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    High Winds Blast Southern Australia

    October 04, 2012, 4:36:32 AM EDT

    Damaging winds, some clocked above hurricane force, raked Australia's island state of Tasmania.

    Winds downed trees and power lines, sparking several fires, the Australian ABC News website said on Thursday.

    Diverted and canceled flights caused a backlog of passengers through the Hobart airport.

    Weather observations accessed by AccuWeather.com showed winds to 58 mph at the Hobart airport.

    However, much higher winds to 85 mph were clocked at nearby Droughty Hill, weather observations posted on the Australian Bureau of Meteorology (BoM) website indicated.

    Homes and other residential property "bore the brunt of the damage," ABC said.

    Power was blacked out to at least 9,000 customers in southern Tasmania, and continued high winds dogged crews in their struggle to restore power.

    At one time as many as 18 fires were burning vegetation or power poles, but the fires had since been controlled, ABC said.

    A ferry to Bruny Island was prevented from docking for the first time in two decades.

    Boats moored at Snug went adrift, having been torn from their moorings.

    A powerful storm at sea south of Tasmania was the primary culprit in the damaging winds. Passing of the storm's trailing cold front through Tasmania quickened the winds.


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    Analysis by the Australian Bureau of Meteorology (BoM) shows deep storm south of Tasmania, and trailing cold front stretching north over the island state. Time is 0000 UTC Thursday, Oct. 4, 2012.

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