Storm causes blackouts and fires

Winchelsea residents lost power for 12 hours after a wild electrical storm in Colac and district.

A WILD electrical storm caused blackouts and fires across Colac district.

More than 1000 Winchelsea residents lost electricity for almost 12 hours when lightning struck and broke a power pole cross arm.

Powercor spokesman Drew Douglas said the outage, which started about 1.30am Friday, affected 1300 customers at Winchelsea and surrounding areas.

He said crews worked through the night trying to restore power but 920 homes were still without power by lunchtime Friday, with the number shrinking to 400 by mid afternoon.

Mr Douglas said power returned by Friday evening while Powercor would repair and possibly replace the pole.

Meanwhile, power outages also caused traffic disruptions in central Colac.

Police directed traffic at one of Colac’s busiest intersections after the traffic lights blacked out for more than three hours on Friday morning.

Sergeant Carl Bolton of Colac said police blocked the west-bound right-hand turning lane, and the east-bound right-hand turning lane at the intersection of Murray Street and Grant Street.

He said the outage was isolated to one intersection because only one signal box was affected.

“It got to the point where we got the traffic signs out and closed the intersection off, just to make it a bit easier for people,” Sgt Bolton.

“We directed traffic until VicRoads sorted it out,” he said.

“Hopefully it didn’t cause too much inconvenience but it was the most practical way of dealing with it.”

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