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WA storm cuts power, hits homes and washes yachts ashore as cold front strikes near Perth

By James Carmody, Gian de Poloni and staff, Tuesday June 5, 2018 - 17:51 EST
ABC image
Two yachts washed up on Palm Beach in Rockingham as the cold front battered the WA coast. - ABC

A powerful cold front has brought damaging northerly gusts and heavy rainfall to much of southern Western Australia, leaving more than 35,000 properties without power and washing yachts ashore.

Coastal regions from Kalbarri in the north to Albany in the south have been hit by the blackouts, with Geraldton and the Dunsborough-Yallingup areas amongst the hardest hit.

Western Power said crews were still trying to assess the damage to the network, and more bad weather forecast for later today would slow down restoration efforts.

Meanwhile, State Emergency Service (SES) crews have been called out 50 homes with storm damage across the state since last night.

A Department of Fire and Emergency Services (DFES) spokesperson said damaged areas were not concentrated in any one area of Perth, with residents in Balcatta, Belmont, Leederville and Leeming all needing help.

The wild weather has also caused damage elsewhere, with yachts tossed ashore at Palm Beach in Rockingham, in the city's outer southern suburbs, and in Bunbury in the South West.

A houseboat also succumbed off Dawesville near Mandurah when it took on water and began sinking.

Record rain dumped on Gascoyne

Parts of the Gascoyne received significant rainfall, with Shark Bay airport copping 95.6mm in the 24 hours to 9:00am — smashing the previous daily record for June of 60.6mm, set in 2012.

Denham recorded 98mm, beating the previous June daily record of 96.5mm, set in 1965.

The system was set to impact the coast from Cape Leeuwin before the bulk of it arrives in the Perth metropolitan area between 11:00am and 1:00pm.

Perth is expected to receive 15 to 30mm of rain, while parts of the hills could see up to 50mm.

Unusually high tides are expected between Kalbarri and Walpole.

Along with rough seas, it could cause flooding and erosion in low-lying coastal areas such as Geographe Bay.

Drivers have been advised to consider putting off any unnecessary travel as the cold front moves through.

The storm is likely to taper off rapidly as it moves inland, though the western Wheatbelt and western Great Southern will continue to experience heavy rainfall.

Winds fan fire near Albany

While the rain is expected to dissipate, strong and possibly damaging winds will continue to affect eastern and south-eastern parts of the state.

Gusts of 109 kilometres per hour were recorded in Busselton while Albany Airport was buffeted by 94kph winds.

The winds fanned a bushfire on private property in the Great Southern, with conditions — when three blazes burnt out of control and one home was destroyed.

The latest fire was burning near the intersection of South Coast Highway and Drawbin Road, about 60 kilometres north-east of Albany.

DFES Great Southern Superintendent Wayne Green told ABC Great Southern while the fire was not expected to get any worse, the conditions were poor.

"The winds are colossal out there," he said.

"It just shows that the winds ahead of this front are going to be very similar to what we got last week."

The local council has urged all residents to extinguish any lingering burn-offs to avoid another bushfire emergency.


© ABC 2018

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