St Matthews Anglican Church in James Street, Dunoon, soon after a tornado hit yesterday (Friday) afternoon. Three walls of the
St Matthews Anglican Church in James Street, Dunoon, soon after a tornado hit yesterday (Friday) afternoon. Three walls of the

Twister wreaks havoc in Dunoon

By ANDY PARKS

A FREAK tornado has ripped through the village of Dunoon.

The twister struck without warning yesterday afternoon around 4pm and within moments had all but destroyed a large section of the village.

Residents who were in the village at the time said the tornado was 'massive'. Will Mercer said it was like something straight out of the movie Twister.

"It was spiralling round and round. It was a massive great big thing," he said.

"We saw it coming over Modanville, then it disappeared and reappeared about five minutes later. But instead of moving, it seemed to stay in the same location. There was debris in the air, sheets of iron, all sorts of stuff."

Mr Mercer said he then saw a big flash that he believed was the power sub-station blowing up.

His daughter Lilly said 'it was like a big whirly whirly. I was at home in the pool and hail started coming down. It was really scary'.

The tornado blew the walls out of St Matthews Anglican Church, ripped walls and roofs off about 20 houses and felled power lines in at least three places. The main street of Dunoon was closed to all traffic, leaving residents stranded, many of them not knowing if their houses were still intact. Phone lines were also down, making it impossible for those stranded outside of the police line to contact family and friends.

There were also reports of damage to the local school and facilities around the sports club. SES workers conducted a door-to-door search to see if anybody had been injured. An evacuation point was established at the Sports Club where the SES set up a generator for families whose houses had been damaged.

Dunoon Sports Club manager, Bernadette Ross hadn't been able to leave the club by 8pm last night, but feared her house near The Channon had been reduced to 'matchsticks'.



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