Severe storm lashes vast expanse of west Australian coast

PERTH, AUSTRALIA (AP) – Tens of thousands of homes and businesses lost power, buildings were battered and trees were uprooted as a vast stretch of the west Australian coast was whipped by a severe storm yesterday for the second straight day.

No casualties were reported from what Acting Assistant Commissioner of Western Australia state’s Department of Fire and Emergency Services Jon Broomhall called a “a once-in-a-decade-type” storm system.

The system that struck an extraordinarily large area was the result of remnants of late-season Cyclone Mangga tracking southeast and colliding in the southern Indian Ocean with a northeast-moving cold front.

The combined weather system lashed a 1,200-kilometre stretch of the west coast from Carnarvon to Cape Leeuwin and including the state capital, Perth, with winds gusting at more than 90km/h overnight, Bureau of Meteorology manager Neil Bennett said.

Wind speeds reached 132km/h at Cape Leeuwin, the fastest for the month of May since 2005. Heavy rains lashed 1,500 kilometres of coastline from the Margaret River region in the south to Exmouth in the north. The rain caused flooding along the coast and eroded beaches, Bennett said.

It was really right up and down the coast, including the Perth area, but particularly that southwest area of (Western Australia state) really caught the brunt of this one,” Bennett said of the storm.

A row of damaged shops in Perth, Australia. PHOTO: AP