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Kalgoorlie storm wreaks havoc, leaving homes and businesses without power

Monday November 20, 2017 - 08:27 EDT
ABC image
A large tree collapsed on a car during the storms. - ABC

More than 14,000 homes and businesses remain without power in Kalgoorlie after the Goldfields region was battered by severe thunderstorms and winds of more than 100 kilometres per hour on Saturday afternoon.

The storm uprooted trees, lifted roofs and caused extensive property damage in Kalgoorlie, Boulder and Kambalda.

Western Power crews worked through Saturday night to deal with more than 170 downed powerlines and over 3,500 calls, while SES crews dealt with more than 100 call outs.

Kalgoorlie Hospital was without power for a short period, and four emergency generators have been sent to the city.

"Yesterday we prioritised hazards that were on the line to the Kalgoorlie Hospital and were able to restore power to the hospital as part of a concentrated effort on critical infrastructure," Western Power said in a statement.

"The intense storm front has left a number of distribution and service powerlines down which continue to present risks to public safety.

"Hazards are the priority which means unfortunately customers have been without power overnight."

Lightning during the storm is believed to have ignited a fire that destroyed a building on the corner of Maritana and Collins streets in Kalgoorlie that was being used as an art studio.

Owner Sue Turich said she was glad no-one was hurt in the blaze.

"I am sorry to see my building go and all my collections and dreams," she said.

"But at the end of the day it is a building and it is stuff and all of that can be replaced."

Western Power spokesman Paul Entwistle said crews would begin restoring power to homes as soon as possible.

He said in the meantime people should avoid fallen lines.

"We think we know where all the jobs are but if anybody sees something they didn't report last night give us a call on 13 13 51 and stay a minimum of eight metres away," he said.

Kalgoorlie Mayor John Bowler said he had lived in the city his entire life and had never seen anything like it.

"I drove home just to see how the house was and there wasn't a block in the city that didn't have a tree down," he said.

"Just in the last year council proudly planted 400 trees and I reckon we probably lost about 4,000 yesterday in half an hour.

"I'm very surprised that no-one has been injured."

He said the clean up was made more difficult by damaged power lines on the streets, and was expected to take weeks.


© ABC 2017

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