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Perth weather: Hail storm turns backyards into winter wonderland as rainfall records topple

Perth was hit by hail, thunder and lightning on Wednesday morning.

A wintry blast has swept through Perth, and while the damage left was only minimal, social media feeds have been flooded with pictures of what looks like snow-covered backyards and porches. 

But of course, no snow actually fell in Perth. It was hail, which caught many motorists off guard during peak-hour traffic this morning. 

A severe weather warning was issued for the Lower West region of the state, from Gingin to Mandurah, which has been cancelled as conditions subside. 

Hail was reported across the metropolitan area this morning, following a weak cold front which moved over WA's South-West overnight, according to the weather bureau.

A storm dumped hail on properties in Victoria Park and other Perth suburbs. (ABC News: Adam Ballard)

"Hail with thunderstorms is really not unusual at all, they're the nature of the beast," explained Bureau of Meteorology duty forecaster Jessica Lingard. 

"[It] is such a tall, cold cloud that hail stones are almost inevitable out of a thunderstorm," she said.

"We've had reports [of hail] from northern suburbs, southern suburbs, inland towards the Hills, coastal suburbs, so it does seem to be that lots of people around Perth today are getting a bit of a wintry blast." 

The bureau will often issue a warning if hail stones are 2cm or bigger, due to the risk of damage. 

The WA Department of Fire and Emergency Services said for the 24 hours up to 9am this morning, 17 cases of damage have been reported due to the storm, mostly from Perth's southern suburbs. 

The most significant call was from Goudhurst Place in Gosnells, reporting a tree that had fallen onto a house, fence and onto the road. 

A house on Goudhurst Place in Gosnells was damaged when a tree fell on it. (ABC News: Armin Azad)

No one was home at the time, but suspicions were raised about the possibility the tree was struck by lightning, causing it to split. 

More delays at Perth airport

The wild weather caused disruption at Perth Airport, with storm cells between 4:30am and 7:30am resulting in 53 departures being delayed by anywhere from five to 40 minutes. 

In a statement, a spokeswoman from the airport said its thunderstorm warning system was activated at around 4:30am.

"When storms are within five nautical miles, it is regulation to shut down the airfield, meaning no staff are permitted to service aircraft or be on the airfield," the statement read. 

"The storm cell passed and the airfield was reopened around 5:00am however, as there were still storm cells within 10 nautical miles, there was reduced activity on the airfield." 

It comes after severe weather caused a major power outage at the airport earlier this month, causing flight cancellations and delays. 

Wettest August in four years

There has been plenty of rainfall this month in Perth, with the total sitting at 157.8mm at 9am this morning, making it already the wettest August since 2018. 

"The average August rainfall is only 122mm, so we're almost 30-40mm above average and we've still got a couple weeks of August," Ms Lingard said.

The winter average for the metropolitan area is 395mm, and currently the total for June, July and August is at about 375mm, which the bureau believes could potentially be topped. 

"We've got a fair few dry days ahead of us, we're starting to head towards those Spring-time patterns where we do start to see a few more clear days in between those cold fronts as they come through, so at this stage we just have to wait and see," Ms Lingard said. 

"With the cloud band yesterday, we saw over 40 stations record new daily August rainfall records, including a handful of sites that have over 100 years of rain records, including Wongan Hills, Northam and New Norcia." 

Several sites have now broken August monthly rainfall records, including Swanbourne with 188.2mm, beating its earlier record of 164.2mm in 2013. 

Other sites topping their records are Cunderdin, Gingin, York and Morawa to name a few. 

Banjo Ennis, 4, is enjoying the 'snow' in his Melville backyard after a winter storm brought widespread hail to Perth suburbs. (ABC News: Lettie Ennis)

Banjo Ennis, 4, could not be stopped from running outside into his Melville backyard as the hail hit, his mother Lettie told the ABC.

"He had never seen snow before so he was so excited," she said.

"He said it feels like Christmas. Just really regretting letting him dress himself."

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