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Australia Day storm leaves trail of damage

Monday January 28, 2013 - 12:13 EDT

Emergency services in the ACT have been kept busy with more than 600 calls for help after a wild storm swept through the capital on Australia Day.

Up to 65 millimetres of rain was dumped over the Canberra region, causing flash flooding and damage to houses.

The storm knocked out power to 20,000 homes and businesses, including Calvary Hospital.

The deluge also put an abrupt end to plans for Australia Day fireworks on the shore of Lake Burley Griffin.

The Calvary Hopspital lost power for about 30 minutes and flooding in the boiler room stopped the back-up power from kicking in.

The hospital says patient care was not compromised and no one was in surgery at the time.

Calvary director of nursing and midwifery Kerrie Hayes says there are always procedures in place if the power fails, but a review of what happened is underway.

"On Tuesday morning when everyone is back at work we will have a formal debrief and a formal review and be working on actions to make sure that the next time we have this quick inundation and big storm that flooding doesn't occur and that our auxiliary power kicks in as it's supposed to," she said.

The ACT State Emergence Service received hundreds of calls for help with fallen trees and branches, and flooding.

The worst hit suburbs were in the Belconnen area, including Florey, Charnwood and Cook.

"As far as we know there's been two injuries reported, one member of the public near a road bridge who was transported to hospital and another member of the SES who sustained a slight injury as well," said ESA Commissioner Dominic Lane.

Fresh crews have been deployed to finish the clean up today.

Mr Lane says he expects the SES will receive more calls for help today as Canberrans return home after the long-weekend.

"The worst damage was for those people who unfortunately had a tree impact on their home and that was followed up by inundation into the house. Fortunately it's seems in most cases that damage wasn't extensive across the whole of the home, but certainly enough to inconvenience a lot of people," he said.

"We also saw through the heavy rain, a lot of silt impact on roadways and bike paths."

ActewAGL says about 20 customers across Canberra's north are still without power.

ActewAGL general manager networks services Rob Atkin says power has this morning been restored to about 100 homes in Aranda.

"We have called on all available resources and crews are working as quickly as possible to restore the electricity supply," she said.

"We expect to continue to receive calls today, as customers return home from their long-weekend vacations and find that their power is off due to storm damage."


© ABC 2013

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