By Michael Giles
POWER is out across a wide area of South Gippsland and Bass Coast as Ausnet scrambles to remove trees from lines and repair major damage to the network.
Spokesman for Ausnet, Steve Brown, asked customers to be patient warning it may take hours for power to be restored in some areas.
He said 10,000 Gippsland properties were without as of 6am this morning.
Residents across the area hammered by last night’s storm woke to widespread disaster.
Dumbalk resident Glenda Diggerman said the area was hit by a tornado last night with many trees down across the district, the Tarwin River building to flood levels, power out and roads treacherous.
“There are two trees down across our track and more trees down across the road. We won’t be going anywhere today,” Mrs Diggerman said.
“There are 70 year old trees down.”
The story is the same in other areas.
Locations without power include Inverloch (2200 customers), Wonthaggi, Leongatha, parts of Korumburra (194), Cowes (905), Leongatha South, Middle Tarwin, Outtrim, Pound Creek, Koonwarra, Grantville, Ryanston, Glen Alvie, Kernot, Woolamai, Silverleaves (566), Buffalo, Fish Creek, Foster, Toora, Poowong (348), Bena… in fact it might be easier to mention the towns with power.
Council road hazards / closures – update 8:13am (10 June)
- Loch Wonthaggi Road – between Victoria road and Andersons Hill road is closed due to fallen trees.
- Blandfords Road, Berrys Creek is closed due to fallen trees.
- Loch Poowong Road – between Ferriers and South Road is closed due to fallen trees.
- Soldiers Road, Korumburra – between Bells Road and Korumburra Warragul Road is closed due to a fallen tree.
- Boolarra Mirboo North Road, Mirboo is closed due to fallen trees.
- Bass Valley Road, Loch – between Soldiers Road and Bells Road has been closed to traffic due to fallen trees and dangerous limbs hanging.
- Mount Vernon Road, Berrys Creek – between Strzelecki Highway and Blandfords Road has been closed to traffic due to fallen trees.
- Turtons Creek Road, Turtons Creek – between Foster-Mirboo Road and Central Road has been closed to traffic due to a landslip and fallen trees.
Roads damaged in Bass Coast
There are also roads closed or blocked in Bass Coast but the shire hasn’t yet posted a list.
Their phones are still down this morning:
“Council’s phones are currently down. Due to power outages our Customer Service Centres are also closed. We’re working on getting backup power running and we’ll let you know when our phones are back up and the Centres are open. Apologies for any inconvenience caused.”
For other emergency information on roads, check out the VicRoads tracker at: https://traffic.vicroads.vic.gov.au/
Properties along McBride Avenue from Graham Street to Watt Street, and along Graham Street from McBride Avenue to McKenzie Street/Bass Highway, were without power as of 10am this morning.
The Wonthaggi SES posted the following update on its Facebook page at around 5am this morning.
“Wow what a night and there’s still more weather to come.
“Everyone will be waking up and assessing what damage has been done, and with the weather continuing like this for the rest of the day, take extra care if you need to head out today.”
As of 8.30am, Vic SES has received more than 4000 requests across the state for assistance in the past 24 hours.
Central Gippsland flood warnings
Gippsland South MP Danny O’Brien posted the following update on Facebook this morning: “A shocking night throughout Gippsland. Rain everywhere, trees down, blackouts, roads closed and flood warnings for many rivers.
“More rain forecast for today and the flood threat is serious, particularly around central Gippsland – Traralgon flooding and major flood warnings for the Thomson, Macalister and Avon rivers.
“If you don’t need to be on the roads today, maybe best to stay home but please take care either way.
“Please DO NOT drive through flood waters!!
“How is it at your place?”
A Telstra spokesperson said the storms had caused widespread power outages across central Victoria, Melbourne and Gippsland, which had also impacted some of its mobile sites and exchanges.
“Right now, we’re assessing the full impact to our network including power related issues and storm damage,” Telstra said at 9.28am this morning.
“Our mobile sites and exchanges have power reserves but these are depleted when mains power isn’t restored.
“We’re working with power authorities to prioritise the restoration of power to our sites.
“At the same time, we’re also working to get our power and facilities teams on the ground to key sites when it’s safe to do so.”
Later in the morning, a Telstra spokesperson added: “We’re working hard to assess the impact to our network including power-related issues and storm damage.
“There are a number of areas we’re focusing our efforts on:
- West and South Gippsland.
- Latrobe Valley.
- Melbourne’s eastern and south eastern suburbs.
- Yarra Ranges and Dandenong Ranges.
- Central Highlands.
- North Central Victoria.
“We’re working with power authorities to get our sites back online as quickly as possible.
“Where power authorities can’t restore electricity, our power and facilities team are prioritising key sites where we can.
“The safety of our teams on the ground is our top priority and, while we’re working as quickly as possible, we need to ensure safe access for our people.”