Perth and the South West is bracing for wild weather with squally thunderstorms and destructive wind gusts up to 125km/h tipped to hit from midday. A Severe Weather warning is in place for parts of the state south-west of a line from Geraldton inland to Dalwallinu and south to Bremer Bay, east of Albany. The worst of the cold front is expected to hit the southern capes by about midday and extend inland and north towards Perth during the rest of the day. The squally showers are tipped to hit the metro area by mid-afternoon and could bring isolated thunderstorms.
Gale wind warnings are in place from Kalbarri, 560km north of Perth, to Israelite Bay in the south-east of the state. Widespread showers, isolated thunderstorms and squally conditions are expected with the front. Mandurah has already had some early morning rain with 5.6mm to 9am and the capes are being buffeted by strong winds, with Cape Leeuwin recording gusts of 83km/h, Cape Naturaliste 70km/h and Busselton Jetty 69km/h.
Rottnest has also recorded a maximum wind gust of 65km/h and Garden Island 59km/h. Locally destructive winds are forecast for parts of WA south-west of a line Geraldton to Dalwallinu to Bremer Bay, including Jurien Bay, Perth metropolitan area, York, Mandurah, Narrogin, Bunbury, Busselton, Bridgetown, Katanning and Albany.
The Bureau of Meteorology warning says: “Squalls may cause dangerous winds in excess of 125km/h that could cause significant damage or destruction to homes and property.”
In June, severe storms swept through WA’s South-West with winds of more than 140km/h, wrecking homes and badly damaging Western Power’s electricity network. More than 160,000 homes and businesses were without power for several days. Wheat and sheep farmers will be hoping the cold front penetrates the agricultural areas, with many grain growers still needing rain to boost yields after a desperately dry winter across much of the southern half of the state.
What to do
State Emergency Service advises people to secure loose objects, move vehicles under cover and stay inside away from windows. If caught outside you should find shelter away from trees, powerlines, storm water drains and streams. If you own a boat ensure it is securely moored.
Take extra care on the roads as flooding is possible. If you are driving through heavy rain slow down and turn your lights on or if visibility becomes low pull over and park until it passes.
For SES assistance call 132 500. For more safety tips visit www.fesa.wa.gov.au