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Storm Hits Melbourne: 174,000 Homes Powerless Amid Widespread Outages


In Melbourne, a powerful storm wreaked havoc, toppling trees, claiming one life, and leaving 174,000 homes without power. The severe weather, impacting significant areas of Victoria on Tuesday, brought torrential rain and gusts exceeding 150 km/h (90 mph), according to reports from the state government and emergency services.

Tragically, a 50-year-old dairy farmer lost his life during the storm. Victoria police reported that he was apparently struck by flying debris while working on a roof.

The storm also intensified bushfires in the Grampians region west of Melbourne, leading to the destruction of homes in Pomonal, a town with a few hundred residents, as stated by the state's Country Fire Authority.

At its peak, the storm left 530,000 homes and businesses without power, and even on Wednesday, 174,000 properties remained affected. The Australian Energy Market Operator expressed the magnitude of the widespread damage, indicating that it might take days or even weeks to fully restore electricity to those impacted.

The destructive winds caused extensive damage, tearing off roofs, uprooting trees, and flattening electricity pylons, as documented in media reports and images shared on social media platforms.

Furthermore, fallen transmission towers prompted the shutdown of Loy Yang A, Victoria's largest electricity generator. The state's energy authority mentioned that this event marked one of the most significant outage incidents in the state's history, emphasizing the challenge posed by the storm.

Lightning strikes during the storm ignited multiple fires in Victoria, adding to the challenges faced by emergency responders. In the Grampians region, the flames consumed several residential homes in Pomonal, with the exact number yet to be determined.

Authorities in Victoria are actively working to restore power and assess the full extent of fire damage. As the state experiences a reduction in bushfire and weather warnings, the aftermath of this intense storm underscores the need for ongoing vigilance and preparedness in the face of unpredictable weather events.

Feb. 14, 2024 3:54 p.m. 2189

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