Afternoon downpour causes havoc in Perth

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Caitlyn RintoulThe West Australian
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Authorities were called to several crashes and pole-top fires following afternoon showers in Perth.
Camera IconAuthorities were called to several crashes and pole-top fires following afternoon showers in Perth. Credit: Caitlyn Rintoul/The West Australian

Perth had its first taste of winter weather today, with rainfall totals that haven’t been seen in the city for six months after a hot and dry summer.

The heavy downpour experienced across the city on Tuesday afternoon was last recorded in Perth on August 31 last year, according to Bureau of Meteorology duty forecaster Luke Huntington.

“The last time there was this much rain was back in August. On the 31st we had 28mm,” he said.

He said while the cold front brought wet weather to much of the metropolitan and South West, the low was only tipped at 17C.

The lowest overnight temperature for the week is expected to be on Thursday, with a dip to 12 to 13C.

“From Friday it’ll rocket back up to 30C,” he said.

Jarrahdale, 45 km south-east of Perth, recorded 20mm by 4pm with rain tipped to continue into the evening before easing about 8pm.

The city central wasn’t far off with 18mm to 4pm, followed by Bickley at 18mm and 11mm was recorded at Perth Airport.

As it rained in Perth , authorities were called to several crashes across the city and a pole-top fire.

In Victoria Park, firefighters closed a section of Geddes Street and Western Power’s emergency crew was called in after a fire broke out on a power pole about 2.50pm.

The fire was caused by light rain interacting with dust on insulators after recent dry weather.

Adjacent to Victoria Park Primary School, the incident caused traffic to temporarily build up in the area just on school pick-up time.

Just before 3pm, firefighters were called to help clear a two-car collision near Main Street and Beryl Street in Balcatta.

At least 587 faults and outages left Western Power customers without electricity across the city, according to the utility’s website.

A Western Power spokesman said crews worked to restore power to approximately 90 customers in Victoria Park impacted by the unplanned outage on Tuesday.

“The cause of the outage has been reported as pole top arcing along an insulator which has led to a small fire, damaging a cross arm on the pole,” he said.

“Pole top arcing and associated pole top fires occur on all above ground networks around the world and happen when light rain or mist combines with pollution and dust build up allowing electricity to track across insulators, heating metal on the pole.”

Anyone who spots a fire or the potential for pole top arcing is urged to call Western Power on 13 13 51 and report the potential hazard.

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