Clearing a fallen tree off a Tarago van were SES volunteers Ray Legge, Sam Marriott and Randolph Cahill of Alstonville.
Clearing a fallen tree off a Tarago van were SES volunteers Ray Legge, Sam Marriott and Randolph Cahill of Alstonville.

Wild storm blows in 2009

BIRDS, trees, big branches and powerlines all came downwere felled, and debris was strewn across roads, when fierce storms struck at midnight yesterday.

A home and cars were crushed as the Northern Rivers region was lit by an eerie yellow glow and thousands of lightning strikes.

It was an intense display of nature’s raw energy on the first evening of 2009.

Strong winds caused most damage in strips around Alstonville, Dunoon, Rosebank, Mullumbimby, Ewingsdale, Evans Head and Skennars Head.

Power supplies were cut to 2000 homes and businesses.

Country Energy field crews worked throughout the night and some homes in Alstonville were without power for more than 16 hours after a big chunk of a gum tree fell onto overhead lines along Teven Road.

“Strong winds wreaked significant damage across a wide area of the power network with wires down in around 50 locations,” said Country Energy’s acting Far North Coast regional manager Phillip Green.

“Trees brought down three spans of wires in the Rosebank area.

“A small number of customers may not have their power restored until tomorrow.”

Victims included Alstonville dentist and horticulturalist Geoffrey Sherlock, who spent yesterday clearing tree debris with the help of his son Hugo and father Hal.

Mr Sherlock said five per cent of his macadamia orchard was ruined in the storm with dozens of his commercial trees split in half by the violent winds.

“It was ferocious and it’s surprising there was not more damage,” he said.

Lismore campers Sharon Clark and daughter Teghan were a little scared after tree branches fell onto a car and scraped tents at Evans Head camping ground.


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