Coraki cleans up after storm’s ‘path of destruction’

FRIDAY night's thunderstorm ripped a "path of destruction" right through the Richmond Valley, but the damage was concentrated at Coraki, where houses lost roofs, trees were uprooted and sheds were torn apart.

Three days after the storm Rebekah and David McClelland were still cleaning out their rented house on the corner of Bridge and Minto Sts after the roof was ripped completely off during the storm.

When the upper level of the house started to rattle and shake, Ms McClelland knew something was wrong, and grabbed five of her children and took refuge in the downstairs bathroom.

Mr McClelland was upstairs trying to rescue computers when water started streaming in through the ceiling.

"Rain was hitting the front windows of the house so hard it looked like it was boiling through the seals," he said.

The family of eight is currently staying with friends but have started searching for a new home as the landlord looks set to demolish the storm-damaged house.

Austin Shiels said he had lived though a couple of hurricanes in Florida, but said Friday's storm was "worse than that, because it hit so hard and so fast".

"The sky blackened and the storm rolled in like many others, but it was the ferocity the wind that caught people by surprise and caused all the damage," he said.

Across the Richmond Valley there were 165 requests for help made to the SES, with 63 of those in East Coraki, Woodburn SES controller Jim McCormack said.

The storm left a "path of destruction" which affected Wardell, Tuki Tucki, Wyrallah, Woodburn and Alstonville.

In Coraki there were at least four houses that lost more than three-quarters of their roofs, and two of these lost "every bloody thing", Mr McCormack said.

"Falling trees and branches also caused a lot of damage," he said.

Early on Friday night a school bus with 14 children on board was trapped between fallen trees on Myall Creek Rd. No-one was hurt.

The Richmond Valley Council depot was also damaged by the storm when 12 roller doors were ripped off the garage building.

Across Coraki there was plenty of damage to council infrastructure such as fences and signs.

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