Monster storms: southern half of Western Australia braces for second cyclonic 125km/h blast

Tuesday, June 12, 2012
By Paul Martin
June 12, 2012

AUSTRALIA – Strong winds battered South-West coastal communities of Western Australia as a dangerous storm front approached overnight. The intense storm packing dangerous winds of up to 125km/h – consistent with a category two cyclone – is expected to persist into the early hours of this morning. Last night Cape Naturaliste and Cape Leeuwin have already recorded gusts of up to 96km/h, while winds at Busselton Airport have touched 87km/h. Closer to the metropolitan area, Rottnest Island was also being buffeted with persistent gusts above 80km/h. FESA warned people living in parts of WA, south of a line from Geraldton to Laverton to Forrest, to take action with the start of the dangerous weather. “This intense storm will be of similar strength to the system that affected the southwest on Sunday,” FESA said in a statement late yesterday. If they have not already done so, FESA advises that people should stay away from windows and ensure pets and animals are in a safe area. Motorists planning travel in or to the South-West region should review unnecessary travel plans. Nine News reports that there has been a scramble for supplies in southern suburbs- with shelves left empty. The highest winds recorded during Sunday’s storm was 146km/h, one of the highest recorded gusts in the South West. But much of the South West was buffeted by destructive gales up to 125km/h. As the clean-up continued from Sunday’s storms, Nine News reports that FESA has called in the defense department, with 100 naval personnel assisting in the Mandurah and Rockingham areas. Another 25 people from South Australia’s SES flew in yesterday, while other states have more crews on standby. Bureau of Meteorology senior forecaster Neil Bennett said the winds would be particularly strong on the south coast, but would affect the entire southern half of the state. “It is going to be really nasty down there,” Mr. Bennett said. “Everywhere is going to be hit, but the worst of it is going to be that south coastal area.” Mr. Bennett said destructive winds could last until about 2am (WST). “Overnight we can expect those 125km/h winds and as we’ve seen this week, that sort of wind is strong enough to start taking the roofs off houses.” Mr. Bennett said the storm, a typical strong winter cold front will contain thunderstorms which will bring wind gusts equally as destructive as Sunday’s winds. –

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