Grey nomads urged to take care as huge storms hit

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Wild weather affects grey nomads
Ceduna in South Australia was lit up by lightning strikes during a huge storm. PIC: Tam Schwedt / ABC)

Travellers are being warned to be on their guard as wild weather lashes much of eastern Australia

A ‘multi-state thunderstorm’ is bringing with it strong winds, torrential rain and flash flooding.

The Bureau of Meteorology (BOM) said Queensland, NSW and northeast Victoria would cop the brunt of the wild weather, along with parts of the Northern Territory and South Australia.

BOM meteorologist Jonathan How said it was going to be wet, wet, wet.

“Rainfall totals this Sunday will broadly be 30-50mm across parts of eastern Australia,” he said. “But when we do see those more intense thunderstorms, we could see totals of 100mm and even up to 150mm for some parts.”

And that means grey nomads, particularly those travelling in remote areas, need to be aware and prepared.

Trevor Wright, the publican at the William Creek Hotel in Outback South Australia, has already been called out to rescue travellers who got into trouble in the wild weather.

“Their wheel was shredded, it needed mechanical repair and was unserviceable,” he told the ABC. “At the same time, we had this huge weather event coming through and causing huge winds, lightning and rain.”

Mr Wright said he said he was concerned that the combined impact of Covid-19, border restrictions, a wet summer, and fewer hospitality workers in remote areas could result in less support for travellers who may get stuck.

“People want to be extremely cautious, take the right precautions, because I don’t think there’s going to be the backup in the timespan we’ve seen in the past,” he said. “There’s going to be a few more people who’ve never done travel in the remote areas, going out there and doing it without actually looking at what’s required with the planning side of it … you could have a catastrophic situation occur.”

The Royal Flying Doctor Service (RFDS) at Marree said it was also called out to rescue travellers who got stranded on the Birdsville Track after puncturing a tyre.

RFDS spokeswoman Natalie Szabo told the ABC that travellers needed to be properly prepared for outback travel.

“Always check your vehicle, take adequate food and water and tell someone your travel plans,” she said. “When travelling in very remote areas, always carry a satellite phone as regular mobile phones will not work.”

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