WA's northwest floods after huge downpour

Wild weather forced the closure of Port Hedland's iron ore operations.
Wild weather forced the closure of Port Hedland's iron ore operations.

Much of inland Western Australia is awash after a gusty tropical low dumped heavy rain from the Pilbara to the border with South Australia.

The weather system crossed the coast near Port Hedland on Friday and started bucketing down, closing the region's massive iron ore ports.

It's now moved southeast into the Gibson Desert and is about 100km from the tiny town of Warburton, near the SA border.

A severe weather warning for damaging winds and heavy rain remains for the Goldfields and Midlands regions.

Heavy rain could lead to flash flooding in the South Interior District, WA's Fire and Emergency Services warned.

Damaging winds with gusts up to 100 km/h are possible.

A major flood warning has been issued for people in the De Grey River catchment in the Pilbara after the region was lashed by rain overnight.

Abydos, north of Newman, recorded 131.6mm in the 24 hours to 9am on Saturday.

Pincunah copped 126mm of rain and Upper North Pole, also west of Marble Bar, received 118mm.

The Nullagine River in the Pilbara reached 5.2m on Friday evening and is still rising but the gauge is no longer working, Fire and Emergency Services said.

The Coongan River at Marble Bar peaked at 8.4m - 5m above the major flood level.

Roads are flooded and people in low-lying areas have been urged to prepare to evacuate.

Flood warnings have also been issued for rivers in the West Pilbara, the Sandy Desert, Warburton and Salt Lakes District.

Flood warnings also remain in place for Fortescue River and Ashburton River.

Pilbara Port Authority said the tropical low brought gale-force winds, heavy rain and big swells when it crossed the coast on Friday.

But weather conditions had started improving and shipping would recommence.

"An inspection of the navigation beacons and main shipping channel was carried out to facilitate the safe opening of the port," a spokesman said.

"All terminals and port services have been informed to reactivate services."

Australian Associated Press