Nature’s fury

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Grey nomads still travelling in the north of Western Australia are certainly experiencing the full range of drama that nature can deliver at this time of the year.

Heavy rain has forced the closure of two national parks in the Pilbara, and a huge bushfire near Carnarvon has burned through more than 200,000 hectares and forced the closure of the North West Coastal Highway.

The Karijini National Park received 97 millimetres of rain overnight while the Millstream Chichester National Park recorded 125 millimetres. The ABC reports that the rain has caused flash flooding and inundation of roads and campsites in the parks.

A flood warning has been issued for Port Hedland, Karratha, Nullagine and Newman, with rainfall of up to 150 millimetres forecast.

The Department of Environment and Conservation says there is significant danger associated with flash flooding and gorges because water levels can rise very high, quickly.

Travellers are being to avoid the parks and stick to major roads. Travellers already in the parks are advised to stay with their vehicles and move to higher ground but not to cross floodways and streams.

Authorities are telling people to be prepared to leave if the situation worsens.

The DEC says with more rain forecast, the parks will remain closed under further notice.

Near Carnarvon, the massive bushfire which has been burning for several days, closed the North West Coastal Highway between Carnarvon and Minilya. It’s caused significant disruption for travellers, as well as stopping supplies getting through to the coastal communities.

Main Roads spokesperson , Sam Whitburn, told the ABC that any alternative routes would add a lot of time to an already long journey.

“Alternate routes would have to take people around the area on local shire roads and then the Great Western Highway,” he said. “Most people are choosing to stay in Carnarvon and wait for the highway to reopen.”

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