Ants ‘Escaping Rising Water’ Responsible for Causing Power Outage in Broome, Western Australia

Ants escaping from rising floodwaters were responsible for causing widespread power outage in Broome, Western Australia, which left residents without electricity for several hours amid inclement weather in recent days, according to local sources.

The claim indicated that the insects might have disrupted the electricity supply in the town by allegedly damaging cable wirings linked to power lines.

Western Australia Rain and Flooding

(Photo : Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

Several parts of Australia experienced heavy rain and flooding in the past several weeks since December 23 last year when Tropical Cyclone Ellie formed off the west of Northern Territory.

The same storm was responsible for bringing floods in some parts of Western Australia, according to reports earlier this week.

What used to be dominated by warm weather and dry conditions, Western Australia was inundated with raging floodwaters.

According to local news outlet 9 News, outback towns and rivers across Western Australia’s Kimberley region faced record-breaking floods which cut off access to towns, forced road closures, and transformed the landscape into a sea.

Also Read: Worst Record-Breaking Flooding in Western Australia: Heavy Rain Unloaded and Many Residents Were Evacuated

Ant Infestation and Outages

The recent adverse weather led to power outages due to various weather hazards.

However, local electricity service provider Horizon Power reportedly said the reason behind the large-scale electric supply disruption is caused by an ant swarm, confirming on Thursday that major flooding and outages occurred across Kimberley.

In a Facebook post, the Broome Advertiser on Thursday cited a statement from Horizon Power that an “ant infestation” is at the center of the Broome blackout which left its inhabitants without air conditioners for around five hours overnight.

Can Ants Cause Power Outages?

Experts said ants can cause power outages, especially when they destroy crucial components of the electric infrastructure, as some cases reported in the past.

In addition, some gadget owners and pest control companies before also attributed ants for damaging mobile gadgets and other electronic equipment in the house.

Back in 2002, the Midland region in the US suddenly experienced a power outage as some parts of the country, including Michigan, faced severe storms in July that year.

However, spokesman of Consumers Energy Co. Kevin Keane that time said ants were to blame for the afternoon power outages which left over 100 customers without power, stating that the ants filled and ate the inside of the pole, according to Midland Daily News.

Keane added that the hollowed Michigan cedar pole was already old and was not treated with chemicals initially used to protect newly-installed poles.

In 2013, pest exterminator named Mike Matthews received a call because a home’s air-conditioning underwent short-circuit due to “crazy ants,” according to NBC News, which reported that Matthews has seen the ants disable multiple air-conditioning units near Austin, Texas.

The ant swarm storms in the interior of the units, causing them to short-circuit and prevents them from tuning on again.

Multiple reports also said that such swarm could consist of thousands of ants and overwhelm even the largest electronics.

Related Article: Heavy Rain and Thunderstorms Hit Northern Australia, Fire Weather Reported in the Western and Southern Regions

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