20/12/2010 More on the Carnarvon Floods Midday Update

Time of issue: 10.15am
Date of issue: 20 December 2010

Take action now for flooding in Carnarvon today  People in Carnarvon need to take action now for flooding today.  There is a possible threat to lives and homes.  As at 8am the Bureau of Meteorology advised major flooding in the Gascoyne River continues.  Current levels at Nine Mile Bridge are fluctuating around 7.75 metres, with levels at Fishy Pool falling approximately 9 metres in the past 18 hours.

Levels are still expected to recede very slowly throughout the remainder of today.  Stream rises and localised flooding will continue in the upper and middle areas of the Murchison River catchment.

THIS MEANS:

  • North West Coastal Highway at Geraldton turnoff is flooded.
  • South River Road is flooded.
  • East Carnarvon road is flooded.
  • Water is flowing out of Nickol Bay Flats.
  • Carnarvon is isolated by road.
  • McGlade Road is flooded.
  • Gascoyne River bridge is closed, isolating people on the north bank of the river.
  • North River Road is flooded approximately 1 kilometre west of plantation crossing.
  • Gullys have overflowed through assessments 110 and 113.
  • Lewers Island is isolated.
  • The plantation areas to the east of Carnarvon are flooded.


RELOCATION POINT:
A relocation point has been set up at the Carnarvon Civic Centre on the Corner of Camel Lane and Robinson Street, Carnarvon.  More than 180 people have taken advantage of the relocation centre.

WHAT TO DO:
FESA’s State Emergency Service (SES) has these tips to help you and your family stay safe:

  • Watch for changes in water levels so you are ready if you need to relocate.
  • Ensure your relocation kit, including your emergency kit, is complete.
  • Relocate equipment and livestock so they do not get caught in floodwaters.
  • Prepare pet food or stockfeed in case you cannot return home for a few days.
  • Advise other people of your relocation plan, including where you are going.
  • Make sure everyone in your family is wearing strong shoes and suitable clothing.
  • Relocate vehicles to safe higher ground.
  • Secure loose objects and outdoor equipment.
  • Move chemicals and poisons somewhere high and safe.
  • Some roads may be flooded and impassable, so obey road closure signs and do not drive into water of unknown depth and current.
  • Never walk, swim or play in floodwaters, they are dangerous.
  • Do not go near storm drains and pipes, ditches or ravines.
  • If you are a traveller do not park or camp in a dry river crossing.
  • Make sure your neighbours have received this warning.
  • Follow the directions of emergency services personnel.


WHAT SES VOLUNTEERS ARE DOING:
Thirty SES volunteers from Carnarvon, Geraldton, Kalbarri and Morawa have been assisting the community prepare for the floods.   Last night they carried out sandbagging in Claris Street and used their new floodboat to assist people stranded in isolated areas and relocate Capricorn Caravan Park residents.  They are being supported by Carnarvon Volunteer Fire and Rescue Service firefighters and emergency services personnel from WA Police, Shire of Carnarvon, and Department of Child Protection.  

Western Power, Water Corporation and Main Roads WA are working with community to maintain services.

Today a helicopter was dispatched to Boolardy Station to check on the welfare of people.

ROAD CLOSURES:
A number of roads have been closed including:

  • North West Coastal Highway between the Shark Bay turn off, at Overlander and the Manilya Roadhouse.
  • Robinson Street from North West Coastal Highway to the Boundary Road intersection.


For current road conditions visit www.mainroads.wa.gov.au, call 138 138 or contact your local Shire office.

IMPORTANT NUMBERS:
For SES assistance call 132 500.
In a life threatening situation call 000.
If you are concerned about the location of family and friends in the area call the Red Cross State Inquiry Line on 1800 015 337.
 
KEEP UP TO DATE:
Call 1300 657 209, visit www.fesa.wa.gov.au or listen to news bulletins.
For the latest weather information, visit www.bom.gov.au or call 1300 659 210.

8.00am Report

More than 30 people have been plucked from rooftops in communities isolated by the worst flooding in 50 years on Gascoyne River near Carnarvon in Western Australia.  Carnarvon, about 900km north of Perth and at the mouth of the Gascoyne River, is gripped by its worst flood since 1960.  Residents were warned on Saturday to evacuate as heavy rain pounded the region overnight.

An evacuation point was set up at the Carnarvon Civic Centre where about 80 people stayed overnight.  On Sunday, Fire and Emergency Services Authority (FESA) spokesman Les Hayter said the river level at Nine Mile Bridge had reached 7.64 metres and was expected to peak at or slightly above that level on Sunday evening.

He said 30 people stuck on rooftops at Gascoyne Junction, about 170km inland from Carnarvon, and six more at Meka station, were flown by helicopter to Carnarvon. Most will be housed overnight at the civic centre, he said.  The river is now nearing its peak, Mr Hayter said. Things are looking pretty good at the moment,he said.  "We think the river will peak sometime this evening.

"Tomorrow, we will be looking to resupply food and water for people who have been isolated.  "We're hoping we can move towards some sort of recovery.  Stream rises and localised flooding will also continue in the upper and middle areas of the Murchison River catchment.  Shire president Dudley Maslen said it was the worst flood he had ever seen - "a record flood, much bigger than the 1960 flood that was 7.61m deep''.  "This flood has been about 7.7m for some time the hotel roof is only just peaking out of the water.  Mr Maslen said homesteads that had never had much rain at all were a metre deep in water.

"People are sitting on their roofs. You just don't think that will happen, it's something you see in cartoons, not real life,'' he said.  Mr Maslen said there would be "substantial losses to crops in the region, including mangoes and melons.  "There are also vegies that are covered in mildew and mud so they will have to be thrown out too,'' he said.  "It's going to be a lot of personal cost for everyone. It will be millions of dollars.  Parts of North West Coastal Highway between the Shark Bay turn-off at Overlander and the Minilya Roadhouse remain closed.

 

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