Thousands of customers across Perth are without power this morning after thunderstorms struck the city's northern suburbs.
The storms broke a four month dry spell for there are more forecast for this afternoon.
Western Power spokesman Simon Bailey said more than 18,000 customers were in the dark and crews were working hard to restore electricity in several suburbs. The worst hit were Hamilton Hill, Doubleview, Karrinyup, Bullsbrook, Balcatta and Subiaco where 2200 customers had lost power.
Firefighters are battling multiple power pole fires.
About 14 pole fires were reported in Bennet Springs, Balcatta, Wangara, Thornlie, West Perth, Karrinyup, Joondalup, Wanneroo, Yokine and Joondanna since 8 o’clock last night.
About 50sqm burned under a power pole this morning on Marshall Road, Bennett Springs, about 9.20am.
Firefighters are still on scene.
A Department of Fire and Emergency Services spokesman said power poles often ignited when it rained after a long dry spell.
Weather Bureau duty forecaster Noel Puzey said mid level storms brought rain to areas north of Perth, with 9mm at Gingin, 2.4 at Bickley, 2.8mm at Pearce, 1mm in Perth and 0.5mm at Swanbourne.
There are delays on the Joondalup and Mandurah lines this morning after a train was hit by lightning at Clarkson Station about 6.45am.
Transperth spokesman David Hynes said the strike caused the train’s electrical system to fail and it stopped on the line for about 45 minutes.
Traffic lights are also out in Whitfords, Greenwood, Warwick and Marangaroo. There were unconfirmed reports of hail in Yanchep and heavy falls drenched suburbs from Kinross to Gidgegannup.
The storm is also believed to have caused communications to crash at the Peter Moyes Anglican School in Mindarie.
School principal Julian Dowse said a power surge appeared to have caused the interruption.
Parents of students were notified through SMS that the lines were down.
A downpour in Kinross this morning saw Quinns Rocks resident Shane Kyriacou come to the aid of an elderly woman who stalled at a flooded intersection.
Mr Kyriacou was on his way home from night shift at St John Ambulance when he spotted a woman, believed to be in her 80s, stranded in her car at the round-a-bout on the intersection of Marmion Ave and Edinborough Drive.
His wife Mel Kyriacou said water was up to the woman’s car doors.
“She was stuck in the middle of the road and Shane knocked on her window and told her she wasn’t going to stay there,” she said. “He hooked her car up to his and towed her to the median strip.”
Mr Puzey said thunderstorm activity was expected to dissipate later in the day but then return later this evening.
“We are expecting thunderstorms throughout most of western WA today, but it should clear to the east later today and redevelop later tonight,” he said.
“There will be thunderstorms through much of inland WA today.” He said there was a “slight chance” of hail in metropolitan areas but it was unlikely.
The last significant rainfall was recorded on December 1 and since then only light falls were reported.
“We had 0.2mm a week ago and 0.2mm before that on January 26,” Mr Puzey said.
The bureau is forecasting average autumn rainfall, with a chance of below average falls.