WA floods: record rain cuts road and rail links to Western Australia through the Nullarbor

Flooding at Rawlinna Station, Western Australia [1]

WA floods: record rain cuts road and rail links to Western Australia through the Nullarbor

Parts of Goldfields, Eucla and South Interior hit with six months' rain in 24 hours, with severe weather forecast for coming days

Heavy rain and flooding has cut off road and rail links into Western Australia[6].

The Eyre Highway has been closed since the weekend and is likely to remain out of operation for several days.

The Trans-Australian Railway line has also been affected, with key freight routes running between WA and South Australia through the Nullarbor closed amid the rain.

Extreme heatwave gripping south-east Australia expected to give way to cool change
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  • Flooding had affected large parts of the Eastern Goldfields, the central parts of the Eucla districts and much of the interior region around there, with many communities affected.

    The rain came after a cold front moved across the south-west of WA on Saturday, and it brought significant moisture from the tropics to the eastern goldfields and interior of the state.

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    WA's Department of Fire and Emergency Services issued a warning to residents in Carnegie, Rawlinna, Cocklebiddy and Eyre to seek shelter, stand clear of windows and refrain from driving through flood waters.

    "This is not typical weather for south-eastern Western Australia," DFES said.

    "If you live in parts of the Goldfields, Eucla and South Interior districts you should take action and stay safe with severe weather to come."

    The DFES deputy assistant commissioner, Gary Gifford, told ABC Regional Drive the highway was expected to remain closed until the end of the week.

    "With the forecast which the [Bureau of Meteorology] has provided us with regard to the unprecedented weather which is coming through the southern interior at the moment, we're certainly planning towards three and five days at this point of view."

    The BoM senior meteorologist Joey Rawson said records had been "smashed" amid the downfall.

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    "We've just seen consecutive days of significant rainfall through that area.

    The 141mm that we had on Sunday just smashed any previous record at Eyre."

    Rawson said the previous record at Eyre, just south of Madura, was 81.2mm, which was recorded in 2011.

    "This is an unprecedented event of heavy rainfall, and it is due to continue as well, we could see another 100mm in that area over the next 24 hours."

    Craig Chandler saves the Rawlinna Station chickens from the rising water[10]

    Rawson said this was a "unique weather event" with many of the communities there rarely facing flooding this severe.

    "The highway hasn't been closed, completely closed, for a long time," he said.

    "Usually they still allow transport trucks to go through if there's a smoke event, but it hasn't been completely closed for many years."

    While it was uncertain how long the flooding would remain, the rain was due to ease later in the week, with the rain band expected to move on by Thursday or Friday.

    Meanwhile, Christmas Island could be facing a tropical cyclone in the coming days, as a tropical low in the Indian Ocean tracks closer to the Pilbara.

    The low is expected to develop into a cyclone later this week, with the possibility it will bring gale force winds to Christmas Island as it passes.

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