A storm similar to the one which battered Perth and the South-West on Sunday is forecast to to lash southern WA with cyclonic 125km/h winds. The intense storm packing dangerous winds – consistent to a category two cyclone – is expected to hit Perth and the South-West between this evening and early tomorrow morning.
This storm will be of similar strength to the system that affected the southwest on Sunday, SES said in a statement late yesterday.
The highest winds recorded during Sunday’s storm was 139km/h at Cape Naturaliste on the south-west corner of the state. But much of the South West was buffeted by destructive gales up to 125km/h. The storm late today is expected to affect a massive area from Geraldton in the Midwest to Southern Cross and south-east to Israelite Bay.
The stark warning of another storm came as Western Power workers last night struggled to reconnect about 40,000 customers who were still without power after Sunday’s massive system left the electricity system in chaos. At 5am today Western Power reported that 18,300 customers remained without power after more than 20,000 were restored since 10pm yesterday.
Areas still without power included 1082 properties in the Perth suburb of Kewdale and parts of the towns of Boddington, Pinjarra and Donnybrook. Despite working in wet and windy conditions, Western Power crews have successfully reconnected more than 150,000 storm-hit customers in the past 36 hours.
However, bad weather continues to make work difficult for our crews and more storms are expected to continue this week through the South-West, which may result in more power outages, a spokeswoman said. Widespread damage has been recorded across the state, including roofs being blown off buildings, trees uprooted and roads flooded, particularly those near the Swan River in Perth.
In what could result in a horror week for emergency services personnel, significant damage and destruction to homes and property is again predicted as storm fronts cross the state today and tomorrow. Households southwest of a line from Geraldton to Southern Cross to Israelite Bay have been told to batten down, with high winds, dangerous surf and torrential rain forecast.
Winds associated with this storm are much stronger than a usual winter storm and are likely to be of similar strength to the winds experienced on Sunday, SES said. Bureau of Meteorology spokesman Grahame Reader said it was rare – a once in 10 years event – for Perth to be hit by three major storms in just a few days. Mr Reader said the initial impact would be in the southwest corner of the state, moving up to Perth during the evening, then peaking at around midnight.
Yesterday Emergency Services Minister Troy Buswell said the storm was unprecedented both in terms of severity and the size of the affected area. Mr Buswell said at least 10 hospitals lost power during the storm and were forced to use generators. Several schools had to suspend classes today because of damaged roofs and lack of power.
Mr Buswell said 52 traffic lights were not operating but major intersections were either being manned by police or powered by generators.
This week shapes to be a difficult week for our state and particular for the South-West in terms of dealing with storms,” Mr Buswell told reporters. Mr Buswell said damage from today’s storms could be exacerbated by remaining debris that emergency services workers were currently battling to clear. He said it remained to be seen whether today’s weather would lead to a natural disaster being declared.