A violent storm has left a trail of destruction and more than 160,000 homes and businesses without power, as it continues to lash Western Australia’s south west coast.
By late Sunday afternoon, Western Power had reported more than 100,000 homes in Perth and more than 50,000 in regional areas had lost power, as a dangerous weather warning remained in place for the entire southwest – an area the size of Victoria.
Emergency services had received more than 300 calls for help across Perth and regional areas, as rains and winds of up to 140kmh caused road closures and significant damage to buildings and infrastructure.
Western Power said more than 150 power lines and more than 50 poles had been brought down across metropolitan Perth, while its network was still being damaged by high winds in the southwest region.
The utility said homes and businesses could be without power for days, due to the widespread nature of the destruction.
In Perth‘s northeast suburbs, a roof had collapsed on a two-storey block of flats, forcing residents to evacuate, while a crane collapsed on a corner of the Queen Elizabeth II Medical Centre in the western suburb of Nedlands, also causing significant damage.
Sky News television showed dozens of boats, including large motor launches and at least one ketch, washed onshore in coastal areas and the Perth Now online site said shipping containers has been blown off their stacks in Fremantle harbour.
Power lines and wooden poles were down in most Perth suburbs, while there were reports of homes being damaged by falling trees and branches, as well as dangerous debris flying.
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Parts of Perth’s Swan River had flooded and about 50 sets of traffic lights had been blacked out across the metropolitan area.
A spokeswoman from Perth Airport confirmed some inbound and outbound flights had been delayed, while ferries to Rottnest Island, 12km west of Fremantle, had been stopped.
There was also an unconfirmed report of a marina jetty being swept away with boats still moored to it in the coastal city of Mandurah, about 80km south of Perth, with other reports of shipping containers being blown around at Fremantle Port.
The Bureau of Meteorology said the storm was caused by a deepening offshore low-pressure system off the coast of Geraldton earlier in the day that had moved rapidly south and inland.
The bureau had issued a dangerous weather warning from Kalbarri on the midwest coast to Kalgoorlie in the east, and Israelite Bay on the south coast.
While the warning has been cancelled in northern parts, it remains in place for the southwest and is predicted to cause more damage, particularly around coastal areas.