Leanne McLaughlin went to her Highfield Road house in Kyogle yesterday to find the roof across the street.
Leanne McLaughlin went to her Highfield Road house in Kyogle yesterday to find the roof across the street.

Storm rips off roofs

KYOGLE residents Dot Ibbertson and Kay McGrath are just two of many on the Northern Rivers hit hard by storms on Thursday night.

Mrs Ibbertson’s carport gained another roof after wild weather ripped the tin from a neighbouring Highfield Road house.

“There was just wind and rain and the noise of the storm, and then I heard a big crash,” she said.

Mrs Ibbertson has lived in Kyogle since 1975 and said she’d ‘never seen anything like it’.

“It’s the first time it has ever happened,” she said.

“I went out there (to the carport) and all I could see was the insulation, so at first I thought it was my roof.”

The owner of the house that lost its roof, Leanne McLaughlin, of Eden Creek, said the property was empty at the time.

“The police rang me last night and told me there was nothing I could do, it was all gone,” she said.

“Country Energy and the SES have been fantastic. They have gone above and beyond.”

Mrs McGrath lost part of her roof, leaving her living room and veranda open to the elements and tin strewn around nearby paddocks.

“Lord knows where the roof is,” she said.

“I’m usually not scared of anything, but it was dark, I was by myself, and I was petrified. I looked up and thought I could see the light of the sky, and then I realised I had no roof.”

Country Energy Far North Coast community relations manager Mike Hely said yesterday it was estimated that up to 5000 houses across the region were left without power.

“We had most of those people back on within a couple of hours, and crews were still working all today to repair faults,” he said.

While the region copped ‘well over 1000 lightning strikes’ on Thursday, he said the Bentley, Goonengerry, Casino and Kyogle areas were the hardest hit.

Mr Hely said extra workers were called in from Ewingsdale, Ballina and Grafton.

Richmond-Tweed Regional SES office business manager Dallyce Nilsson said there were 16 call-outs to properties in Kyogle, Casino and Lismore.

“There were roofs ripped off, part-roofs ripped off and trees across driveways,” she said.

Despite the wild weather, Ms Nilsson said this storm season had been milder than previous years.

“It was pretty traumatic for the people involved, but this storm season has been relatively quiet compared with last year,” she said.

“We’ve had about 100 call-outs all up, but we normally have many hundreds of jobs.”

Bureau of Meteorology severe weather forecaster Michael Logan said the storms brought golf ball-sized hail to the Casino area on Wednesday, 48mm of rainfall in under half an hour and 90km/h gusts of wind on Thursday.

“The Casino area was one of the most heavily impacted,” he said.

Mr Logan said storms were likely to clear up in the region last night, with rain forecast for the rest of the weekend.

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