More than 16,000 Australians without power as winter storm causes chaos


More than 16,000 Australian homes and businesses in the southern Australian state of Vicotria were without power on Wednesday morning after high winds battered the state overnight.

AusNet Services reported the most unplanned outages, with more than 15,000 around 9 a.m. The outages were heaviest east of Melbourne and in the far south east of the state.

The Victoria State Emergency Service also said it responded to 254 calls for help between 12pm and 8.20am on Wednesday, including 214 for fallen trees.

“Be careful when on the road this morning and watch out for fallen trees, branches and power lines,” the organization warned on social media.

High winds battered the state well into the wee hours of the morning, with Mount Hotham recording gusts of 80 mph around 2:20 a.m. and Mount William recording 76 mph around 12 p.m.

Melbourne Airport recorded gusts of 82km/h just after 12.30am, while Moorabbin Airport recorded 85km/h around 1.15am.

A severe weather warning remains in place Wednesday morning for damaging winds in parts of East Gippsland, as well as the North East, West and South Gippsland forecast districts.

The winds are driven by a strong cold front moving across eastern Victoria, which is bringing with it damaging winds with peak gusts of up to 110 km/h in the eastern ranges.

Conditions are expected to ease in the region through Wednesday afternoon.

However, the Bureau of Meteorology warns that another cold front will approach the state late Wednesday evening, with further damaging winds expected in the southwest.

Maximum gusts are expected to reach around 90 km/h.

There is also an air quality warning for winds blowing dust from central Australia from Wednesday morning through Thursday.

Both Melbourne and Geelong are expected to have poor air quality as a result.


Australian Associated Press is an Australian news agency.


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