THE wet season has well and truly arrived in Darwin with the city hit by heavy rain on Friday but the cyclone that was predicted to hit the Top End this week is now expected to form around northern WA.
A tropical low is currently inland near Darwin and has produced heavy rain that is mostly being welcomed because it has been an historically slow start to the monsoon season, with record high temperatures and low rain recently.
The low was tracking inland in a westerly direction towards the Arafura Sea, where it was expected to develop into a cyclone on Saturday in waters north of the Kimberley, Bureau of Meteorology acting NT manager Jude Scott said.
A weak tropical low is located near the coast just to the southwest of Darwin. It is expected to gradually develop into a tropical cyclone as it moves into waters off the north Kimberley during Saturday or early Sunday. https://t.co/B1MVXBYXhh pic.twitter.com/VGXrrHBtHa
— Bureau of Meteorology, Western Australia (@BOM_WA) January 10, 2020
A tiny number of people live in remote indigenous communities in those areas, but they are currently not expected to be greatly affected.
“It is expected to continue to travel parallel to the coast, it is a little early to say whether or not the system might track back towards land at this stage,” Ms Scott told reporters.
Heavy rainfall and possible flash flooding is expected to continue in Darwin on Friday and Saturday.
Rainfall totals of 100-150mm have been recorded in some locations including Oenpelli/Gunbalanya, Maningrida and Adelaide Rier, with 20-50mm widespread across the north west Top End, Ms Scott said.
The rain means numerous indigenous communities can be physically cut off from the rest of the world for several months until the wet season ends.
An indigenous ranger with the Adjumarllarl rangers, Andrew, told ABC Radio that the only road into Gunbalanya, the famous crocodile spotting location Cahills Crossing, was now covered with water and would be cut off for a few months, meaning food and other items are flown in.
“We are an island now, we are flooded in,” he said.
Australia’s Tropical Top End typically received at least two to three cyclones during the Monsoon season.