Record rainfall has forced the closure of parts of the Stuart and Eyre Highways, cutting off many outback towns, with SA’s Far North and Eyre Peninsula the worst hit.
A 370-kilometre section of the Stuart Highway between Coober Pedy and Pimba was closed as a result of torrential rain, leaving many truckies stranded at roadhouses.
The Stuart Highway has now reopened between Port Augusta and Pimba, however remains closed from Pimba to Coober Pedy.
Iron Knob Road, Eyre Highway, Birdseye Highway and numerous unsealed outback roads were also closed as a result of flooding.
SA Infrastructure and Transport reports that Lincoln Highway, the Outback Highway south of Lyndhurst, Arno Bay Road between Cleve and Arno Bay, and Eyre Highway from the Tanks (Lincoln Gap) to Kyancutta have now reopened.
Manager at Glendambo Roadhouse on the Stuart Highway – located 600 kilometres north of Adelaide and 940 kilometres south of Alice Springs – Richard Patridge spoke to ABC News. “This is one big event that no-one’s ever seen in their lifetime up here,” he said.
“It started at seven o’clock [on Sunday] night – we had a big massive downpour and in 10 minutes we got 29 millimetres of rain.
“At the moment we’ve got truck drivers pulled up… I’ve got a couple of trucks here that have got stuff for Woolworths in Alice Springs.”
The Olympic Dam Highway, south of Woomera, has extensive damage as a result of the rain but is now reopen. The road is the only one into the remote towns of Roxby Downs, Woomera and Andamooka.
Locals within the towns were facing the prospect of supply shortages, with trucks unable to get into the local supermarket. However after contractors were called in to perform urgent works, the road was able to be reopened.
While flood waters are continuing to recede in the affected parts of the state, a statement released at 10.58am today by the Bureau of Meteorology says that flood impacts are expected to continue. In the 24 hours to 9am this morning, rainfall of up to 48mm (Yudnapinna) was recorded across the flood watch area.
“A broad trough of low pressure over the central parts of the State will slowly move eastwards on Tuesday and Wednesday. Heavy falls are possible with thunderstorms over central and eastern parts of the state during Tuesday,” said the Bureau.
“Heavy rainfall across the flood watch area has caused damage to several roads particularly the Far North and Eyre Peninsula. Some roads are closed and local communities may be isolated.”
The catchments likely to be affected are Flinders Ranges Rivers and Creeks, Diamantina River, Georgina River and Eyre Creek, Lake Eyre, Warburton River, Lake Frome, Cooper Creek, North West Lake Torrens, and Eastern Eyre Peninsula.
The Bureau added that while no further flooding is expected in the Broughton River, Lower Eyre Peninsula, Yorke Peninsula catchments, flooding impacts may continue during the next few days.