Emergency service crews are today bracing for a third wild storm to hit WA in less than a week as they wage a desperate race against time to clear debris that could become deadly projectiles.
As the multimillion-dollar clean-up from Sunday's once-in-a-decade storm continued, Weather Bureau manager of services Grahame Reader warned that another front was expected to strike the south-west corner of the State this afternoon.
It is expected to make its way to Perth throughout the night and east towards Southern Cross tomorrow.
The storm is forecast to include winds up to 125km/h - the equivalent of a category 2 tropical cyclone.
"Preliminary advice is this storm will be as significant as Sunday's event and may extend further east into the State," Emergency Services Minister Troy Buswell said.
Reports of damage and flooding spread from Geraldton to Ravensthorpe, with the worst hit areas being Rockingham, Mandurah and the South West.
At the height of the storm, about 170,000 Western Power customers were without electricity.
More than 50,000 were still without power last night. The storm brought down about 60 power poles and 270 powerlines. The utility could face customer claims worth tens of millions of dollars.
The Insurance Council of Australia said the damage was unlikely to reach the levels recorded after the 2010 hailstorm. At least 30 schools will be closed in Perth and the South West today.
Mr Buswell said the priority was to ensure public safety and restore electricity to critical infrastructure.
Ten hospitals were operating on generator power at the height of Sunday's storm.
Fire and Emergency Services Authority chief operations officer Brad Stringer said the SES had received more than 700 calls for help.
He urged residents to clean up debris and secure homes themselves where possible, with wreckage left by the storm posing a threat.
"The impact has been widespread in the South West of WA, so achieving that in a timely manner is quite difficult," Mr Stringer said. "That's why we're asking for the assistance of everyone."
Dozens of residents shared stories of close calls. A heavily pregnant woman who experienced stomach pains after the roof was ripped off her Tuart Hill apartment was yesterday in a Northbridge hotel waiting for the arrival of her overdue baby.
In the Bunbury suburb of Withers, Roger and Vicki Clements described how passers-by helped salvage their possessions by spreading a tarpaulin over the roof of their home after a tree fell on it.But farmers have celebrated the break in season, with many getting more than 30mm of rain in two days.
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