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Victorian power outages improve, as clean-up from deadly storms and fires continue

(ABC) -- Thousands of Victorians are still without power, a day after deadly storms tore down transmission towers and closed roads across the state.
On Tuesday, Premier Jacinta Allan confirmed a 50-year-old dairy farmer in Gippsland had lost his life in Tuesday’s wild weather.

Many Pomonal residents were forced to flee their homes on Tuesday as fires swept through the township. ABC News

WorkSafe later said the man was on a quad bike moving cattle in Mirboo North when he was struck by a detached shed roof about 6pm.
In the state’s west, authorities are still assessing the number of buildings lost after fires leapt from the Grampians National Park and swept through the township of Pomonal.
While an official tally of damaged buildings is still being assessed, sources in the community fear dozens of homes have been hit by the fires.
You can catch up on how Wednesday unfolded in our live blog.
At the peak of Tuesday’s storm, more than 500,000 homes were without power as damaging winds brought down powerlines and AGL’s Loy Yang A power station was forced to shut down.
By 4pm Wednesday, about 135,000 homes and businesses were still without power, following one of the biggest mass outage events in the state’s history.
The government said more than 3,000 of those customers were “power dependent”, meaning they were either on life support or had medical reasons for needing power.
The Australian Energy Market Operator’s Jonathan Geddes said while the number of disconnected customers was expected to drop significantly, some could be in for a longer wait.
“Given the widespread damage it may take days if not weeks to restore electricity to all of those impacted customers,” he said.
Homes destroyed in Pomonal by Grampians blaze
Meanwhile, firefighters continue to battle blazes in the state’s west in the Grampians National Park, around the towns of Bellfield and Pomonal.
The fire threat is easing, with blazes downgraded on Wednesday morning to Watch and Act level as fire crews made progress during favourable weather.
Premier Jacinta Allan confirmed homes had been destroyed but it was not yet clear how many.
“Our thoughts and support are keenly focused on the community of Pomonal who have families without a home,” she said.
“We don’t know how many homes and we’ll provide that information as it becomes available.”
A briefing held on Wednesday afternoon confirmed that at least one home had been lost to the fire in Dadswell Bridge, and up to 200 stock had perished.
State Response Controller Garry Cook said the improved weather conditions were helping fire crews working on the two main fires at Bellfield and Pomonal. “Conditions have certainly eased from what they were yesterday. The wind has moved around to the south, conditions are cooler, the humidity is up a lot higher than it was yesterday,” he said.

(Latest Update February 15, 2024)

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