Strong windstorm hits Victoria and Tasmania, leaving 71 000 homes without power

A strong cold front hit the Australian states of Victoria and Tasmania on February 14, 2018, producing damaging wind gusts and lifting up some dust. At least one person was injured in Victoria and more than 50 000 homes were left without power. In Tasmania, the storm left some 21 000 homes without power and caused major traffic delays.

The storm brought winds between 40 and 60 km/h (25 – 37 mph) to Victoria with damaging gusts up to 133 km/h (83 mph). It caused structural damage and caused major traffic delays, downed numerous trees and caused power outages to more than 50 000 homes at the height of the storm.

Major traffic delays occurred on a number of suburban train and tram lines after trees fell onto tracks and power lines, ABC reported.

Victoria SES said they responded to more than 600 calls for assistance, most of them around Melbourne’s southeast and the Mornington Peninsula.

At least one person was injured and taken to a hospital after he was hit by a falling tree.

Strongest gusts were recorded at Wilsons Prom at 133 km/h (83 mph), 109 km/h (68 mph) at St Kilda and 106 km/h (66 mph) at Sth Channel Island near Rosebud.

First reports mention some 100 damaged homes and buildings in Victoria alone.

The Australian Bureau of Meteorology forecaster Dean Steward said the dust that hit Melbourne was picked up from western Victoria. “It certainly hasn’t been that prolific so I wouldn’t call it a dust storm, but there has been some raised dust.”

Steward added there was very little rain associated with this storm, with only about 8 mm (0.3 inches) in the west of the state and some showers in the eastern suburbs of Melbourne.

After hitting Victoria, the storm moved to Tasmania where it left 21 000 homes without power, numerous buildings damaged and hours-long traffic chaos in the Hobard CBD.

“I think the intensity caught everybody by surprise, so we’re getting reports at the moment of everything from trampolines into lines, roofs through lines, trees through lines, so it’s the intensity of the wind as well as lightning that’s really caused us quite intense problems,” said Jason King from TasNetworks.

The strongest wind gust in Tasmania was 146 mph (91 mph), recorded on Kind Island.

Featured image: Cold front hits Victoria, Australia on February 14, 2018. Credit: Andrew B Watkins @windjunky

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