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HomeIssue 28Car washed down Todd in record rain

Car washed down Todd in record rain

Alice Springs is on alert after the Todd River burst its banks following the wettest November day on record.

A man became stranded in the swollen river as emergency crews worked to save him from rising waters.

The man attempted to cross the Undoolya Causeway when he became trapped.

Police, Fire and Emergency Services said the man’s sedan was “swept off the road” by rising floodwaters.

“The man managed to self-extract from the vehicle and get to a tree where he has stayed until NTES arrived on scene,” says police.

The Todd River Schwarz Crescent weather station recorded at least 70mm of rain in the last 24 hours, as Alice Springs Airport recorded more than 100 millimetres of rain.

Twenty-four hour rainfall has not been this high since January 30, 2001, according to the Bureau of Meteorology.

This morning, authorities closed several roads in the area, including Schwartz Crescent, the Undoolya causeway, Tunks Road, Taffy Pick Crossing and Palm Circuit.

A trough near the South Australian and Northern Territory border, associated with a complex low-pressure system over SA, will move northwards through the southern districts later today.


Many rivers and floodways are inundated, and most roads are impassable.

The Stuart Highway remains open in both directions but motorists should expect delays. Please avoid unnecessary travel, and “if it’s flooded, forget it,” says the Bureau of Meteorology.

Authorities are currently assessing the network which may take some time. Further and more detailed updates on road conditions will be published to Road Report NT as they become available.


  1. This rain event has been the first to test the drainage works for the new suburb of Kilgariff.
    The civil engineering work is essentially a deep broad channel that directs run-off from Kilgariff parallel to Colonel Rose Drive towards the St Mary’s Creek floodout about a kilometre east of the Stuart Highway.
    So how did it go? I haven’t been able to see for myself but I’m informed the water emerged onto the verge of Colonel Rose Drive where it continued to flow eastward beside the road to another depression just short of the turnoff to Heffernan Road where it pooled into a broad shallow lake across the road.
    That’s a distance of about four kilometres that the run-off from Kilgariff has traveled before flooding Colonel Rose Drive.
    This is water that has come from only the first stage of the Kilgariff subdivision – there is of course development underway for the second stage which in future will effectively double the amount of water sent coursing along Colonel Rose Drive.
    This has happened without St Mary’s Creek making any contribution to the flood water – it hasn’t flowed from this rainfall event.
    The last time the creek did flow (in 2010) the water reached the floodout at Colonel Rose Drive but Kilgariff did not exist at the time.
    If we experience a heavier rainfall event with St Mary’s Creek flowing combined with run-off from the Kilgariff subdivision, it will lead to residents of the rural subdivision (Rangeview Estate vicinity) being cut off by artificially induced flooding which (we should be reminded) will be contaminated to some extent by sewage from the Commonage (the headwaters of St Mary’s Creek).
    This is very poor planning for civil engineering in this area; and no doubt will require further public expense to rectify this problem.
    As I have stated from the very beginning when planning for the suburb of Kilgariff was first announced in 2009, this development should never have been allowed to proceed.

  2. Alex. I live in the rural area down Colonel Rose Drive. Before Kilgariff or the drain were built we have had bigger water runoff run down to where it crosses the road.
    The problem is that when Colonel Rose Drive was built they did not put a floodway in to let St Mary’s Creek cross the road. I am not defending the drain or Kilgariff, what I am saying is the water has been racing down the DPI fence forever.


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