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Storm-force winds buffet southern Tasmania

Friday October 5, 2012 - 08:06 EST
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Water washes up on the Midway Point causeway. - ABC

Storm-force winds have caused havoc across southern Tasmania.

Gusts of up to 100 kilometres per hour brought down powerlines, sparking several fires.

Both Virgin and Qantas had to divert flights back to Melbourne, with one plane aborting a landing in Hobart.

A Virgin spokesman says 280 passengers were affected and the airline would use a larger plane to clear the backlog.

Both airlines have resumed flights.

The Tasmanian Fire Service says the fires are now under control.

At one stage there were 18 power pole or vegetation fires burning across the state.

State operations officer John Holloway says it is a timely reminder for homeowners to prepare for the bushfire season.

"We have had a few fires, first ones for the year really, for the season," he said.

"It's a good reminder that bushfire season is coming up quick and people need to get their homes prepared now rather than later."



Power out

Strong winds continued across the state's south into the late afternoon, hampering efforts to restore power to 9,000 customers.

The affected areas include the Tasman Peninsula, the Derwent and Huon valleys and the Channel area.

Aurora Energy's Lorri Clarke says safety is a priority.



"All available crews are working very hard. They have been hampered by strong winds and their safety is the number one priority for us," she said.

"So they're working as hard as they can at the moment."

Aurora is unable to say when power will be restored, and expects some customers will be without power overnight.

The strong winds were caused by a deep low to the south of Tasmania and a front crossing the state.

More than 50 calls for assistance were made to the SES, from areas stretching the greater Hobart area to New Norfolk and the Huon Valley.

Spokesman Mark Nelson says residential properties have borne the brunt of the damage.

Boats broke from moorings at Snug, and a boat ran aground at Triabunna.



"We do have some roofs off, there are a few windows blown in, some trees down causing some damage, sheds have been displaced and glass houses blown over," he said.

"With high winds there's a lot of loose, flapping roofs, they're the majority of the jobs."

The SES advised people to stay inside while the winds continued.



Boyer Road at New Norfolk and Nicholls Rivulet Road near Oyster Cove were closed due to fallen trees and powerlines.

The eastbound lane of the Bowen Bridge was also affected.

Motorcyclists were urged to avoid using the Sorell causeway.

The Bruny Island passenger ferry was unable to dock for the first time in two decades.

More than 50 commuters were stranded on board when the ferry's master aborted berthing at the island for more than an hour.

The ferry has resumed its schedule.


- ABC

© ABC 2012

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