Northern Territory On 'Croc Alert' As Wild Weather, Flooding Hits Top End

29/12/2015 10:57 AM AEDT | Updated 15/07/2016 12:51 PM AEST
Australian Scenics via Getty Images
Saltwater crocodile (Crocodylus porosus) worlds largest living reptile, cooling himself with open mouth, Darwin, Northern Territory, Australia

Crocodiles are swimming in flooded Northern Territory footy fields and have been blamed for snatching dogs from backyards as major flooding causes chaos in the Top End.

Heavy rain has wreaked havoc in the NT since Christmas Day, with one woman confirmed killed and a man missing in floodwaters that have resulted in 500 people evacuated from Daly River, a small town about 200 kilometres south of Darwin.

Almost 400 people displaced due to the wild weather are currently being housed at Darwin showgrounds.

A flood warning is current for Daly River and is expected to remain in place through Tuesday, after up to 30mm fell there overnight.

An NT police spokeswoman told The Huffington Post Australia that crocodiles have been sighted around Daly River where water has inundated many homes.

"There have certainly been reports of crocodiles out and about in the flood water in Daly River which is a completely natural thing, it's what you'd expect, it's their natural habitat," she said on Tuesday.

"People have sighted them on the football fields from helicopters and there have been reports, but no confirmation, that crocs have taken family dogs."

Daly River local James Parry told the NT News he spotted a crocodile close to his house.

“You can be sleeping back at Daly and you’d be thinking about the water and where is the croc going to come from,” he said.

“I hope they’re not my dogs, the ones that got taken -- I took mine to my sister’s because she lives on higher land.”

On Monday night, the head of NT Emergency Services Andrew Warton warned of an extra threat from crocodiles coming close to populated areas in flood waters.

"The Daly River is obviously populated by a large population of crocodiles and already we've seen reports of crocodiles sighted within the community," Warton said.

"Northern Territorians, particularly those in flood affected areas, [should] exercise extreme caution around swollen waterways and flooded rivers and in the metropolitan areas, of course."

The flooding is so bad that it has closed a stretch of the Stuart Highway, effectively cutting Darwin off from road access.

NT police said the woman confirmed to have died drowned after the car she was in got stuck on a flooded road crossing near the remote community of Beswick, about 120 km south east of Katherine.

“Additionally several other stranded parties have airlifted from across the region to safety in Katherine and Pine Creek,” NT Police Controller Commander Bruce Porter said.

Police have grave concerns for the missing 28-year-old man, who vanished in floodwaters on Christmas Day.

It is believed the man's mates swam to safety after their car was swept away near a crossing at the south western community of Peppimenarti.

The severe weather in the NT is tipped to ease as a tropical low moves across the northern Barkly District.

However, the region is still set to experience extreme conditions.

"Showers and thunderstorms with peak gusts around 90 km/h are forecast for parts of the Barkly and eastern Carpentaria forecast districts," the Bureau of Meteorology (BoM) warns.

"Locations that may be affected include Borroloola, Centre Island, Tennant Creek, Alpurrurulam and Elliott."

The BoM advises that very heavy rain could lead to flash flooding in the impacted areas.

In Daly River, NT Police predicted a tough few days ahead.

"There's quite a lot of water that's built up upstream that's yet to come down," the police spokeswoman told HuffPost Australia.

"The present levels have receded slightly but that's going to probably rise again."

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