Flood damage bill mounts

Ellie Honeybone and Gavin BoxMidwest Times
VideoA tropical low in WA's north has brought widespread flooding to parts of the Wheatbelt, including Carnamah.

A severe thunderstorm on Sunday afternoon dumped 66mm of rain on Carnamah, flooding the central drain system in the town and causing inundation in many buildings.

Shire chief executive Bill Atkinson said the town had received heavy rainfall just a week before and the ground was already saturated.

“The water was not being absorbed and after, the drain broke its banks. The police station, along with a number of retail premises, experienced water intrusion,” he said.

Flooded streets in Carnamah.
Camera IconFlooded streets in Carnamah. Credit: Tiffany Sutherland

“It receded pretty quickly but we now have a big clean-up on our hands.

“We had to close all gravel roads to vehicles over five tonne, road verges have eroded and debris has washed up.

“We haven’t seen such a severe weather event in 20 years.”

Water laps up at the entrance to the Carnamah IGA.
Camera IconWater laps up at the entrance to the Carnamah IGA. Credit: Stacey Pajich

Mount Magnet is counting the cost to roads and property after flash flooding of Baramia Creek about the same time Carnamah experienced its downpour.

Acting Mount Magnet Shire chief executive Eddie Piper said the Baramia Creek water level rose by more than a metre in about 40 minutes and up to 2m not long after heavy rains.

Mr Piper said one council-owned unit, used by a town doctor, had been substantially damaged and may possibly need to be razed.

Business as usual as this man does his shopping in Mount Magnet.
Camera IconBusiness as usual as this man does his shopping in Mount Magnet. Credit: John McKrill

“It came down that quickly, we just had no chance (to prepare),” he said.

“It started about 4.30pm, then the storms moved in and by 5.30pm it was like a tropical downpour.

“Some are suggesting we had about 20mm, but there could have been more.”

Mount Magnet flash flooding.
Camera IconMount Magnet flash flooding. Credit: John McKrill

John McKrill, whose house is about 100m from Baramia Creek, said the water in his backyard rose to about waist height.

“It was unreal, it was like a huge river,” he said.

“And yet today (Monday), it was virtually all gone.

Water rose to waist height in some parts of Mount Magnet.
Camera IconWater rose to waist height in some parts of Mount Magnet. Credit: John McKrill

“At its peak about 50 to 60 people had gathered outside to watch it.”

Mr Piper said Shire work crews would hand sweep dirt from roads for the next few days.

Several crossings have been affected by sand washaways.

Local kids play in the water outside the Carnamah Bowling Club.
Camera IconLocal kids play in the water outside the Carnamah Bowling Club. Credit: Supplied, Laura Kerr

The Shire works manager will start inspecting the gravel road network today.

“Who knows what impact it’s had on our bush gravel roads,” Mr Piper said.

He said depending on the damage, the Shire would seek State and Federal Government funding for road repairs.

Simon Brandenburg and Luke Risinger kayaking down the usually-dry creek that runs through Carnamah.
Camera IconSimon Brandenburg and Luke Risinger kayaking down the usually-dry creek that runs through Carnamah. Credit: Laura Kerr

Several years ago the Shire received Federal disaster recovery funding after a rain event damaged the road network.

There were no reports of severe storm damage in other Mid West shires.

The flooded creek running through Carnamah.
Camera IconThe flooded creek running through Carnamah. Credit: Supplied
Flash flooding in Carnamah.
Camera IconFlash flooding in Carnamah. Credit: Karen Isbister
Flash flooding in Carnamah.
Camera IconFlash flooding in Carnamah. Credit: Karen Isbister
A Carnamah street underwater.
Camera IconA Carnamah street underwater. Credit: Rory Najjar
A heavy downpour caused chaos in the streets of Carnamah.
Camera IconA heavy downpour caused chaos in the streets of Carnamah. Credit: Rory Najjar
VideoA tropical low in WA's north brought widespread flooding to many areas of the State, including the inland mining town of Mt Magent, 350km east of Geraldton

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