Phone towers down as ex-tropical cyclone heads west

The ADF has been called in to evacuate locals from Borroloola in the NT after widespread flooding.

The ADF has been called in to evacuate locals from Borroloola in the NT after widespread flooding. Photo: AAP

Phone towers are down in a remote part of the Northern Territory lashed by ex-Tropical Cyclone Megan, which has triggered strong thunderstorms at the West Australian border as it moves over the Top End.

The town of Borroloola, which has a population of about 700, has been hit hard by severe weather over the past week, with homes inundated and the Australian Defence Force called in to evacuate locals.

Telstra regional general manager Nic Danks on Friday confirmed two mobile base stations at Borroloola and nearby McArthur had lost power.

“Our equipment in these remote locations are primarily powered by solar panels and the poor weather is limiting their ability to recharge the batteries,” he said.

It is unclear when the stations will be brought back online but the company promised to get crews into the area as soon as possible.

“With roads closed, access to the area is by helicopter only at the moment and they are currently in high demand,” Dancs said.

“The high water levels in the area will also pose challenges for our crews to safely land in near proximity to our sites.”

He said about 400 fixed line services were also offline at Bing Bong, Mallapunya and Borroloola.

Ex-Tropical Cyclone Megan formed in the Gulf of Carpentaria and has since moved west to the territory’s border with WA, bringing strong thunderstorms to the Kimberley region.

More than 100 people from Borroloola were evacuated to Darwin on Wednesday, with more flights expected on Thursday.

The Bureau of Meteorology believes major flooding had occurred at the McArthur River, but said no recent river level observations were available as of Friday morning.

Meanwhile, Tropical Cyclone Neville remains off the WA coast but is not expected to affect the mainland. It is moving westward and is expected to peter out.


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