Freak tornado wreaks havoc

DISMANTLED: A shed was left with significant damage following the tornado event. Picture: JOANNE VINE
DISMANTLED: A shed was left with significant damage following the tornado event. Picture: JOANNE VINE

A TORNADO dismantled a shed and launched hay bales across paddocks as wild weather hit parts of the Lower South East on Thursday.

A spokesperson from the Australian Bureau of Meteorology said specialists from the severe weather section had confirmed reports regarding the event, which occurred in the late afternoon, were consistent with a tornado.

“We have seen a number of photographs of trees down and sheds dismantled and everything looks consistent with a tornado-type event and there was certainly an environment where that is possible,” a spokesperson said.

Sean Miller was at his home in Wepar when the eye of the storm passed through and he said it was an extremely severe weather event.

“It was a proper tornado, I remember five minutes before I looked out the window across the paddock and saw the lower level cloud forming into a tornado shape,” Mr Miller said.

“It was strange because we were not really worried at the time because it was not until after it was over that we realised how extreme it really was.”

With hundreds of trees down across his property, Mr Miller said the aftermath was a clear indication the winds were extreme.

“There are trees down along probably half a kilometre of fencing, a silo has disappeared and a water tank we have never seen has landed on ours,” he said.

“You would not have wanted to be out in it, there would have been a real risk of getting hit by something.”

Wattle Range Country Fire Service group officer Fred Stent said the wild weather could only be described as “horrific”.

Mr Stent said his crews were extremely busy after a wind tunnel caused several incidents across the region.

ROOF OFF: The roof of a shed comes to a stop in the cypress trees opposite Darryl Greenfield’s property. Picture: JOANNE VINE

“It is like a mini-tornado that came through Wepar and struck Cave Range Road, it would have been horrifying for anyone travelling in it,” Mr Stent said.

“It took the roof off a shed and completely knocked the walls in.”

Darryl Greenfield also owns a property where the wild weather struck and was still coming to terms with the path of destruction it left.

“We had some water inundation, fence lines down and around 30 to 40 trees down across the property, but we were fortunate compared to others,” Mr Greenfield said.

“The roof of a shed was completely taken off by the storm at a property next door and it got caught in some cypress trees across the road from our place.”

While Mr Greenfield was not home at the time of the incident, he said his wife experienced the whole weather event.

“It was a 2km front that blasted for around 5km and we had 38mm of rain in around 10 minutes, it would have been absolutely terrifying,” he said.

“We have never had anything like it in this area before and while it was short lived it was still significant.”

CFS and State Emergency Service crews attended several fallen trees across roads in Glencoe, Monbulla, Kalangadoo and Penola.

Mr Stent said the band of wild weather was not unusual.

“There is not much you can really do to prepare for it, but just make sure all loose items are stored away to minimise any damage,” he said.

HIGH ALERT: Country Fire Service crews were extremely busy late last week attending several trees down following severe weather striking across the Lower South East region.