Mother Nature's extremes on display

15 Jan, 2016 01:00 AM

MOTHER nature has been pushing WA to its limits this week.

While one of the worst fires in recent memory was raging in the South West, heavy rainfall caused flash flooding in other parts of the State.

In Toodyay, sheep producer Craig Stewart said while he was down helping fight the fires in Waroona, his farm received almost 60 millimetres of rainfall in 30 minutes on Saturday.

"We were praying for rain down south to take a bit of the pressure off but unfortunately that didn't happen," Mr Stewart said.

"It just didn't quite get down there."

Aside from a few damaged fences and a road closure, Mr Stewart said the flash flooding didn't cause too much damage.

"No one seemed too concerned," he said.

"It overwhelmed the creek and the dams.

"They overflowed, but there was minimal damage.

"And it put some much needed water in the dams."

Mr Stewart said the rain seemed to be quite localised, as it was dry 15km to the north.

"It smashed down various parts of the farm," he said.

"It seemed to be worse on the southern areas and only 15km away we had just 5mm."

Just prior to the downpour, the Stewart family property had a lightning strike that ignited a fire.

"Nature showed us two hands and within hours," Mr Stewart said.

"Thanks to neighbours and the Volunteer Bush Fire Brigade everything was dealt with quickly before it became a problem.

"Given the situation in other districts and Waroona where I had been since Thursday morning, I was very grateful."

Mr Stewart said the fires and floods were nothing in comparison, compared to the devastating fires in Waroona and surrounding areas.

"My kids send me a few texts and some pictures of the floods, it was impressive," he said.

"But considering it all, we got off scot-free, we haven't had any problems here in comparison.

"The Waroona fires was one of the most challenging fires I've ever been too."

At Darkan, only an hour and a half's drive from the raging fire that was threatening to take out Harvey, heavy rain also led to localised flash flooding.

The King family, who farm east of Darkan, received 40mm in short time.

Geraldine King said the storm came through on Saturday night and while there wasn't too much damage to fences or paddocks, it did fill dams that were close to empty.

"It will provide us with some water for stock to get through the rest of summer, although a lot of muck has run into dams with the downpour," she said.

"It came in a narrow strip though, a lease property we run 10km south of the main farm only received 16mm."

Ms King said it was disheartening looking out from the front verandah of the house to see water running across paddocks, while in the distance the smoke from the Waroona fires could be seen.

"It is a shame that the people affected by the fires couldn't have had a downpour like we received to help control the fire," she said.

In north Kalannie, there were reports of unofficial measurements of about 44mm in 30 minutes and 41mm and hail near Goodlands.

Merredin received 3-6mm while Walgoolan and Westonia copped the brunt, seeing in excess of 40mm within 30 minutes, causing flash flooding.

Joan Hunter Smith, Westonia, said the storm passed through in a narrow strip of about 10km.

"We did not record any major damage, just some trees falling across a few fences," she said.

"The quick and heavy rains helped top up some of our dams without causing too much hassle.

"We will have more spraying to do but that is pretty normal with summer storms, and it has actually allowed us to plough some more pasture ready for next season."

In Narembeen, Colin Ogilvie received more than 30mm, with heavy winds causing trees to fall over a road.

"In some areas where that significant amount of rain fell in such a short amount of time, summer weeds will germinate and paddy melons will grow up," Mr Ogilvie said.

"Some growers may have spray paddocks a second time, as one spray has already been completed."

For Lisa McCreery, Chatfield's Tree Nursery and Engineering, Tammin, they were lucky not to sustain any major damage from the rain that went through.

"We received around 20mm, so it wasn't so much a flood, just lots of water running around the place," she said.

"The heavy downpour caused damage in our nursery containing two million seedlings.

"The water ran to drip points of the shadecloth and bombed sections of the newly planted seedlings.

"We have also been out of power since 8pm on Saturday night and, as of 5pm Monday, still had none."



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