Cyclone Veronica: Dead cattle washed up on Pilbara beaches

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VideoWestern Australia faces a flood crisis in the wake of Cyclone Veronica.

Dead cattle have washed up on Pilbara beaches after being swept out to sea, drowned and battered by flooding caused by slow-moving ex-tropical cyclone Veronica.

Point Samson residents Katrina Kraus and Luke Bunton King stumbled across two carcasses while walking along the area’s “back beach” this morning.

“We were just walking along, looking at what washed up from the cyclone,” Ms Kraus said.

“There was a lot of marine life, like stingrays and fish, and then we looked up and saw these two cattle and thought ‘wow’.”

With no visible branding or marks, the cattle could not be identified, but Kimberley Pilbara Cattlemen’s Association chairman David Stoate said stations dotting the Pilbara coastline and “directly underneath” cyclone Veronica had flooded after days of consistent rainfall.

Between 400mm and 500mm inundated some stations, with pastoralists now conducting aerial surveys and trying to save cattle bogged down in mud.

Mr Stoate said it was the first time he had heard of floodwaters washing cattle out to sea.

A dead animal on the beach near Point Samson.
Camera IconA dead animal on the beach near Point Samson. Credit: Katrina Kraus

While cyclone Veronica delivered too much, too quickly, at some stations near the coast, pastoralists further inland were revelling in the rain which came after a long dry spell, with many stations recording almost no wet stuff all year.

“Those few stations that were directly underneath it, it sounds pretty bad,” Mr Stoate said.

“Certainly some are very happy about the falls ... pastoralists were very desperate for rain.

“Apart from those stations that have flooded, this rain will make for a good season.”

It was the first time it rained all year at Warrawagine station, south-east of Port Hedland, when 50mm came down in a series of showers on Sunday.

Station managers Belinda and Lux Lethbridge were crossing their fingers for much more, and haven’t had “good rain” since January last year, when 400mm fell that month.

“We are hoping for a lot... anything would be better than nothing,” Ms Lethbridge said.

Between 25 – 35 per cent of the Pilbara’s annual rainfall is generated by tropical cyclones near the coast, and about 40 per cent of the rainfall inland.

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