Fierce and unrelenting winter storms this week led to power outages and numerous reports of downed trees blocking major roads. Shire of Augusta-Margaret River and Margaret River State Emergency Service teams plus reserve volunteer firefighters were hard at work fielding calls from residents, clearing roads, and helping sandbag properties under risk of flood. SES volunteer Sarah Schunemann told the Times it was a busy week, coming at the same time the service held an open night on Monday for new recruits. “The Margaret River SES have had a busy start to the week with 13 requests for assistance since Monday morning and still counting,” she told the Times on Wednesday. “Teams have attended to several minor floods due to blocked drains or gutters, leaking ceilings, flapping tin roofs and damage from fallen trees. “We did call in our firefighting cousins for one of the call-outs because they have a big water pump on wheels, but this is what teamwork is all about, being able to count on other agencies.” Storm damage also highlighted concerns about coastal erosion, with Preserve Gnarabup members snapping damage to the Gnarabup boat ramp. “The storm has seen a large section of the concrete slab that forms the ramp on the boat ramp shifted to the north so that it is now hanging off the side of the boat ramp structure,” spokeswoman Astrid Serventy said. “The increasing ferocity of the winter storms on this stretch of coast and the impact on the erosion of the beaches and limestone headland formed part of our referral of the proposed development to the Environmental Protection Authority.” Shire works manager James Taylor said his crews and contractors worked “tirelessly” but dangerous conditions required one overnight stand-down. “Multiple calls have been responded to, and many trees have been cleared from roads within the shire,” he said. “Further work on boat ramps and other infrastructure may be required after the storms subside and assessments can be carried out.” Western Power reported major outages on Molloy Island, at Karridale and Kudardup, and north of Augusta affecting more than 1800 households, plus spot outages in Margaret River. “Our crews and network operations centre worked through the night in difficult circumstances to make hazards safe and restore power where they could,” a spokesperson said. “Customers are currently without power in parts of Augusta, Margaret River, Leeuwin, Pemberton, Northcliffe, Greenbushes and surrounds due to trees falling on power lines and the damaging weather.” The utility threw all available crews into repair work on Wednesday, regretting the inconvenience for customers. It noted dangerous conditions precluded some work. “Damaging and destructive winds associated with the front experienced during the last 24 hours have thrown debris, including tree branches, into the network, damaging equipment and bringing down powerlines,” the spokesperson said. “Our priority during the storm is responding to reported hazards first before we repair and restore.” Some customers could apply for an extended outages payment for blackouts of 12 hours or more. SES received 14 new potential members as a result of Monday’s open night, but Ms Schunemann said more were urged to contact via the group’s Facebook page.