A series of three cold fronts is continuing to impact Western Australia after damaging properties, tearing down power lines and uprooting trees in the state’s south overnight.
- About 35,000 homes were left without power at the peak of the storm
- The SES responded to more than 270 calls for help
- Conditions are set to ease on Wednesday afternoon
The wild weather is set to continue on Tuesday night and into Wednesday, with damaging winds in excess of 90kph likely in the southern half of WA, leaving many home owners worried about the damage it may cause to their properties.
That concern became Tryster McCarthy’s reality when she heard a loud noise coming from her bedroom in Mt Helena, east of Perth, as she was tending to her baby at 4:30am on Tuesday.
“I heard a big noise and I thought it was more rain and more wind, and then [I heard] a big crash and then there was a branch in my bedroom ceiling above where my partner sleeps,” she said.
The branch had fallen from a tree in the neighbour’s yard and punctured the roof in four different places.
Ms McCarthy has not been able to afford home insurance for the past six months due to the rising cost of living.
As State Emergency Service (SES) workers attended the property, the rain continued, causing further damage to the interior of the house.
Ms McCarthy’s home was one of 276 across the state requiring help from the SES in the past 24 hours, according to the Department of Fire and Emergency Services (DFES).
perth bears brunt of storm
DFES said Perth had been hit the worst by the once-in-a-year storm, with almost 80 per cent of affected properties in the metropolitan area.
Along with damaging infrastructure, the wild weather left many homes without electricity.
At the peak of the storm in the morning, Western Power said 35,000 customers were without power. It has since been restored to more than 20,000 properties.
More than 500 incidents, including downed and damaged wires and poles which have been impacted by wind gusts of up to 130kph, were active across the network at midday.
A statement issued by Western Power stated the utility had all available crews out fixing issues across the network but there was a possibility some customers would not have their power restored today due to the number of hazards.
“Our priority is to respond to reported hazards to ensure the safety of the community,” the statement said.
“This may mean our crews attend to make an area safe and leave for another emergency job without restoring power.”
Wind likes to continue into Wednesday
Bureau of Meteorology (BOM) duty forecaster Jessica Lingard said the strong winds would continue.
“Tonight will be very similar to what we experienced last night,” she said.
“We are expecting the peak of the wind activity to be late tomorrow morning and then we’ll start to see conditions slowly improving through tomorrow afternoon, but it won’t be until overnight tomorrow that we start to see conditions easing.
“The main risks with the winds peaking during the day is that people are outside moving around so driving can be particularly hazardous, especially if we’ve got branches falling down from trees.”
Bickley and Mandurah reported wind gusts of up to 117kph just after 2am, which were the strongest winds recorded in those areas in more than 50 years, according to Ms Lingard.
She said Cape Leeuwin recorded wind gusts just after midnight which were equal to a category two cyclone, at 137kph.
Ms Lingard said the weather had caused dangerous swells along the west coast. She warned beach goers to stay out of the water.
The BOM has forecasted 15 to 20 millimetres of rain and westerly winds from 50 to 70kph on Wednesday in the Perth metro region.