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Violent storm hits Western Australia, leaving tens of thousands without power

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A severe storm packing strong winds up to 128 km/h (80 mph) lashed Western Australia on May 5, 2020, toppling trees and power grids which left some 55 000 homes without electricity. As of May 6, about 25 500 homes are still impacted by the season's first storm, according to Western Power.

Emergency crews attended to more than 500 calls for help in a 24-hour period– almost the total number of storm-related calls received in 2019, which were 575. 

A spokesman from the Department of Fire and Emergency Services said most calls were related to roof damage. "It was quite a busy night for our volunteers."

Wind gusts of 128 km/h (80 mph) hit Cape Leeuwin early morning, while the metro area Rottest Island recorded 113 km/h (70 mph). A number of vehicles were damaged as trees were knocked down. There were also reports of broken fences and blown trampolines around the suburbs.

Other metropolitan area suburbs that were badly hit included Hocking, Wanneroo, Gnangara, Jandabup, Wangara, Forrestfield, Wattle Grove, Langford, Ferndale, Lynwood, Thornlie, and South Lake. Among the worst-hit were Ravenswood, South Yunderup, Myalup, Uduc, Harvey, Busselton, and Dunsborough.

At the peak of the storm, about 55 000 homes across the state were impacted by the storm, including 15 000 properties in Perth.

As of Wednesday, May 6, the Western Power reported that there are still 25 000 homes affected across the network– with 9 000 in the metro area and 16 500 in the southern capes section of the grid.

"Earlier today, we mobilized around 30 reconstruction teams across impacted parts of the grid and were able to restore power to around 20 000 homes before lunch," the power supplier stated.

According to the Bureau of Meteorology (BOM), the strong winds are due to the passage of a cold front, which is now heading towards South Australia. Conditions are expected to improve by the weekend.

Featured image credit: Western Power

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