A “once-in-a-decade” storm with wind speeds topping 80 mph causes major blackout in Western Australia.
At its peak, more than 62,000 customers were without electricity, the majority in state capital Perth and the surrounding suburbs.
The Bureau of Meteorology revealed that the storm stemmed from two colliding weather systems: the remnants of tropical Cyclone Mangga and a cold front pushing in from the south.
Sunday 24 May saw the worst of the weather, with winds of 82 mph recorded at Cape Leeuwin, one of the most south-westerly points of Perth. These were the strongest gusts posted in the month of May for 15 years.
Heavy winds and torrential rain impacted a near 750 mile stretch of the Western Australia coastline.
The wild weather downed thousands of trees and caused waves of more than eight metres. Towns throughout the area posted anywhere from 40mm to 100mm of rainfall. Thankfully, there have been no reports of casualties or serious injuries.
Blackout Leaves Thousands Without Electricity
Utility company Western Power stated 62,000 homes were without power at the height of the storm on Sunday. Continued poor weather on the Monday hampered attempts to restore supplies, with around 10,000 customers still affected.
However, as conditions eased on the Tuesday, the state-owned operator reported that there were only a few hundred properties without power.
Some wild weather has affected large parts of WA, causing wide spread damage and large scale power outages. Please listen to the advice of emergency services and stay safe everyone. https://t.co/RqlhELWl7N— Scott Morrison (@ScottMorrisonMP) May 24, 2020
Australia’s Biggest Ever Blackout
Storms and severe weather are some of the most common causes of power problems.
However, the incident in Western Australia pales into comparison with the events of September 2016.
A “once in 50 years” storm caused the complete shutdown of the electricity network in the state of South Australia.
Winds of 160 mph and 80,000 lightning strikes caused damage that left 1.7 million residents without electricity.
Last month, strong winds in excess of 70 mph knocked out more than 200 electricity pylons in Nashville, Tennessee in the United States.
The storm left more than 131,000 customers in the dark.