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Archive for June 29th, 2009

WILD weather has caused havoc across Perth, uprooting trees, tearing off roofs and plunging homes into darkness.   

Winds travelling at more than 100km/h tore through the city overnight, ripping the roof off a granny flat in Doubleview, collapsing a ceiling in Joondalup and blowing in the windows of a house in City Beach.

More than 17,000 are believed to be without power because of the storm, mostly in the Perth hills.

State and Emergency Services (SES) have recorded 70 calls for help since 7am, with a total of 125 incidents logged since 6pm last night and 240 properties impacted.

Damage has been reported in coastal suburbs from Two Rocks to Rockingham and all SES units in the metropolitan area have been activated with volunteers in Northamweather called in for backup.

A series of cold fronts have been lashing the city since Friday, with Rottnest, Ocean Reef, Mandurah and Bickley some of the worst hit areas.

Ocean Reef recorded a wind gust of 107km/h and gusts of 115km/h were recorded at Rottnest, where ferry services have been cancelled.

The ports of Fremantle and Kwinana ports have suspended operations until midday.

Across the state, Cape Naturalist and Cape Leeuwin recorded wind gusts of up to 109km/h.  There have been reports of fallen trees and minor damage to homes in Bunbury, Busselton and Capel.

The WA Bureau of Meteorology says it is the wettest day of the year.

Flights from Perth’s international terminal are running half an hour behind schedule, and Main Roads are urging motorists to slow down and take care in the inclement weather.

Near the city, waves from the Swan River were lapping around peak hour traffic on the Kwinana Freeway this morning, while Riverside Drive and parts of Beaufort St have isolated flooding.

Traffic lights are out on the intersection of Great Eastern Highway and Stoneville Rd in Mundaring and at the junction of Kalamunda Rd and Gooseberry Hill Rd.

WA Bureau of Meteorology climate information officer John Relf says 23.2mm of rain has fallen overnight taking Perth much closer to the 177mm average with 147.8mm of rain recorded this month.

“We have exceeded last year’s June rainfall of 142mm,” he said.

Heavy rain has been reported from Collie to Walpole.

WA Water Corporation spokeswoman Clare Lugar says dams should have now started benefiting from the all rainfall.

“Up until Friday the streams hadn’t started to flow,” Ms Lugar said.  “But we are expecting it to have begun flowing over the weekend.” 

The wild weather is expected to ease up later tonight with fine weather forecast by Thursday.

Source  :   www.news.com.au

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TWO Australian women on a bus tour of Hollywood stars’ houses have told of the chaotic scenes as they accidentally witnessed the King of Pop’s final exit.

Helen Battaglia of Alfred Cove and her friend, Sally Wilson of Melbourne, were on a Starlight bus tour when their driver decided to show them Michael Jackson’s mansion.

“We turned into where Michael Jackson’s been staying and as we came round the corner we saw a fire truck.”                                                                  The+Best+Of+Michael+Jackson

“The driver said ‘Oh there’s a fire truck here, there’s a bit happening’.”

Ms Wilson said the bus pulled up in front of the gates of the mansion while photographers milled around the entrance.

“All of a sudden the gates open and out came the ambulance while paparazzi were all running and banging and trying to take photos in the back of the ambulance,” she said.

Ms Battaglia said the scene became chaotic as Jackson’s staff fought to block the paparazzi from grabbing final pictures of the dying star.

Ms Wilson said passengers on the bus had no idea what they were witnessing.

“It was all happening. We weren’t sure who was in the car at that stage,” she said.

“They were just yelling out and then the ambulance took off and two black SUVs came out of the driveway and followed it.”

The women said photographers dashed to follow the ambulance.

“The paparazzi were running towards our bus saying ‘go go go’,” Ms Battaglia said.

“They got in a car and took off driving erratically, chasing the ambulance,” she said.

“I couldn’t believe what was going on. It was surreal.”

As their bus then left the scene, the driver paused to speak to a local woman who sells maps to the stars’ houses.

“She was crying on the phone and the bus driver stopped and said “Mary, what’s going on? Is it him?” Ms Wilson said.

“She was wailing and crying but she couldn’t talk, she just said “Yes, it’s him. It’s Michael.”

The two women were feeling flat after their brush with celebrity death.

“Today we’re a bit sad about the whole thing,” Ms Wilson said.

The event lent a bizarre and tragic twist to a celebrity-filled day for the two Australians, who were staying at the historic Hotel Roosevelt, once home to Marilyn Monroe and Clark Cable.

Earlier that morning, Ms Wilson ran into Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie as they were leaving the hotel.

“That was about 10.30 in the morning. I was just walking down a corridor with no one else there and this door flicks open and there’s Brad and Angelina,” she said.

Source  :  www.news.com.au

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The latest in a series of destructive cold fronts slammed into WA overnight, causing destructive winds, rain and hail storms.

The Bureau of Meteorology issued a severe weather warning at 6.45am, following similar warnings issued throughout the weekend.

Waves from the Swan River are washing onto the Kwinana Freeway north of Canning Highway citybound. There is also flooding on Beaufort Street in Inglewood heading into the city and on Riverside Drive.

Traffic lights are blacked out at the Great Eastern Highway and Bolton Road intersection in Burswood.

The front is the most severe of a series that have descended on WA over the past few days.

A wind gust of 115kmh was recorded at Rottnest Island about 6am today, and the Bureau is warning people to expect winds up to 100kmh with potentially damaging gusts reaching 125kmh this morning.

Alex Krisman from WeatherZone said Cape Naturaliste (109kmh) and Cape Leeuwin (104kmh) also recorded heavy gusts of wind – which coincided with a line of lightning flashes- at the same time as Rottnest Island.

Winds at Perth Airport hit 83kmh while the Perth metropolitan area clocked speeds up to 72kmh at 5.50am.

Rainfall was heavy, particularly across the south west. So far, Bridgetown has had 32mm from 9am yesterday morning.

Thunderstorms and heavy showers are forecast for today, particularly over the Lower West, South-West and South Coastal districts.

Abnormally high tides are set to cause flooding in low-lying coastal areas.

A gale warning has been issued from Kalbarri right through to the South Australian border.

Surfers are being warned to brace for heavy conditions, which are likely to cause significant beach erosion.

The State Emergency Service has warned people to secure loose objects, move vehicles under cover and stay inside away from windows.

People caught outdoors should find shelter away from trees, powerlines, storm water drains and streams. Boat owners should make sure their boats are securely moored.

Source  :   www.watoday.com.au

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