News State Tasmania Woman killed in Tas high winds

Woman killed in Tas high winds

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A Tasmanian woman has died after being hit by a falling tree outside her home, as wild weather continues to lash the state.

The 63-year-old and her husband were clearing trees outside their Launceston house on Thursday when another tree was knocked down, trapping her.

The man managed to free his wife but she could not be saved.

Thousands of homes are still without power across Tasmania and the SES says its resources are stretched trying to cope.

Strong winds and rain have lashed the state since Monday night, bringing down trees and tearing off roofs.

Police Inspector Michael Johnston said the woman and her husband were working outdoors in high winds when she died.

“They had a number of trees fall on their property and they were in the process of clearing those when a further tree fell and struck her,” Insp Johnston told reporters.

“She was trapped under the tree, her husband was able to cut some of the tree away and get her out, but unfortunately she was pronounced dead at the scene by paramedics.”

SES regional manager Mhairi Revie said the number of damaged and torn roofs was hard to cope with.

“Certainly our resources are stretched,” Ms Revie said.

“When it comes to roofing crews, it takes a significant amount of training and expertise to get up onto roofs safely and to conduct their work in this type of environment.”

Ms Revie said the flood risk had eased but high winds were expected to buffet the state into the night and Friday morning.

The damaging winds and heavy rainfall leading to flash flooding will continue to hit the state until Friday, according to the Bureau of Meteorology.

Gusts up to 115km/h have been recorded in Devonport, King Island and Smithton in the north.

More than 21,000 homes and businesses are without power, and TasNetworks predicts more outages to come.

The Launceston area has about 13,200 properties without power, northwest Tasmania about 8500 and southern Tasmania 100.

TasNetworks chief executive Lance Balcombe said crews were focusing on repairing fallen power lines first.

“Customers should prepare for long delays with power restoration due to the high number of outages and current conditions,” Mr Balcombe said.

“This could mean that some customers may be without power overnight and some isolated areas could remain off for a couple of days.”

Mr Balcombe said extra crews had been deployed to deal with the large number of outages.

He said more bad weather was forecast so people should make sure they had torches and fully charged mobile devices where possible.

Insp Johnston said people should travel only when it was essential.

“We would urge people who don’t need to make a trip tonight to stay at home or stay where they are,” Insp Johnston said.

A flight carrying Prime Minister Tony Abbott and Treasurer Joe Hockey was unable to land in Launceston because of the weather and was diverted to Hobart.

Mr Abbott and Mr Hockey instead taken part in the Tasmanian Economic Council meeting via teleconference.

Train lines across the northwest and west coast have also been affected by the wild weather.

TasRail suspended train services on the Melba Line and west of Western Junction, and its other services are being monitored.