Torrential rain and wild winds wreak havoc on Albany and Denmark

Staff reportersAlbany Advertiser
VideoThe Great Southern was hit with flash flooding with the State Emergency Services responding to 115 calls for help mostly in Albany

Homes have been flooded, roads washed away and thousands of families left without power in Albany and Denmark after a wild storm wreaked widespread havoc on WA’s south coast.

Albany State Emergency Service volunteers have been called out to about 150 jobs since 6pm yesterday, with 50mm of rain falling overnight and winds gusting up to 100km/h.

About 13,000 homes are without power this morning from Albany to Denmark.

The main roads between the two towns — South Coast Highway and Lower Denmark Road — sustained significant structural damage and remain closed.

The City of Albany has urged people to stay indoors if possible with clean-up crews hard at work and conditions still posing risks.

Albany SES manager Robert Boyes said it was the most widespread storm damage he had seen.

“The requests for assistance are ranging from roofs off, guttering gone, a lot of tree damage. A lot of people can’t get out of their driveways because trees are across the road,” Mr Boyes said.

“It is compounded by the fact there is a lot of power off and a lot of people don’t have water as well.”

“The railway line down at Cuthbert was damaged to the extent they had to cancel all the trains.”

“The coastal strips seems to be pretty well hammered and some of the trees have gone over. On Hanrahan Road there are massive trees there that have taken out the power lines.”

Mr Boyes said it had been a non-stop night for emergency responders and they still had a lot of work ahead of them.

With the amount of damage across Albany, he called for patience as SES volunteers attend the most urgent jobs first.

“We’ve had assistance from all of the bushfire brigades are out here from Napier, Kalgan, Upper Great Southern, South Coast — they’ve all come in with their trucks to pump water because there has been major flooding all over the place.

“There is a lot of debris on the road so the City of Albany has been driving around with some of their machinery just pushing stuff out of the way so people can actually drive around.”

In Yakamia, Warwick Meyer was watching Formula 1 when he heard a loud bang.

To his surprise, he found a metal pole sticking through through a wardrobe in his house.

It was only when he was went outside that he realised it was the leg of a neighbour’s trampoline which had gone through his roof and into his house.

City of Albany mayor Dennis Wellington was due to fly back home from Perth last night but said it was too risky to land and the pilot had to turn back.

“He tried to land but the plane bounced all over the sky and he aborted it...said, ‘No, it’s far too dangerous’ — we couldn’t even see the ground,” Mr Wellington told 6PR.

Mr Wellington said he drove back to the Great Southern overnight.

City infrastructure, development and environment director Paul Camins said the trail of damage would take days to clear.

The National Anzac Centre and Princess Royal Fortress were closed while crews assessed the damage to the site, including to the roof of the NAC.

Waste transfer stations at Redmond and Wellstead would also remain closed today because of storm damage.

“It’s still very windy today so if you don’t need to be out, we would encourage you to stay home while our crews and emergency services clean-up,” Mr Camins said.

“Some areas have been hit worse than others so patience is encouraged when dealing with local services and facilities that won’t be at full capacity today and potentially longer.”

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