More than 110,000 homes and businesses are without power today after a storm delivering destructive 86mph winds ripped through Perth and the South-West yesterday.
The savage storm caused widespread destruction to the Western Power network across the South West as wind gusts reaching 86 mph – the same as a category two cyclone – lashed Perth and the South-West.
Western Power spokeswoman Miriam Borthwick said there was more damage — with hundreds of power poles and powerlines torn down — than in any previous storm.
It is likely to take days to restore power to some customers, with hundreds of Western Power crews working around the clock to repair damaged infrastructure.
Several people were trapped in a block of units in Tuart Hill yesterday afternoon after the roof was ripped off their unit complex.
Western Power has diverted all crews to emergency work following extensive damage to the electricity network.
At 6.30pm yesterday, a spokeswoman said Western Power had restored power to about 20,000 customers affected by the outages, but more than 140,000 homes were still without electricity and many were likely to stay off throughout the night.
More than 170 powerlines and more than 230 streetlight wires were brought down in the storms in the metropolitan area and South-West. Many areas were without streetlighting overnight.
"The storm is still impacting the network, particularly in the south-west of the state," she said.
At the height of the crisis more than 160,000 were without electricity and more than 700 faults recorded.
Ferry services to and from Rottnest Island were also affected by the rough weather, and flights were delayed at Perth Airport, although none were cancelled.
More than 150 FESA State Emergency Service (SES) volunteers from 18 units have worked through the night to help people affected by the storm.
The SES answered more than 300 calls for help yesterday. Mandurah and Rockingham were the worst hit by the storm.
The Lower South-West and South-West received more than 50 calls for assistance from Busselton, Bunbury, Harvey and Capel, including 16 high priority requests.
“We’ve had some very destructive wind gusts just as powerful as the tornado this week (in Dianella),” the spokesman said.
“We are expecting some significant damage to homes without a tornado, just because of the storm itself."
Several people working in laboratories at the QEII Medical Centre were evacuated following a crane collapse, but a hospital spokeswoman said no patients or hospital staff had been evacuated.