Emergency services across South Australia are bracing for more wet weather across the state’s north after drenching rains in recent days flooded roads and rail lines, isolating towns and cutting supply lines.
Many roads across the north and on Eyre Peninsula remain submerged, including parts of the Stuart Highway, the main road link between Adelaide and Darwin.
Damage assessments are underway and round-the-clock work to reopen transport routes continues after record rains in some regional centres last weekend.
More falls from thunderstorms late on Wednesday added to the problem, with State Emergency Service Chief Officer Chris Beattie expecting further rain from a deep tropical low in the coming days.
“We fully expect to see more rain over the pastoral areas over the weekend and into early next week,” he said.
“All these catchments are fully charged so when we get even smaller storm cells, what falls goes into the creeks and streams as overflow.
“So certainly the risk outlook (for flooding) remains. Any significant rain in those catchments will see flooding in those areas again.”
Country Fire Service chief Mark Jones said South Australia was experiencing a “crazy” summer.
“It’s not a normal summer at all. At one end of the state we’ve had bushfires burning while we’ve had floods at the other end of the state,” he said.
“It’s a very untraditional summer we’re enduring. We’re preparing for all emergencies.”
In Adelaide, thunderstorms on Wednesday night caused minor flooding, with the SES responding to 63 calls for assistance from midnight to 5.30 am on Thursday.
Conditions cleared across the city by dawn, with the Bureau of Meteorology also easing flood watch warnings across other parts of the state.
Although the bureau said showers and isolated thunderstorms were possible over those regions over the coming days.
“Heavy rainfall across the flood watch area has caused damage to several roads particularly the far north and Eyre Peninsula,” the bureau said.
“Some roads are closed and local communities may continue to be isolated.”
With the Stuart Highway blocked to freight, the Northern Territory government urged people not to panic-buy groceries and other supplies, despite some shortages.
NT Health Minister Natasha Fyles said the government had been working with the major supermarkets and independent operators to ensure adequate supplies.
“You might not be able to get your favourite item and the kids might not be happy but there will be a steady supply of groceries,” she said.
“So people shouldn’t panic.”
South Australia’s Emergency Services Minister Vincent Tarzia said the state’s response to the current emergencies had been “extraordinary.”