Australia ‘Unbelievable': Residents evacuated, widespread power outages as wild weather lashes state
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One man has died, thousands may be without power for up to a week and residents of one Gippsland town have been evacuated after wild winds and rain caused havoc across most of Victoria.
The Dandenongs, large parts of Gippsland and towns north of Melbourne, including Trentham, were among the areas hit the hardest by the wild weather, resulting in 6700 requests for help from the State Emergency Service over a 24-hour period, its busiest day on record.
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Authorities issued evacuation notices for parts of Traralgon on Thursday morning as the Traralgon Creek burst its banks and inundated homes.
About 1.45pm, police found a man dead in Woodside near the Gippsland Lakes after they were notified that a car was submerged in flood waters.
Victoria woke to scenes of chaos after wild winds and heavy rain swept through the state overnight.
In Olinda, ambulance crews rescuing a woman and her son who had been trapped after a tree fell on their house about 11pm were themselves hampered by a falling tree, which struck a paramedic's car and blocked the path of another crew.
Mother and son rescued, major power outages as wild weather batters Victoria
Thousands of Victorians are without power this morning, after a stormy night which saw SES crews respond to hundreds of calls for help.More than 233,000 homes and businesses were left without power as the storm brought down trees and powerlines.
Police walked more than 1.5 kilometres through the storm to rescue the pair, delivering them to paramedics at Sherbrooke.
In Trentham, one resident said the town, which was left without power and cut off by felled trees, looked like a cyclone had torn through.
"There are literally just trees down everywhere ... it's incredible. Power lines down, there's shredded tree material life all over the road, it's just unbelievable," he told 3AW.
Residents of the town were also advised on Thursdaybecause the storm had affected access to a water treatment plant and a burst water main.
Utility company Coliban Water said inthat the advice was precautionary, but told all residents "do not drink tap water until further notice". It also warned them that "boiling water will not remove any potential contaminants that may enter the distribution system if there is pressure loss in the system".
Victoria braces for MORE rain as residents spend night without power
As tens of thousands of customers in the state remained without power on Thursday night, the Bureau of Meteorology warned more rain would fall in Gippsland on Friday.While Friday's forecast 10-20mm of rain for the Gippsland region will be nothing like the the 270ml deluge that the region has endured, it will affect catchments that are already flooding.
Baw Baw Shire deputy mayor and proprietor of the Star Hotel in Walhalla, Michael Leaney, said his town was cut off by fallen trees and was without power or mobile reception. A historic structure dating back to the gold rush era had also been demolished.
Speaking via a satellite connection, Cr Leaney said it would take some time for the trees to be cleared. "These are not little sticks," he said. "These are massive trees."
By 6pm Thursday night,remained in place for the Traralgon Creek, Thomson River and parts of the Yarra River, from Millgrove to Coldstream.
The Bureau of Meteorology said the wet weather is set to continue, confirming forecasts for between 20 and 30 millimetres of rain in coming days.
"Flood-impacted areas of Gippsland are likely to see further rainfall on Friday and into Saturday," forecaster Matthew Thomas said.
AusNet Services spokesman Steve Brown said power was disrupted to more than 200,000 businesses and households with 157,000 customers - many of whom were still working from home under coronavirus restrictions - still without electricity.
Victoria's emergency crews prepare for another 'big day' of wild weather as residents assess damage
Thousands of Victorians are waking up in the cold and dark for a second morning after wild weather cut power to properties across Melbourne's outer east, Gippsland and Central Victoria. Hundreds who were evacuated from their homes in Traralgon have spent the night with friends and family or in hotels.COVID-19 restrictions prevented them from staying in an evacuation centre.Gippsland residents have described the storm as the worst they've ever seen.Latrobe Valley farmer Thomas Beamish said he had never seen anything like yesterday's conditions."I've lived here all my life and, nah, we've never seen it," Mr Beamish said.
He said it could be up to a week before some of them had their power fully restored.
"This is the most extensive damage to our network from storms that we've experienced," Mr Brown said.
The worst-affected areas for power cuts included the Yarra Ranges, the Dandenongs and suburbs in Melbourne's outer south-east.
"There are still areas we can't get into to work out how bad the damage is."
Powercor confirmed electricity had been restored to 70,000 customers, but 20,000 were still without power on Thursday evening, many of them in Kyneton, Gisborne and Woodend.
In Traralgon, Friday Cullen watched the water climbing up the fence of his home while sitting in a State Emergency Service truck waiting to be driven to safety on Thursday morning.
The Traralgon Creek is normally about two blocks from Mr Cullen's house but the floodwater was in his street and was expected to continue rising.
"It came straight up out of nowhere," he said.
Mr Cullen does not know what happened to his car, but when he evacuated with his wife the water had already reached the top of the tyres.
This incredible rescue of a person trapped in the flooding Traralgon Creek (Courtesy of Traralgon's Brian Ward…who woke up to a chopper flying over his back yard!) Big shout out to our amazing emergency services and all that SES volunteers who've worked hard today
Victoria's largest power plant evacuated as flood crisis continues
The power station produces almost a quarter of Victoria's electricity and the unions said the power station has just three days reserve supply.Three generators at the Yallourn Power Station, east of Trafalgar, were taken offline today after heavy rain caused flooding and landslides.— Emma Field (@SaysEmmaField)
Latrobe City Council mayor Sharon Gibson said hundreds of people had been evacuated in Traralgon.
"About 10 streets at least were evacuated," she said.
Other residents remained on alert on Thursday and there had also been some flooding in the nearby town of Morwell.
A relief centre has been established at the Traralgon basketball stadium, which was triaging evacuees to determine whether they needed ongoing support or assistance with accommodation.
About 70 kilometres away, in the South Gippsland town of Woodside, a rescue team recovered a man's body on Thursday afternoon after members of the public reported a vehicle almost submerged in flood waters. The man is believed to be aged in his 60s.
In Olinda, Sharon Sykes was counting herself lucky after a huge tree fell on her neighbour's house causing extensive damage.
"There are trees down everywhere," she said. "It's like everywhere you go it looks like some huge force of nature has come through and destroyed a lot of our neighbourhood."
With David Estcourt
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Texans urged to conserve power through week as heat wave grips West .
As a heat wave scorches the Southwest, bringing record-shattering temperatures, officials at the Texas power grid operator are warning residents to prepare for continued outages and to conserve energy. The Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) said Monday in a news release that a "significant number of forced generation outages combined with potential record electric use" in June had resulted in "tight grid conditions.