Perth weather: Thunderstorm, flash flooding hits WA as rain smashes northern suburbs

Claire Sadler and Artemisia BlythePerthNow
VideoRain has hit Perth after an over 30 day dry spell

Unprecedented rain has caused havoc in Perth’s northern suburbs with flash flooding leaving people trapped in their cars, homes damaged, and hundreds without power.

The 100mm of rain in less than an hour was not forecast in advance — leaving emergency services scrambling to help people mainly in Clarkson, Butler, Ridgewood, and Nowergup.

Crews were called to Winton Road, Connolly Drive, and Hester Avenue in Joondalup after reports of multiple cars being caught up in the flash floods. SES teams worked to assist people trapped in their cars.

Cars underwater at the corner of Ocean Grove Road and Riverlinks Drive in Clarkson.
Camera IconCars underwater at the corner of Ocean Grove Road and Riverlinks Drive in Clarkson. Credit: Jackson Flindell/The West Australian

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Department of Fire and Emergency Services incident controller Glenn Hall said more than 45 calls had been made to SES due to the torrential rain, and he expected more as people headed home from work.

Most of the calls have been about flooding and water ingress in homes, and some have been about hail and roof damage.

“The intersection of Connolly Road and Riverlinks Drive is a low point, and all of the water has collected there,” Mr Hall said.

“What we are doing at this stage is looking at options for removing that water and preparing homes for flooding if necessary.

“I have been doing this job a long time, but 100mm in under an hour for the Perth Metropolitan area is fairly unprecedented. We have responded accordingly but certainly without any notification is unusual.”

He said Local Government staff, SES, DFES, and Western Power were working together.

Some residents have experienced flooding.
Camera IconSome residents have experienced flooding. Credit: Jonathon Nolan

Bureau of Meteorology spokesman Robert Lawry said the rain “should start to ease in the coming hours”.

“(There will be) some residue rain in the northern suburbs and that should continue to ease into the evening, and we are looking at a fine day for tomorrow,” he said.

“Getting this intensity of rainfall is quite unusual, so there are unofficial reports of 50-100mm, and a lot of that seems to have fallen in 30 and 60 minutes. That length of intensity is quite unusual for Perth,” he said.

The bureau said that it does not have enough gauges to know exactly how much rain has fallen at this stage.

But it’s clear the northern suburbs were inundated.

Ocean Keys Shopping Centre in Clarkson has been damaged with water flooding through the roof.

The centre advised shoppers Friday afternoon of the partial closure of the centre.

“The safety of our community is our utmost priority. Ocean Keys Shopping Centre has experienced some damage as a result of the severe storm,” it said via Facebook.

Damage at Ocean Keys Shopping Centre.
Camera IconDamage at Ocean Keys Shopping Centre. Credit: Jackson Flindell/The West Australian

“Part of the centre between The Coffee Club and Ally Fashion is currently closed for trade.

“The rest of the centre remains open. We recommend contacting any stores you’re planning to visit directly prior to coming to confirm their trading times.

“The Centre Management team is working with contract partners to resolve the damage as soon as possible.”

There were also concerns that an aged care facility could potentially flood.

The worst of the weather is expected to end by 5pm on Friday.

Main roads warned motorists Mitchell Freeway Northbound has been flooded at Neerabup Road, Clarkson.

Flooding at Ocean Keys Shopping Centre in Clarkson.
Camera IconFlooding at Ocean Keys Shopping Centre in Clarkson. Credit: Jackson Flindell/The West Australian

The Department of Fire and Emergency Services has issued an alert for severe thunderstorms in parts of the Perth Metropolitan and Midwest-Gascoyne.

Affected areas include Gingin, Joondalup, Jurien Bay, Lancelin and Yanchep.

Residents in these areas should take action by finding a safe shelter away from trees, powerlines, storm drains and streams.

If driving, don’t drive through waters of unknown depth, and be alert for hazards.

For all advice, click here.

The northern suburbs have been smashed by heavy rainfall, with some areas even being battered by hail.

“There is certainly an alignment of thunderstorms extending from the north over the northern suburbs,” the Bureau of Meteorology said.

“Right now, it’s not too far from the Perth CBD, so there is some potential for rainfall.

“However, it is a slow-moving feature, and I’m expecting it to weaken over the next few hours but there is some potential that we may get something.”

Footage taken by locals shows just how intense the rainfall has been.

“Very welcome news to hear the sound of rain!” a resident wrote in a local group.

Others confirmed that nearby suburbs were also copping the deluge.

Some residents have experienced hail.
Camera IconSome residents have experienced hail. Credit: Supplied

“Raining in Madeley,” one wrote.

“And in Merriwa,” wrote another.

The rain radar demonstrates the thunderstorms moving down the coast.

Residents rejoice at much needed rain.
Camera IconResidents rejoice at much needed rain. Credit: Bureau of Meteorology

The 30-day dry spell has been intense in Perth; however, it’s not as unusual as it might seem.

“It is a long spell, but we have had long spells before where we haven’t had much rain, especially through April. It is unique, but it’s not like it’s never happened before,” the Bureau of Meteorology said.

Perth is expected to see a sunny week ahead with only a 0-5 per cent chance of rain.

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