Tasmania: High winds down lines, rip roofs

Oct. 4, 2012 at 9:58 AM

HOBART, Australia, Oct. 4 (UPI) -- Intense winds in southern Tasmania fed fires, ripped boats from their moorings and interrupted for travelers, authorities said Thursday.

Wind gusts reached more than 60 mph, the Australian Broadcasting Corp. reported.

The fires were sparked when winds toppled power lines. Up to 18 fires were burning across the state at one point but all were brought under control, the Tasmanian Fire Service reported.

About 9,000 people were without electrical power. The high winds prevented crews from repairing the lines.

Virgin and Qantas airline flights from Australia had to be diverted to Melbourne. A Virgin flight with 280 passengers aboard aborted a landing in Hobart.

Both airlines have now resumed flights.

More than 50 passengers were stranded for more than an hour aboard the Bruny Island ferry when it was unable to dock. While boats broke loose from their moorings, and one ran aground, most of the damage was to homes, said spokesman Mark Nelson.

A deep low to the south of Tasmania and a front crossing the state caused the high winds, weather officials said.

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