More than 17,000 Northern Beaches residents are still without power following the freak storm surge that hit the area about 3.30pm on Sunday 19 December. Northern Beaches Council says the damage is so extensive it is calling on the State Government to declare the region a disaster area to assist in the clean-up efforts.
What’s happening with the power outages?
Ausgrid this morning said it has restored power to 26,800 customers following Sunday’s storm which caused over 500 hazards, like trees on powerlines.
“Ausgrid expects the majority of customers to be restored in the next few days, however due to extensive damage at Dee Why, Collaroy, Narraweena and Wheeler Heights power outages could extend well into the week,” they said in a statement.
“Additional crews from neighbouring network Endeavour Energy, and contractors, have been brought in to support Ausgrid’s repair efforts to restore the 17,500 customers still without power.”
“It’s a very difficult time of year to be without power, and we apologise for the delays. We are doing everything we can to turn the lights back on as soon as possible. Where we can, we are progressively turning power back on, and as always the safety of our customers and staff remains our number one priority.
Given the extensive damage from the storm, some parts of the network will need to be rebuilt.
Call for LGA to be declared disaster area
Northern Beaches CEO Ray Brownlee said the Council was appealing to the State to make the disaster declaration to allow groups (themselves included) and individuals to access special assistance measures to restore critical infrastructure and aid clean-up efforts.
“Sunday’s storm has resulted in numerous homes damaged, roads blocked and power outages,” Mr Brownlee said.
“It is requiring a massive and coordinated clean-up effort from multiple agencies which is expected to continue for many days yet.
“We have over 50 crews working alongside others from SES, RFS and FRNSW and have additional assistance from six other Councils.
“All are working hard to get homes, roads and public areas cleared before Christmas.
“This is being felt hard by business and residents who had Christmas plans abandoned last year thanks to the Northern Beaches COVID lockdown.
“We are asking for NSW Government to support our Council, local businesses and residents to be able to access Disaster funding and support to assist as the clean-up and recovery continues.”
One person, a Narrabeen woman in her 70s, died from a fallen tree during the short-lived but ferocious storm surge which had winds estimated at over 125kmh. It lasted all of ten minutes but blew rooves off homes in Dee Why and Wheeler Heights and extensive damage from North Curl Curl up to Narrabeen and out to Terrey Hills.
Surf Lifesavers and Council Lifeguards on patrol at Narrabeen SLSC provided first aid to several seriously and critically injured people, including the woman who died. She was just metres from her home.
Duty Officer Tracey Hare-Boyd who attended the incident to support the patrol members said “it was like a bomb had gone off. There was so much damage and debris, smashed cars and of course the terrible situation with the woman trapped under the tree.”
“This is an incredibly sad, freak accident and such a tragedy so close to Christmas,” added Surf Life Saving NSW President George Shales. “Our deepest condolences are extended to the family of the deceased.”
The NSW State Emergency Service said they received approximately 600 requests for assistance from the Northern Beaches directly after the storm and response efforts continue throughout the week with the assistance for NSW Fire and Rescue and NSW Police.
NSW SES can be contacted on 132 500, or www.ses.nsw.gov.au