Subscribe free to our newsletters via your
. Earth Science News .

Subscribe free to our newsletters via your

Chaos as freak storm batters Australia's Perth

An emergency worker inspects a van surrounded by mud in Perth on March 23, 2010 after a landslide was triggered by a freak storm the night before. Some 100,000 people were without power after the freak storm battered the Australian city of Perth, hurling golf ball-sized hailstones and causing floods and landslides. Photo courtesy AFP.
by Staff Writers
Perth (AFP) March 23, 2010
Some 100,000 people were left without power Tuesday after a freak storm battered the Australian city of Perth, hurling golf ball-sized hailstones and causing floods and landslides.

Western Australia premier Colin Barnett estimated a damage bill of hundreds of millions of dollars after the wild weather smashed into the city late on Monday, paralysing flights and commuter traffic.

Thousands of residents jammed emergency phone lines as falling trees downed power cables and crashed into homes in the worst storm seen in years. Hospitals were flooded and some damaged schools remained closed on Tuesday.

"I think from my memory this would be the most severe weather conditions we've had since the famous May storm in 1994, where we had very, very strong winds and a massive loss of power supply," Barnett told public broadcaster ABC.

"Hopefully the damage to the power supply won't be as severe but I suspect this time we've got a lot more damage to buildings and housing."

Nearly 160,000 homes lost power at the height of the storm, which brought wind gusts over 120 kilometres (75 miles) per hour and dumped nearly 40 millimetres (1.6 inches) of rain.

About 20 people were evacuated from one hospital's emergency room after the roof collapsed, while a landslip near the city centre crushed two parked cars and filled one apartment with mud.

Stained-glass windows and glasshouses were shattered at The University of Western Australia, where vice-chancellor Allan Robson said there had been "considerable" damage.

"We were in the eye of the storm, the hail was incredible, the rain was incredible," Robson said.

An "insurance catastrophe" had been declared for the city, the Insurance Council of Australia said.

Cars had their windscreens and back windows smashed by the hailstones, while hazardous driving conditions worsened when 150 sets of traffic lights went blank. Some central office buildings were evacuated for safety reasons.

Further storms are forecast to follow the unusual weather, which comes after Perth's driest southern hemisphere summer on record with just 0.2 millimetres of rain in December, January and February.

On Sunday, a category two cyclone hit the Great Barrier Reef coastline on Australia's east, ripping trees out of the ground and smashing boats and houses.

Share This Article With Planet Earth DiggDigg RedditReddit
YahooMyWebYahooMyWeb GoogleGoogle FacebookFacebook

Related Links
Weather News at

Memory Foam Mattress Review
Newsletters :: SpaceDaily :: SpaceWar :: TerraDaily :: Energy Daily
XML Feeds :: Space News :: Earth News :: War News :: Solar Energy News

French rescuers search for more bodies after deadly storm
L'Aiguillon-Sur-Mer, France (AFP) March 1, 2010
Rescuers waded through grey floodwaters in France on Monday looking for more bodies after a fierce storm that killed at least 60 people in Western Europe. The storm dubbed "Xynthia" unleashed gale force winds and torrential rains on Sunday, destroying roads and houses along France's Atlantic coast. The government declared a national emergency. The French toll rose to 51 dead and eight pe ... read more

The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2010 - SpaceDaily. AFP and UPI Wire Stories are copyright Agence France-Presse and United Press International. ESA Portal Reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. Advertising does not imply endorsement,agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by SpaceDaily on any Web page published or hosted by SpaceDaily. Privacy Statement