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Collie mops up after record rainfall

A South West town is continuing to mop up after torrential rain forced a river to break its bank, flooding homes and businesses and prompting the shutdown of two coal mines.

Both coal mines in Collie were shut down after major flooding inundated the sites this week.

The township of Collie was hit with 157 millimetres of rain in 24 hours to 9am Thursday - smashing the highest December rainfall record by more than 110 millimetres.

Yourdamung Lake, near Collie, recorded 210.8 millimetres in the 24 hours period, breaking an 18 year rainfall record, and making it the sixth highest daily rainfall total in the state in history.

The town's velodrome was also a victim of the once in 100-year rain deluge - with several inches of water prompting some locals to try out some new sports.

Cars towing water-skiers were filmed at the velodrome on Thursday, as well as several locals taking a dip in the floodwaters.


The Premier Hotel in town, closed for several hours at the the height of the storm, reopened for Thursday night crowds.

Miners shut down as a precaution

Premier Coal said precautionary measures were put in place to reduce any damage to the operation.

Drainage and pumping systems already in place were very effective, said general manager Patrick Warrand.

Work at the mine was stopped, allowing Premier Coal the opportunity to bring forward employee safety meetings. Major equipment was placed on higher ground with no damage reported, Mr Warrand said.

The water treatment plant was shut down to reduce the water inflow to the Collie River.

Customer deliveries were suspended, though there was some coal production on Wednesday evening.

Mr Warrand said: "Although Premier Coal operations were impacted by the rain yesterday, damage at the mine was limited to roads and production has now resumed".

"Our thoughts, however, go out to those residents and businesses in Collie that have been impacted much more significantly and we hope that they can get back on their feet as soon as possible".

Griffin Coal production supervisor Terry Hunter said only essential personnel were at the mine but things were getting back to normal.

"We are looking at starting up deliveries tonight and should be able to start up the overburden machinery tomorrow," Mr Hunter said.

Mr Hunter, who is also Collie shire's chief bushfire control officer, said a recovery meeting this afternoon to review emergency services' response to the floods handed responsibility for managing the aftermath to Collie shire council.

Emergency service workers and volunteers had been working nonstop in and around the town to reduce damage to properties.

The main tasks were filling and distributing sandbags where needed, controlling traffic movements and intersections until signs could be erected.

Dozens of businesses and homes called for help amid rising floodwaters.

"It all went quite well and we are now in the recovery stage," Mr Hunter said.

A number of Collie shire council Homeswest units at the foot of Atkinson Street were flooded and occupants evacuated.