10 May 2023

Late wet season rain creates chaos in Cape York

| Matt Nicholls
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Police closed the Peninsula Developmental Road between Coen and Weipa.

TRAVEL plans went out the window for many Cape York residents last week as heavy rain lashed the Far North.

Rivers and creeks became impassable for motorists, especially in the Cooktown area, while the main rivers coursing through the northern Cape were also in flood.

The Archer River blocked traffic between Weipa and Coen, while the Wenlock River at Moreton Telegraph Station also cut off the NPA with southern communities.

Boarding school students were also hit by the bad weather, with many Torres Strait students stranded at Horn Island Airport.

The students had taken smaller aircraft to arrive at Horn, only for their flights to Cairns to be cancelled.

It forced schools and locals on the ground at Horn to scramble and make sure the students had beds to sleep in.

Three families visiting Portland Roads had to get food helicoptered in from Archer River after they got stuck between the Wenlock and Pascoe Rivers.

While the late rain created chaos, for many it was a blessing as some rain gauges on the east coast had struggled for their average wet season quota.

Lockhart River was one of the big winners. It had been the driest community on the Cape until massive downpours late last week and on the weekend.

When the Peninsula Developmental Road re-opens remains to be seen. Road crews had begun grading the road and had reached Musgrave Roadhouse.

There is hope that the rain clears and the road’s post-wet season maintenance grade can be completed within a fortnight.


(April 13 to April 25)

Archer River: 92.6mm

Bramwell Station: 378.5mm

Cairns Airport: 245.6mm

Cape Flattery: 280.6mm

Coen: 189.2mm

Cooktown: 285.2mm

Horn Island: 236mm

Lockhart River: 924.2mm

Merluna Station: 110mm

Moreton Telegraph Station: 231mm

Piccaninny Plains: 235mm

Weipa Airport: 145.2mm

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