Monsoonal Trough - January 2018

Official Name of Eligible NDRRA Event: Monsoonal Trough – January 2018

Australian Government Reference Number: 815

Date of Activation: 22 May 2018

Local Government Areas Affected: Coomalie, Darwin, Litchfield, Roper Gulf, West Arnhem, West Daly and Unincorporated Areas

Available Categories of Assistance:

  • Category B – 5.3.1 a) Restoration or replacement of an essential public asset

Allowable Time Limit for Eligible Expenditure: 30.06.2020

Summary of Event

From 21 to 31 January 2018, a slow-moving monsoonal trough brought severe weather conditions as it moved across the base of the Top End. Formation of a low pressure system within the trough brought an intensity to the weather event which included severe thunderstorms, damaging wind gusts and flooding, as it moved slowly across Carpentaria and Arnhem districts. The low pressure system also brought abnormally high tides to the eastern and north eastern coasts, with concurrent severe thunderstorms storms hitting the Central Australian districts of Barkly, Tanami and southern Gregory.

As the trough moved west and north, continued heavy rainfall led to flood watches for river catchments in Daly and Gregory districts, while squally showers and severe thunderstorms caused isolated pockets of severe damage across the districts of Carpentaria, Daly, Arnhem and northern Gregory. The western and north western coastal region of Gregory and Daly were affected, with rising ground water and heavy rains affecting road conditions.

Overall, the Northern Territory had 70% more rainfall than average, while the Top End had its wettest January since 1904; on 28 January, several sites across the Daly and Arnhem districts had their highest total January rainfall on record, while rainfall for Darwin Airport was 857.2 millimetres,  99% above the long-term average of 429.8 mm and its highest January rainfall total since 1995.

Summary of Significant Relief and Recovery Achievements to Date

As this event occurred at the same time as the Daly River Flooding, event 785, resources were initially allocated between this event, and the successful helicopter evacuations of approximately 366 residents from the Nauiyu community on Daly River. Evacuees were flown to Batchelor, who were subsequently transferred by bus to the evacuation centre at Foskey’s Pavilion at the Darwin Showgrounds, where they were housed until 12 February 2018.

Following the receding of the flood waters in the affected local government areas, the Department of Infrastructure, Planning and Logistics and a number of Regional Councils have conducted inspections and assessments of Essential Public Assets (principally roads) to determine the restoration and replacement costs. Initial recovery efforts focused on reopening affected roads, where restoration and replacement of these essential public assets has commenced.

Enquiries for Available Measures of Assistance

To enquire about Category B assistance for the restoration or replacement of essential public assets, please contact the Department of Infrastructure, Planning and Logistics (08 8924 7530). Local councils should contact the Department of Housing and Community Development (08 8924 3644).

For further information on recovery assistance, please visit the Australian Government's Disaster Assist website.

Last updated: 25 May 2018