Australia Weather News

Streets in the Western Australian town of Northam "looked like rivers" after 40 millimetres of rain fell in half an hour, causing flash flooding, on Tuesday night.

"It is incredible to watch all the videos because there is so much rain in such a short period of time," shire president Chris Antonio said.

"The streets really did look like rivers.

"There's been lots of comments saying 'well it's good for the Avon Descent. We can practice down the main street!'

"It was pretty intense."

Cr Antonio said it had been at least a decade since Northam had seen that level of flooding.

A number of roads had to be closed to minimise damage and ensure safety, and Cr Antonio said the State Emergency Service (SES) had received a number of calls for assistance.

"A lot of houses had leaking roofs, water getting in, so our SES volunteers have been fantastic helping people," he said.

Road worker Blake Hester owned one of the vehicles caught in the flood waters.

"I got called in to block off roads because it was just flooded. As I tried coming up I accidentally came up the wrong way and bogged the ute," he said.

"I had to get out and basically swim my way out with all the signs, all the cones. It was absolutely flooded.

"I may as well have gone swimming at the beach it was so deep. There was nothing but muck, debris all over the place.

"The entire area was under water. It was maybe one metre [deep], up to my waistline."

Mr Hester said the water came up incredibly fast and stayed around for hours.

"[The water came up] like the snap of your fingers when it was barrelling down for half an hour. It just went nuts. It was just so much water," he said.

"I've been in Northam for about 10 years and it's the first time it's ever happened like this.

"It's like the 100-year floods."

Silt was left covering the roads which Cr Antonio said looked like a flooded paddock and could be a hazard to vehicles.

"It's looking a bit like an aftermath, so streets closed last night are still closed, which is precautionary," he said.

"There's lots of silt on the roads so any drivers around I'd encourage them to be careful.

"If you weren't paying attention you could easily do a little bit of damage on the silt because it's loose dirt and it's probably a bit of an unknown for unsuspecting drivers."

Cr Antonio said businesses in the town would reopen today.

"Businesses will open up and try and do the right thing by the community, and the community will try and do the right thing by the businesses and support them," he said.

More rain is expected to fall in the region on Wednesday.

Cr Antonio said he was hoping it would be a lot slower and gentler, and not cause any further damage.

Further north, a farm at Bejoording recorded 82 millimetres in less than an hour as well as hail and strong winds.

Andrew Thornton, the cropping manager for SJ Farms which has properties around the Toodyay area, said the rain was deafening.

"It just came down that hard, it would be the heaviest rain that I have ever experienced for sure," he said.

"My neighbour did ring me at the height of it and it was a struggle to hear at some stages."

While rain before seeding is always welcome, the heavy falls did some damage to paddocks.

"We have a bit of stubble pushed up against a few fences in low-lying areas which will take a bit of cleaning up," Mr Thornton said.

"One paddock in particular has got a couple of gullies washed out, which is going to require a bit of attention before seeding; they're close to a metre deep in places.

"We will wear a bit of damage for the moisture gains that we will get in the soil; it does give you a bit of confidence for the start of the season."

By noon on Wednesday the farms had recorded up to 120 millimetres.

Mr Thornton said seeding might be brought forward off the back of the rain, but he was also planning some pre-seeding weed control.