Gale force winds smash NSW coast

In Australasia, Floods & Storms, News Headlines

Emergency crews in New South Wales have received around 2,500 calls for help and up to 40,000 homes are without power after a severe windstorm battered the state.

At the peak of the storm 100,000 houses in the Illawarra and Shoalhaven regions lost electricity as winds of around 100 kilometres an hour blew over trees and brought down powerlines.

Emergency crews will resume work on Monday morning to help communities who have been badly hit.

The SES has received 2,500 calls for assistance mostly in the Illawarra and South Coast areas.

Spokeswoman Erin Pogmore says most of the calls have been for fallen trees and damaged roofs.

They are also keeping an eye on seven flood warnings issued for the New England and southern parts of the state.

“Tomorrow we’ll be focussing most of our attention on making sure that we do get those communities back up and running that have been experiencing difficulties as a result of the weather,” she said.

“We’ll also be making sure that those ones that are going to be affected by the flooding, if it does happen, are well informed and also that they’re prepared.

“We have had the bureau cancel the severe weather warning that was in place and we’ve seen the weather has calmed down quite significantly since then which is excellent news for our crews.

“There are still around seven flood warnings out across the state though so we do have crews monitoring those rivers.”

Power companies are warning it could be another two days before supply is fully restored.

Shoalhaven Water has also asked residents to avoid flushing their toilets or having showers.

Spokeswoman Carmel Krogh says crews are trying to empty the stations manually, but in the meantime people should conserve water.

“[Don’t] have a shower for example. Certainly people without power won’t be able to do washing but if you did happen to have power it would be appreciated if you didn’t do any washing; certainly just basically running taps and anything of that type that you’re discharging the sewerage system,” she said.

“We have over 200 sewer pump stations without power so we are attempting to empty those stations manually through tankers and generators and it would be really appreciated and help us greatly if people conserved water, which meant that the impact on the sewer system was also lessoned.”

The central coast and parts of Sydney were also buffeted; homes were damaged south of the city and on the northern beaches.

Rod Howard from Integral Energy says the winds have slowed down repair work and blocked access to some areas.

“In realistic terms it could take anything up to 48 hours before we would get supply back,” he said.

The weather bureau has issued a flood warning for the Belubula River at Canowindra in the state’s central-west.

The river was expected to peak at around 4.1 metres early this evening but flooding is not expected to impact on the township.

Meanwhile, emergency services in Canberra have also received about 250 calls from people affected by the strong winds.

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