More wild weather in the pipeline

Sophia ConstantineNorth West Telegraph
Tyron Carlton, 1, Chad Winton, 11, Lataih Ward, 4, and Chimera Winton, 8.
Camera IconTyron Carlton, 1, Chad Winton, 11, Lataih Ward, 4, and Chimera Winton, 8. Credit: Tom Zaunmayr.

Despite last week’s fizzer, cyclone experts are warning Pilbara residents not become complacent as the season is still set to be “above average” for wild weather.

Port Hedland received 92mm of rain last month, well above the 11.6mm for January 2016, and only 20mm short of the bumper wet season total in January 2014.

Karratha was even wetter, with 130.4mm of rainfall last month — the largest amount for the past three years and well above the town’s mean of 47.2mm over the three years since 2014.

Bureau of Meteorology spokesman Neil Bennett said weather forecasters were still expecting the season to be above average for rainfall from January to March.

“It has certainly been a very wet season in the northern Kimberley,” he said. “It is fairly safe to say it is likely (the season) will be average or above for many parts.”

According to the bureau, the average rainfall record for February to April for Port Hedland is 156mm and Karratha is 106mm for the same period.

Last week, areas in the North West, including Karratha and Port Hedland, went on to blue alert as weather forecasters monitored a tropical low off the WA coast.

Port Hedland police station Senior Sergeant Jayd Morawski said residents had behaved well during the alert period.

“It’s great for us to test our response capability,” he said of the cyclone failing to eventuate last week. “We have got a tight relationship with service crews in the area.”

The Department of Fire and Emergency services lifted the alert on Sunday.

DFES Pilbara district officer Paul Leiper said residents acted responsibility and the service received few requests for aid from the community.

But he said they had received two separate requests from incidents in the De Grey river catchment the previous week. He said one involved a family of three who became bogged after camping overnight and needed assistance, and the other involved a lone man who became bogged.

Mr Leiper advised residents to maintain their vigilance throughout the season.

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