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WA weather: Pilbara cops a drenching as wild weather hits state

WA’s north has been battered by rain at a time when it is usually preparing for the annual dry season, while a blast of polar air has put a pre-winter chill through the State’s south.

The weather event, including a cold front and low pressure system which hit several parts of WA from Saturday, is set to continue its record-breaking run through the Pilbara region into Monday.

The Bureau of Meteorology warned that the major cold outbreak would break most winter records, let alone records for the last days of autumn.

Varanus Island recorded a record daily rainfall total for May of 158mm, up from the previous high of just 102.6mm on May 17 this year.

Newman is also expecting a record May low temperature of 13 degrees on Tuesday, with the previous coldest day for the month set at 14.7 degrees in 2015.

The heavy rainfalls prompted warnings from the Department of Fire and Emergency Services for Pilbara residents to prepare to relocate to higher grounds because of the threat of “unseasonal” flash flooding from Exmouth to Port Hedland.

DFES warned that campers and caravaners near rivers were at risk as the severe weather was expected to create some dangerous conditions.

Earlier Sunday morning DFES also notified West Aussies of bad weather conditions in WA’s north via Twitter.

There were also forced road closures for the Nanutarra Munjina Road and Paraburdoo Tom Price Road over, as well as the North West Coastal Highway between Onslow and Karratha. Yarraloola Station, 47km west of Pannawonica, recorded two-day rainfall of 145.2mm to Sunday morning.

“It’s pretty unusual what’s happening up there at the moment this late in the season,” BOM duty forecaster Catherine Schelfhout said.

“There was a strong upper trough and tropical moisture which came down from a long way to the North West.

“There will be significant and heavy rainfall today (Sunday) and tomorrow (Monday) for all parts of the Pilbara and then for the western Kimberley on Tuesday, still potentially heavy rain which will ease on Wednesday.”

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