The State Emergency Service volunteers from across the metropolitan area responded to more than 130 calls after more than 30mm of rain was dumped on Perth between between 5.45pm and 6.15pm last night—a downpour described by the Weather Bureau as a one-in-10-year event. Ceilings in homes collapsed, races at the trots were cancelled, cars were forced to plough through flooded streets and some city shops closed early due to leaky roofs and mini-waterfalls streaming through their stores.
The worst affected areas were the Perth CBD, Stirling, Nedlands, Claremont, Cottesloe, Peppermint Grove, Mosman Park, Subiaco, Cambridge and Vincent. Lightning struck the United Service Station in Northbridge, setting fire to its neon sign about 7.15pm.
Service station employee Mandeep Lobana said he was worried when a customer ran into the store and told him the sign was “burning like a ball of fire”. “It was pretty risky because we are a fuel station and there is a gas pump under that roof,” Mr Lobana said.
Several major roads were flooded, including Kwinana Freeway and Riverside Drive.
130 SES volunteers spent most of last night making temporary repairs to some houses, fixing minor roof damage and sandbagging areas in danger of flooding. an SES spokesperson said homes along South Terrace, as well as the South Perth Community Hospital, lost parts of their roofs while the ceiling at the Fernwood Gym in Myaree collapsed. Late night shopping in the city last night was disrupted—Dotti staff ushered customers out as a rush of water filled the entrance of the store while Supre staff ran around frantically mopping up puddles and placing buckets under leaks. Heavy rain was recorded across the metropolitan area, with Swanbourne receiving 33mm of rain over the half-hour period.
By this morning Perth had recorded 57mm of rain. The downpour also caused flooding on Scarborough Beach Road, Peninsula Road in Maylands, Marmion Avenue at Hillarys, Seven Oaks Street in Welshpool, Fletcher Street in Fremantle and Tonkin Highway in Ferndale. The Weather Bureau’s severe weather services manager Andrew Burton said yesterday was Perth’s wettest in three years. “This type of rainfall is generally only exceeded at a particular location every 10 years or more,” Mr Burton said. Showers were expected to continue today, along with moderate south-westerly winds. The rain should ease tomorrow, with a fine day predicted for Monday.