During Christmas 2011 a tropical low formed off the Northern Territory coast and eventually strengthened into Tropical Cyclone Grant. In an effort to capture the raw power of nature at work - I headed along the Arnhem Highway and then north on the Point Stuart Road to Shady Camp. I did capture an interesting sunset but in terms of cyclones all was very quiet and it passed without incident to the west of Jabiru.
This was until ex-Tropical Cyclone Grant moved south over the upper reaches of the Katherine catchment area - in particular the Edith, Ferguson and Cullen Rivers, where 380mm of rain fell on Monday 26 December. This caused flash flooding within the area, and eventually a train derailment thanks to extensive erosion. The 20-carriage freight train was heading north (led by locomotive GWA001) across the Edith River when 50m of track gave way to catastrophic results. The two drivers luckily came out with only minor injuries and were airlifted to Katherine after being rescued.
A mixture of the flooding and train carriages being washed down stream caused such extensive damage that the Stuart Hwy was also closed for 3 days. Unable to get the Troopie through - I contacted Clinton Brisk owner and pilot of Airbourne Solutions who flew me from Pine Creek to Katherine in an AS350 Squirrel before transferring me to an R22 for a flight over Katherine Gorge, the Jatbula Trail, Edith Falls and finally Umbrawarra Gorge.
The following slide show contains some of my images showing the aftermath of the flash flood. From the flattened grasses along side creeks, to the debris left in trees and the twisted metal of the train wreck. Full coverage during the event was not possible as Paul was held up at the road block at Pine Creek with all other south-bound traffic whilst the Highway was repaired.