DOWN at Yanakie, where they had winds over 100km/h yesterday, dairy farmer Ash Zuidema had 140 of his 170 cows through when the power went out last night.
That was at about 5.45pm and it only came back on at 11 o’clock this morning.
“I had two sides left to go when the lights went off and initially thought someone had turned them off on me,” said Ash Zuidema
“I’ve got two generators, but I’ve been meaning to get one of them fixed and wouldn’t you know it, the other one wouldn’t start, and I had to call around to my neighbours to borrow another one.”
But they’re a pretty tight knit group down there and Ash soon had a borrowed one to finish the job last night.
“The problem is we couldn’t cool the milk but it was alright over night and they’ll hopefully be here early this morning. But we’ll have no hot water for the wash up tonight if the power doesn’t come back on.”
Ash managed to hook the tractor up to the shed for the lights and agitator and got a generator from Dave Vuillermin for the milking machine. He also had to do the same trick for milking this morning but thankfully the power returned mid-morning.
First job for Ash was finding someone to fix the newer of his generators.
It’s hardly surprising the power should go out during the evening milking on Thursday. Wind gusted to 122km/h at 5.30pm on Thursday night, and as high as 145km/h, virtually hurricane-force on Wilsons Prom at .7.30pm last night, with a constant speed of 119km/h.
That was just one of thousands of stories from people across Gippsland and the state’s east who woke up without power, as many as 83,000 customers at the height of last night’s storm and according to Helina Lilley, External Corporate Communications Manager at AusNet Services it could take days in some cases to get poles and wires back up and the power back on again.
Across this area, the hills and coastal areas are worst hit.
At Yanakie 299 properties are out, at Foster 35, at Mirboo North 196, Hallston 94, Leongatha 10, Venus Bay 44 and Tarwin Lower 95.
The situation is far worse in East Gippsland, as if they haven’t had their share of problems this year.
“It’s going to be a really big clean-up,” Ms Lilley said.
“At the height of the storm we had as many as 83,000 outages, there’re still 52,458 people without power.
“The damage is extensive and it’s going to take a long time to clean up. In most cases that will be hours but in some cases it could take days.”
The Ausnet spokesperson said crews were out last night but the extent of the damaged across Eastern Victoria was only becoming apparent in the daylight, with aerial support going up to find the location of the outages, where power lines are down and where trees have fallen across the network.
Follow the outage tracker website at https://www.outagetracker.com.au/ to keep up to date with the return of power, call 1300360795 if you don’t have power for your computer or smart phone or the emergency power line number 131799 if you see live wires down.
“There’s 100s of kilometres of lines to be checked, trees to be cleared, lines and in some cases poles to be put up again. ”
Ms Lilley said the community should treat any power lines or power poles down as being live.
Emergency services have reported damage to a house at Foster.
Among the outages listed by Ausnet are Nyora 30, Poowong 5, Poowong East 14, Mt Eccles 14, Poowong North 14, Wild Dog Valley 16, Strzelecki 62, Stony Creek 4, Dollar 7, Foster North 40, Toora 16, and more than 200 in the area between Toora and Binginwarri. At Mirboo North there are still 196 without power, Hallston 94, Berrys Creek 83, Leongatha North 21, and Leongatha 10.
At Phillip Island, the wind knocked down trees across the island but there were power outages reported.
More details to follow.
Keep up to date with outages in your area at: https://www.outagetracker.com.au/