PUPP limits Cyclone Veronica damage

Peter LongPilbara News
Cyclone Veronica causes the Back Beach in Karratha to flood.
Camera IconCyclone Veronica causes the Back Beach in Karratha to flood. Credit: Thomas Fry

Tropical Cyclone Veronica came to visit us in March and caused not a little worry as she approached, strengthening to a category four system with maximum sustained winds estimated at 195km/h.

Fortunately for us, the cyclone quietened down to a category two system before crossing the Pilbara coast near Whim Creek but we still had significant winds across the City of Karratha area, particularly on the eastern side, with a maximum gust of 154km/h recorded at Roebourne and 124km/h at Karratha.

Tropical Cyclone Veronica was the first real test of the underground power system installed through the Pilbara Underground Power Project between 2014 and 2018.

During Cyclone Veronica, about 240 Horizon Power connections across Point Samson, the Burrup Peninsula and Karratha lost power out of a total of 8500 premises.

In comparison, when Tropical Cyclone Christine hit the region in 2013 — before the implementation of underground power — about 7000 connections were lost.

So PUPP reduced outages by some 97 per cent and those that did occur were due to feeders not in the PUPP scope.

Underground power is an extremely valuable investment in areas subject to cyclonic winds.

In addition to reducing the likelihood of power outages during high winds, underground power dramatically improves safety for technicians and the community throughout and immediately following a cyclone.

I would like to acknowledge the hard work of our SES teams during the cyclone season.

This Wednesday is Wear Orange Wednesday, a day of recognition and appreciation for the dedicated work of SES volunteers.

I encourage all of you to get involved and show your support.

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