Severe storm rips through Parkes and region overnight, causing blackouts

Update – Wednesday, 23 January 2019 – 3pm

Essential Energy crews have worked quickly to restore power to more than 1500 homes and businesses by 3pm today.

The power outage in Parkes and the surrounding area has now been reduced to 104 homes and businesses.

There are currently 55 separate unplanned power outages, with 51 of these only affecting an individual customer.

Crews will continue to work this afternoon and into the evening to restore power for as many customers as possible, but a small number will remain without power overnight.

Essential Energy thanks customers for their ongoing patience while repairs to the electricity network continue to be made after this morning’s storm.

Wednesday, 23 January 2019 – 1pm

The number of homes and businesses in Parkes and its surrounding areas impacted by a power outage, caused from last night’s destructive storm, has now been reduced to 1648.

Essential Energy crews hope to able to reduce this number significantly by 3pm today and then will continue to work as quickly as safety allows to restore power for as many customers as possible this afternoon and into the evening.

At this stage it is believe a small number of homes and businesses will remain without power overnight, an Essential Energy statement said.

The damage to the electricity network has been significant and includes a large number of fallen powerlines.

Additional crews and equipment from Bathurst, Forbes, Narromine, Orange and West Wyalong are assisting Parkes-based Essential Energy crews.

Essential Energy thanks customers for their understanding as they continue to work to restore power for all customers after the overnight storm.

Outage updates are available on the Essential Energy website outages page at https://www.essentialenergy.com.au/outages-and-faults/power-outages.

Wednesday, 23 January 2019 – 10am

Essential Energy crews have been able to reduce the number of homes and businesses in Parkes affected by the storm from 3058 to 2257.

Additional damage to the electricity network from the storms continues to be found.

Earlier –  Wednesday, 23 January 2019

Parkes residents awoke this morning to a trail of destruction following last night's severe thunder and lightning storm.

Wind gusts of up to 98km/h, lightning and rain swept through the region just before midnight, ripping roofs off homes and sheds, snapping trees in half, uprooting trees, scattering tree branches through the streets and leaving thousands of people without power.

The household wheelie bins left on the kerb for the morning's collection, were strewn about the road, as were its contents.

Solar panels were also found scattered in some streets, one impaled on a fence pole, while a plank of wood had struck the side light of a parked car and garage doors were bent and swaying in the morning breeze.

The NSW State Emergency Service (SES) received 68 requests for help overnight in Parkes.

According to the Essential Energy website,  2139 homes and businesses went out first about 11.42pm, followed by 873 homes and businesses about 11.47pm. 

Essential Energy estimates power will be restored to residents and businesses by midday.

The Bureau of Meteorolgy recorded 9mm of rain at its weather station at the Parkes Airport.