Weather News

Storm pounds Perth and southern WA amid warnings of more wet weather to come

By James Carmody, Friday June 7, 2019 - 18:20 EST
ABC image
Strong winds caused this tree to collapse on Blair Street in Bunbury overnight. - ABC

A strong cold front has swept through the southern half of Western Australia overnight, delivering strong winds and heavy rainfall.

Rottnest Island recorded winds gusts of 98 kilometres per hour, while the strongest winds tore through the South West, blowing at 104 kph at Cape Naturalist and 100 kph at Busselton Jetty.

Bureau of Meteorology (BOM) forecaster Mark Paul said the gusts were sustained.

"They have been blowing pretty much all night, but they will ease off as we head behind the [weather] band," he said.

The South West region also copped a drenching, with Margaret River recording 85.6 millimetres of rainfall between 9:00am yesterday and 4:00am this morning.

Nearby Witchcliffe received 73.8mm over the same period, while about 60 kilometres north the gauge at Busselton Jetty recorded 53mm.

The State Emergency Service said it had received 39 calls for help with storm damage.

Storm leaves thousands without power

The storm caused "a little bit of chaos" to the electricity network.

At the peak there were about 9,000 properties without power, but the figure is now down to under 1,000.

Western Power spokesman Paul Entwistle said while there were few reports of downed power lines and poles, the strong winds blew a lot of debris onto the network.

"Our crews are out there now working steadily through all the reports that are coming through, and they'll be working to have everyone back on wherever possible, as quickly as possible," he said.

"But if there are some repairs needed, some customers may experience a longer outage than would be appreciated by them on a cold morning as we do physical repairs to the network."

Showers set to continue throughout day

Mr Paul said coastal areas, including Perth, would continue to see rainfall through Friday morning, before the band moved eastwards during the day.

"We're going to have rain at first this morning, but by around about 10:00am we're expecting the rear edge of that band to move through the metropolitan area," he said.

"[Then] we should just ease down to a few showers which will persist throughout the day."

The arrival of rainfall late yesterday brought some relief to firefighters battling bushfires in Perth and the South West.

in both directions, but it was re-opened overnight after the fire was contained and controlled.

The rainfall allowed the Department of Fire and Emergency Services to downgrade the alert level for bushfires in Vasse and Jarrahwood to an advice level.

Wetter weekend ahead after dry May

, while a third, which is due to hit on Monday, will bring the strongest winds.

, with only 17.8 millimetres collected during the entire month, the city and surrounding areas are expected to notch up more than 50mm over the next few days.

"The sort of rainfall that we're experiencing over the period of time probably only occurs around once or twice in a winter season," BOM spokesman Neil Bennett said.

"So it's not your normal run-of-the-mill front and it is going to be delivering a lot of rain to a large area of Western Australia.

"Some of the falls up through the Mid West cumulatively over the next three or four days, as well as the South West, could be in excess of 50mm."

Stronger squalls are also expected tomorrow.

"We could see winds in excess of 90 kilometres per hour. If that's the case a warning will be issued and those types of winds can typically cause damage to buildings, bringing down small trees, those sorts of things," Mr Bennett said.

"At this time of the year we've had such a long dry spell and the soil is very, very dry, so trees are susceptible … very often the first storm of the season is the one that brings down a lot of trees."

Emergency services 'may be stretched'

A severe weather warning is in place for damaging winds over parts of the South Coastal and adjacent South West and Great Southern districts.

Department of Fire and Emergency Services assistant commissioner Brad Stringer urged people to prepare their homes by securing loose items, trimming tree branches and clearing out gutters.

"With this storm event if you can do the best that you can to be self-sufficient that would be fantastic for us because our responders may be stretched as we go forward," he said.

"If you don't need to be outside or driving in a car, please stay inside and be in a secure place.

"There may be some localised flooding … if you don't need to be out at the height of the storm it just makes it a lot easier for emergency responders to deal with one less issue."


© ABC 2019

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