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Storms strike Western Australia

Alex Zadnik, Friday January 20, 2012 - 15:16 EDT

Thunderstorms have struck major population centres in Western Australia in the past 24 hours, with Mandurah being particularly hard hit this morning.

Mandurah was drenched by an incredible 57mm of rain between 2am and 9am, which is more than four times the monthly average. Additionally, it was the highest daily total for January in six years. Bickley also received heavy downpours during the morning hours, with 37mm tumbling down between 6am and 9am.

Rainfall rates were intense enough for flash flooding to take place, while there have been reports of power outages in Mandurah and parts of Perth. This is not surprising given the number of lightning strikes and the strength of some wind gusts associated with the thunderstorm activity.

Mandurah recorded a wind gust of 78km/h early in the morning, while over 2000 lightning strikes were recorded within a 30km radius of the centre of town between midnight and midday today. Over 1000 lightning strikes were recorded within a 40km radius of Perth during the same period, with the majority of strikes occurring over southern and eastern suburbs.

The thunderstorms across the western half of Western Australia have been triggered by a deepening region of low pressure. This area of low pressure will remain slow-moving through the remainder of Friday, so there will be a further risk of severe thunderstorms for western and central districts. While thunderstorms are not guaranteed for Perth this afternoon, they will be a significant risk, so it would be worthwhile to have the car undercover and to be prepared for adverse weather.

Thunderstorm activity will contract eastwards across the weekend, with the risk of severe weather continuing for the Central Wheat Belt and Southeast Coastal districts. However, residents of both Perth and Mandurah can expect a return of clear and dry skies for both Saturday and Sunday.

- Weatherzone

© Weatherzone 2012

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