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Western Australia hit by worst storm in more than a decade

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50,000 homes without power, chaos on roads after worst weather in a decade

MELBOURNE : Wild weather downed trees and left tens of thousands of people without power in Western Australia, as emergency services began cleaning up in Perth yesterday after some of the worst weather in a decade.

Wind speeds of up to 132kmh were registered at Cape Leeuwin, one of the state's most south-westerly points early yesterday, the strongest May gusts in 15 years, according to the Australia Broadcasting Corp.

"Some wild weather has affected large parts of WA (Western Australia), causing widespread damage and large-scale power outages," Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison said on social media.

"Please listen to the advice of emergency services and stay safe everyone."

Around 50,000 customers were without power yesterday due to storm-related outages, utility Western Power said, as the remnants of Cyclone Mangga hit a cold front and brought squalling rain and emergency level storm warnings to the south of the state, Reuters reported.

"New damage from the windborne debris has meant the overall number of impacted homes and businesses remains high," it said on Twitter.

More than 390 calls for assistance were made to the state's emergency services since Sunday, mostly from the Perth metropolitan area, the Department of Fire and Emergency Services chief superintendent Danny Mosconi told ABC Radio.

"Pretty much the whole metro area and in fact most of the state… we're starting to see some coming in now from the south west as well, but pretty widespread," he said.

He said there were a high number of calls from the southern suburbs of Perth, ABC News reported.

"Fortunately, although a large number of people needed assistance, we didn't see too many reports of severe damage."

The wild weather has also caused chaos on Perth's roads forcing the authorities to close several, PerthNow reported.

Pilbara Ports Authority said port operations had not been affected, but elevated swells led to some minor shipping schedule changes at the Port of Dampier, which is used by Rio Tinto.

The biggest oil and gas operators in WA, Chevron Corp, Woodside Petroleum and Santos, said there was no impact on their operations in the minerals-rich state.

BHP Group said there was no major impact to its operations. Rio Tinto declined to comment, Reuters reported.

In a separate development, Australia's most populous state, New South Wales, urged locals to continue working from home despite schools reopening as the rise in the number of coronavirus cases slows.

Australia has reported just over 7,100 Covid-19 infections, including 102 deaths, well below figures reported by other developed countries.

In New South Wales, which includes the city of Sydney, children returned to full-time face-to-face learning yesterday, allowing many parents to return to offices - although lawmakers urged those who could to stay home to avoid putting pressure on the transport network, AFP reported.

"I am very pleased that the system has not been overwhelmed," NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian said.

WORLD