Sudden storm in Parkes blows down trees, cuts power to 3000 locations

Update - Tuesday, January 7 5pm

Essential Energy crews have been busy working to restore power Parkes' residents and businesses since yesterday afternoon's sudden rain and wind storm that some of our readers have described as "cyclonic".

The town was blessed with more rain overnight, with another 4.2mm recorded at the Bureau of Meteorology's weather station at the Parkes Airport from 3am this morning.

It's brought the total to 24.8mm since 5.37pm yesterday, however rain gauge readings in town told another story with some only recording 10mm combined from the two rain events.

One reader said he received 33.5mm, while two others at Tichborne recorded eight and 14 milimetres. But another in Tichborne said they had none.

North Parkes reportedly had 13.5mm, Parkesborough received 12.5mm and a reader said they had two milimetres on Back Trundle Road after yesterday's storm.

Other areas in the Parkes Shire like Peak Hill, Trundle and Alectown had zero rainfall.

Forbes is also reported to have received no rain.

Reader Kaz Jolly wrote on the Parkes Champion Post's Facebook page "The roaring wind was phenomenal - the sound was insane coming down the eastern side of town

BLACKOUT: 3028 people were suddenly without power when a brief storm hit Parkes at 5.36pm on Monday. Image: Essential Energy website

BLACKOUT: 3028 people were suddenly without power when a brief storm hit Parkes at 5.36pm on Monday. Image: Essential Energy website

In an update from Essential Energy, 3028 people were suddenly without power when the storm hit Parkes at 5.36pm.

The blackout area covered most of the Parkes township, a number of residences along the Renshaw McGirr Way and Henry Parkes Way, and a large section stretching down to Tichborne, just north of Daroobalgie, Cookamidgera and Mandagery.

Parkes crews, along with the help from staff in Forbes and Dubbo, reduced that number to 228 homes by 9.30pm.

Some locations were still without power overnight and into today with 105 people left needing power by 2.15pm and just 33 by 2.20pm.

Essential Energy's Community Relations Northern Manager David Crough said there were a number of causes to the outage after the storm.

Winds had brought down multiple powerlines, as well as a power pole, and blown vegetation onto powerlines. And there was a faulty transformer believed to have been damaged by lightning.

"Crews worked as quickly and as safely as they could to restore power for all customers," Mr Crough said.

"We'd like to thank our customers for their patience and understanding while crews worked to restore power."

Meanwhile Parkes' SES volunteers were just as busy coming to the aid of families whose homes were in the path of the wild winds.

Parkes Controller Phil Snow said they received 16 call-outs yesterday, with those jobs ranging from fallen trees on roads and roofs to the loss of roofs and pagolas all together.

He had 14 volunteers on the ground.

With so many people without power, Mr Snow said they also supplied generators to an aged care home.

Earlier - Monday, January 6 8.30pm

Parkes has just been hammered with some much needed rain, but it also brought with it an unexpected, small wind storm.

The storm has brought down a number of trees and tree limbs, with east Parkes appearing at the moment to be the worst hit, especially the Parkes Cemetery.

A power pole in Molong Road has also come down, with power lines hanging two metres or so above the road. Police are on site.

The Parkes Fire and Rescue brigade is on scene in Best Street where a high voltage line has come down. They are asking people to avoid the area and to "be patient as it will be a while until it is repaired".

A large tree has also come down in Military Road, laying across both lanes, forcing motorists to drive off the roadway to get around it.

About 3028 homes and businesses were initially without power - though some blocks were spared.

Some homes are slowing having their power restored, with now 2267 people still in the dark at 8.30pm.

Emergency services, Essential Energy and SES crews are attending locations so please be cautious while driving near these areas.

Essential Energy has reported on its website that there are two areas across Parkes impacted by the outage, both blacking out a minute a part at 5.36pm and 5.37pm.

Essential Energy crews are investigating the power outage.

According to the Bureau of Meteorology (BOM), Parkes received 1.6mm of rain within three minutes at its weather station at the Parkes Airport.

Within 10 minutes the rain gauge reached 9.6mm, was 17.6mm by 5.57pm and by 7pm it was 20.6mm.

It's the most Parkes has received in a day since March, let alone a month since June, which its total was 31.8mm, recorded by the BOM.

Parkes received more rainfall this afternoon in an hour and a half than it has during all of December (7.4mm) and November (10.2mm) combined.

October's monthly rainfall was 13.4mm, while July, August and September all received 14.2mm each month.

More information on the blackouts and damage as it comes to hand.