian horticultural town of Carnarvon.

Growers in the region had recently been celebrating the arrival of a , after a prolonged dry spell, but now they have a new challenge.

Olwyn brought destructive winds of 150 kilometres an hour and wind gusts of up to 205 kilometres per hour on Friday, March 13.

Sweeter Banana Co-operative business manager Doriana Mangili said winds of that strength simply shred banana trees.

"We've had reports from one of our growers that their bananas have all been flattened," she said.

"It's not looking good, our growers have a lot of young bananas trees in.

"We'll have to assess it over the next few days."

Ms Mangili said the trees were also at risk, because their roots were relatively shallow.

"Given we had quite significant amounts of rain, before those strong winds started, it just loosened up the soil," she said.

"This is the first time Carnarvon has been hit by a cyclone in a very long time.

"It's a big disappointment and a lot of people will be looking around and wondering what to do next."

Meanwhile, the Gascoyne River, which has been flowing for a little over a week, peaked at 4.21 metres under Carnarvon's Nine Mile Bridge on Thursday, March 12.

Figures issued by the Department of Water on Saturday, March 14 indicated "no significant rainfall occurred over the Gascoyne River catchment" during Cyclone Olwyn's passage.

As such, water levels of all Gascoyne gauging stations are reported to be continuing to fall.

For the latest on Tropical Cyclone Olwyn, visit the or the .

Northern pastoralists assess damage in Olwyn's wake

Cyclone Olwyn has left trees uprooted and buildings damaged in her wake, after passing the Pilbara towns of Onslow and Exmouth overnight.

For Edwina Shallcross at Bullara Station, 86 kilometres south of Exmouth, first light revealed significant damage.

"It was a pretty rough night," she said.

"It was really roaring between midnight and 4am, all the walls were shaking.

"We woke up to a train wreck, there is tin and roof debris that have all blown off the buildings and the bathroom has blown away."

Further north Minderoo Station, near Onslow, received 97mm of rain overnight.

Manager Ben Wratten was preparing to assess damage today.

"It got quite wild around 2am, but there is no damage to any of the structures, although lots of trees are down," he said.

"It's been terribly dry and this has definitely put us on track for a reasonable start to the season."


© ABC 2015

More breaking news

Sydney Morning Herald
ABC News

Display Your Local Weather

Weather News

Wide Bay Burnett remains desperately dry despite La NiƱa drenching much of Australia

20:49 EST

It is a map that tells an encouraging story for most of Australia but a cruel tale for an unlucky few.

Tropical Cyclone Seroja makes landfall, weakens to category two system

18:48 EST

The destructive core of Tropical Cyclone Seroja is moving inland north of Geraldton after wind gusts of up to 170 kph were reported during landfall.

Get a sneak peak into the new Weatherzone Beta website experience while we continue to build out its full functionality.
Explore new datasets, map layers, 7-day charts, 12-month trends and much more!