Helpful Heidi brings record falls

Claire TyrrellCountryman

Pilbara pastoralists have welcomed the drenching rains delivered by ex-tropical cyclone Heidi.

Up to 300mm has been recorded in parts of the Pilbara, in the three days since last Thursday, when the category two cyclone hit Port Hedland.

Marillana station, 110km northwest of Newman, recorded its highest ever daily rainfall of 129mm on Friday.

Station manager Sue Bickell said the rains were a relief for the 4000 head of cattle on the property.

"We have now had 298.5mm over seven days," she said.

"It is an entire lake here when it rains, but our homestead is up high enough so water doesn't come in. The water has subsided and everything is nice and green."

Hillside station, 92km south of Marble Bar, received 162mm from the cyclone.

Station manager Annetoinette Beck said the rains brought the station's monthly total up to a record 231mm.

"We've had our highest ever total monthly rainfall, and there's more on the way," she said.

"It started on Friday morning and rained gently all day. This is excellent - it should set us up for a good season."

Port Hedland Bureau of Meteorology observer Daniel Hayes said further rain was forecast for this week.

"Showers, thunderstorms and trough activity on the west coast is continuing over the next few days and extending into southern parts of the Pilbara," Mr Hayes said on Tuesday.

"There is also continuing activity in the Kimberly, which could bring rain to eastern parts of the Pilbara."

State Emergency Service Hedland manager Derek Jones said Heidi had not inflicted serious damage on the town.

"We had 74 callouts and five of those involved roof damage," Mr Jones said.

"There was only one major job, which was the hospital's financial office where about a third of the roof was taken. We got out of it fairly lightly."

Power was lost to about 3000 homes and access was cut to several roads as a result of the cyclone.

As of Tuesday, power had been restored to homes but gravel roads in the Pilbara and the Marble Bar Road were still closed.

Port Hedland mayor Kelly Howlett said council workers were continuing to clean up the area.

"Our workers are still out there working on roads and collecting green waste from the cyclone," mayor Howlett said.

About 50 people retreated to the Hedland Welfare Centre during the worst of cyclone Heidi after warnings of a tidal surge.

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