SYDNEY, Feb. 12 (Xinhua) -- With homes and business battered by the extreme weather on Australia's east coast, energy provider Ausgrid has asked for help from the military to clear debris and repair electricity.
Speaking with Sky News Wednesday morning, New South Wales (NSW) Minister for Energy and Environment Matt Kean confirmed that a request had been made to the Australian military.
"Their CEO (Richard Gross) raised it with me yesterday and of course I fully support it," he said, adding that the state government would look to expedite the call out of the army.
Following a weekend of wild weather on the country's east coast, around 31,000 homes and businesses across Sydney and the Central Coast region still remain without power on Wednesday.
With a backlog of work to get through, Ausgrid said it's now seeking help from various government agencies to clear debris caused by the floods.
"Due to the extreme damage across the network we have asked all levels of government for assistance, specifically in the form of extra tree clearing resources," Ausgrid said.
Battered by damaging winds and flash flooding, Ausgrid said they were struggling to repair the electricity network and had brought in additional crews from Queensland, Victoria and South Australia.
"Ausgrid has deployed every available resource to the recovery response," the government-backed company said on social media.
"This is one of the worst storms to hit our network in the past 20 years, causing over 2,000 fallen and snapped power lines, trees and wires down," it said, adding that the network will need to be rebuilt from the ground in the hardest hit areas.
Meanwhile, the Bureau of Meteorology has issued a severe thunderstorm warning for large parts of Australia's east coast on Wednesday and Thursday.
Residents in low-lying areas are also being warned to prepare sandbags and other precautionary measures in case of further flooding.
To make matters worse, a tropical cyclone is currently building at sea and is expected to bring huge waves and high tides that could exacerbate the risk of flash flooding this weekend.
While Cyclone Uesi is currently expected to miss the mainland, the category two storm is predicted to wreak havoc on Lord Howe Island.
"The cyclone is expected to transition to an ex-tropical system, meaning it will maintain its intensity in its southern quadrants as it moves close to or to the west of the island on Friday morning," the Bureau of Meteorology said.
"Gales with gusts to 120 km per hour are expected to develop about Lord Howe Island late on Thursday afternoon or early evening. Higher wind gusts to 140 km per hour may occur during the night as the center of the transitioning tropical cyclone moves closer to the island."