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Bureau of Meteorology NT issues severe weather warnings for the Top End as tropical low moves east

By Mitchell Abram, Tuesday December 28, 2021 - 03:49 AEDT
ABC image
The low is bringing wet and windy conditions to large parts of the Top End. - ABC

Severe weather is expected to continue across eastern parts of the Top End on Tuesday, as a tropical low continues moving over the region towards the Gulf of Carpentaria. 


The Bureau of Meteorology NT (BOM NT) has issued a severe weather warning for eastern parts of the Daly District, Tiwi, Arnhem, and Carpentaria districts.


The tropical low is the same one that was expected to become a tropical cyclone on Boxing Day but didn't, and helped Darwin record its coldest Christmas Day on record.


BOM NT duty Forecaster Moses Raico said the low was currently located over the southern Arnhem District.


"It's expected to push further east later today, and maybe by tonight it could push into the Gulf of Carpentaria," he said.


An initial minor flood warning was issued for the Katherine River last night, while a warning for the Waterhouse River was upgraded to a moderate flood level on Tuesday morning.


A severe weather warning is also in place for coastal parts of the Arnhem and Carpentaria districts for abnormally high tides and damaging surf. 


Heavy rain, flooding expected in the east


The low has brought significant rainfall totals to inland parts of the Top End as it continues moving east. 


More than 100 millimetres fell across a large area in the Katherine region, including 170 millimetres at Seventeen Mile Creek and 120 millimetres at Beswick Bridge along the Waterhouse River.


The BOM NT has reported that there was minor flooding at the Beswick Bridge and that a moderate peak was expected later on Tuesday afternoon. 


Mr Raico said widespread rainfall over the Top End would likely lead to road closures across the region.


"The Beswick Bridge at this stage is covered at the moment, it's just gone over the road there," he said.


The Central Arnhem Road was closed on Tuesday due to flooding in the area.


The BOM NT has advised that water levels are still rising along the lower Katherine River.


However, flooding is no longer expected around the Katherine township after the river's water level peaked below the minor flood level overnight. 


Conditions easing in coming days


Mr Raico said as the low continued to move east, damaging rains and winds were expected to ease in western parts of the Top End on Tuesday. 


He also said that conditions would begin to ease in the remainder of the Top End on Wednesday.


"It's already starting to ease across the far-western Top End and probably extending east into tomorrow," he said.


"Generally rainfall and winds [are] easing over the Top End, but we still may see some coastal wind warnings continue."


According to BOM NT, along the Waterhouse River, showers and storms are possible for the next few days, but heavier falls there are also expected to ease during Wednesday. 


In low lying areas about the coast of the Gulf of Carpentaria abnormally high tides could cause ocean flooding  on Tuesday night, including in Alyangula, Numbulwar and Birany Birany.


Soggy conditions are also expected to continue in Queensland, with a slight chance of the same low intensifying into a cyclone once it enters the Gulf. 







- ABC

© ABC 2021

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