http://www.perthnow.com.au/news/wes...damaged-in-storm/story-e6frg13u-1226525796784Destructive 100km/h winds lash city, suburbs, Terrace Hotel damaged
November 28, 2012 11:39AM
A BRUTAL storm has left more than 50,000 homes in Perth and regional Western Australia without power, as emergency services scrambled to cope with widespread damage to schools, heritage buildings and homes across the state.
Dozens of fallen power lines left tens of thousands in the dark, at least two schools were badly damaged, while Perth's new $20 million boutique luxury hotel had its roof ripped off and a chimney demolished by the vicious gusts of wind that blasted the coast.
The Terrace Hotel was opened only at the beginning of November, after an extensive and expensive renovation designed to attract A-list celebrity visitors.
Police and emergency services were forced to close St George's Terrace around the refurbished building after a nearby pedestrian walkway was showered with rubble from the hotel's roof.
Police and emergency services cordoned off the area for several hours, as glass and brick continued to fall on the street below.
Around the city damage was widespread, with the Department of Fire and Emergency Services (DFES) answering around 100 calls for help, and Main Roads reporting numerous roads closed due to fallen trees and other debris.
The northern suburbs of Wanneroo, Stirling and the Perth CBD were worst hit, with the Avon Vale Primary School in Northam receiving significant structural damage and immediately saying it would be shut on Thursday.
Samson Primary School, in the city's south, had damage to the roof of an undercover area, while Perth's Beatty Park Aquatic Centre, which was recently refurbished, was also damaged and evacuated for safety reasons.
Power lines were brought down by falling trees in several suburbs, with police closing roads in Bayswater after several lines were felled by one tree.
Western Power was responding to almost 500 hazards, with the worst affected areas in Armadale, Morley and Forrestfield in the Perth metro area, and Collie and York.
More than 20,000 calls for assistance were received in four hours, the company said.
A post on social media showed a Virgin flight apparently abandoning an attempted landing at Perth Airport as winds continued to gust.
And school leavers' celebrations at Rottnest Island and Dunsborough were dampened by the unseasonal weather.
Thousands of schoolies celebrating on Rottnest Island were battered by winds of up to 117km/h. Ferry companies are keeping a watch on conditions before deciding whether services would run on schedule on Thursday.
At the Dunsborough Lakes campsite, 40 tents were destroyed, leaving hundreds of youngsters without anywhere to sleep, as clothes and belongings were blown into a nearby creek.
Boats in Bunbury, Mosman Park and Bull Creek were sheared from moorings by the strong winds.
Surf Lifesaving WA closed all metropolitan and South West beaches because of dangerous conditions.
The cold front crossed the coast at Cape Naturaliste at 2.30pm WST, with forecasters warning of wind gusts up to 125km/h into the evening.
In regional areas, Dwellingup recorded wind speeds of 89km/h winds and Esperance 94km/h.
The Bureau of Meteorology advised severe thunderstorms were likely to produce damaging winds, large hailstones and heavy rain which may lead to flash flooding in parts of the Goldfields, Eucla, South Interior and South East Coastal districts.