Honeycombs Beach, Wilyabrup, Western Australia. Image courtesy of Daniel Tuoma.
A severe thunderstorm produces one or more of the following:
Wind gusts of 90 km/h or more;Hail with a diameter of 2cm or more; andTornadoes: rapidly rotating columns of air that extend from the thunderstorm to the ground, most often in a ‘funnel’ shape. The term 'storm' is used to describe thunderstorms but also cold fronts and troughs which produce significant or severe weather.
The term 'storm' is used to describe thunderstorms but also cold fronts and troughs which produce significant or severe weather.
Storms can occur anywhere across Western Australia but mostly impact coastal areas due to a loss of intensity as they move inland. The most common areas to be impacted are the southern and western coastal areas, particularly in a line from Geraldton to Esperance, due to large cold fronts in the winter months. Tornadoes can travel for several kilometres but are often localised and during a storm can form within the area of strong rotational winds.
The impacts of storms can be significant and widespread. Specifically, impacts may be a result of the combination of hail, heavy rain, high winds and lightning. Potential impacts include:
Injury and/or death to persons and animalsDamage/destruction of propertyDamage to crops and harvestPower failureCommercial and industrial lossesDisruption and economic lossesDefoliation to local floraFlood and hail damage
Over two days in March 2010, a series of storms inflicted more than $1 billion worth of damage, primarily as a result of hail stones. The storm was the costliest event in Western Australian history and resulted in a large number of severely damaged vehicles and property. High rainfall also caused a mud slide near Kings Park and flash flooding throughout the city. A natural disaster was declared by the State.
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