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Rusty could isolate Broome, Derby for days
Pic: Tony Hutchinson Unusually large swell shipped up by Cyclone Rusty yesterday at Gantheaume Point, Broome

Tropical Cyclone Rusty has the potential to cripple freight supplies to large parts of the Kimberley outside of Port Hedland, leaving towns like Broome and Derby completely isolated for days.

Main Roads yesterday TUE closed Great Northern Highway from Derby to Port Hedland because of heavy rain being dumped in the region and the possibility of flooding – before TC Rusty had even hit the mainland.

“Given the cyclone has not even crossed the coast, I cannot see things changing for at least another 24-hours,” a Main Roads spokesman said.

“They are predicting that because this is such a slow moving cyclone with so much rain, it is going to cause issues if it continues the way it is going and probably result in some lengthy road closures – time will tell.”

The Shire of Broome yesterday closed several roads within its boundary for safety reasons, including Cape Leveque Road and 80 Mile Beach Road.

Shire director engineering services Michael Dale said all of the council’s unsealed roads were shut because the amount of rainfall had made them unsafe.

“We will continue to monitor the weather conditions with a view to re-opening the roads once they are considered safe,” Mr Dale said.

Kimberley district officer the department of Fire and Emergency services Matt Reimer had escaped the cyclone relatively unscathed.

“The BLUE ALERT placed on Broome has been lifted and an ALL CLEAR with CAUTION has been issued.

“We are now carefully monitoring rainfall levels and river levels and keeping in touch with remote communities to make sure they are safe.

“Everything from an operation side of things has now been transferred to the Pilbara region.”