THE region’s State Emergency Service crews have spent the 24 hours since Sunday evening’s ferocious storm responding to hundreds of calls for help.
More than 75 of them in Tamworth, and the majority in East and North Tamworth.
The storm, which literally blew through the city and other parts of the region, was accompanied by wind gusts of more than 130km/h in some parts.
A cattle farmer at Bellata, between Moree and Narrabri, reported
gusts of 137km/h ripping through his property, leaving a trail of destruction.
He said three cement poles on his properties had been snapped off at ground level.
“Powerlines were hanging in the trees and paddocks,” he said.
“Every building on our two properties has been partially annihilated; the hay sheds, the grain sheds, all the tools and everything in the machinery shed are strewn over hundreds of hectares.”
Namoi SES acting region controller Andrew Galvin said the wind caused the bulk of the damage, which he said was the most widespread he had experienced in all of his time with the SES.
“The storm was severe and had a significant impact on properties in Narrabri and the surrounding areas of Wee Waa and Boggabri, as well as Gunnedah, Liverpool Plains and Tamworth areas,” he said.
“We received more than 146 requests for assistance in the Namoi region.
“The impact of the storm caused numerous trees to fall on, or threaten properties, trees down across roads, roof damage and fallen power lines.”
Mr Galvin urged residents across the north who had not yet prepared for the summer storm season to assert some common-sense.
“Clean out your gutters, ensure there are no loose items in your backyard, lop trees,” he said.
“All of those things can help to prevent damage to your property, and others, to some extent.
Duty manager for the Bureau of Metrology at Moree, Alison Skinn said Tamworth and Narrabri were among the worst affected as a result of the region’s storms and warned it might be necessary to batten down over the coming days because there was a chance of more.
Ms Skinn said Sunday afternoon’s storm was the result of a low pressure trough that had moved through the state over the weekend and combined with the hot conditions.
“The trough had been moving through the south of the state and made its way up to the North West since Thursday,” she said.
With power outages recorded across the state, the weather bureau itself was not exempt from the fallout, with four hours without power affecting their data recording.
Ms Skinn said wind gusts of 128km/h were recorded in Narrabri and gusts of 126km/h were recorded in Tamworth.
She said while cooler conditions and temperatures were expected across the north yesterday, the mercury would rise again at the end of the week.
“It’ll heat back up again, perhaps on Saturday there’ll be temperatures in the low 40s in Narrabri and Moree,” she said.
By 11.30am yesterday 4003 households and businesses were affected by unplanned power interruptions resulting from the storm.
About 2.30pm, a further 600 homes and businesses were brought back online.
A spokeswoman for Essential Energy said crews would continue to work as quickly as safety would allow to restore power to the remaining households and businesses affected.
“This includes bringing in additional crews from across the state,” she said.
Tamworth Regional Council workers on outdoor crews were also a part of yesterday’s mop up.
A group of five workers worked through most of the night on Sunday to clear trees with limbs blown down during the winds.
A road crew was busy helping to clear the roadways and ensure roads with significant damage were closed.
Yesterday Cameron’s Rd and the Weabonga Rd were both closed to motorists for a time.
Weabonga Rd was later re-opened after tree debris had been cleared by volunteers from the local Rural Fire Service.
An electrician was called in to the old Jumbuck Cottage in Bicentennial Park after reports the evaporative cooler on the roof of the building was struck by lightning.
Half of the roof at the Barraba Showground’s stables was ripped off in the gale force winds.
A spokeswoman for Tamworth Regional Council said it was likely their part in the storm clean up would continue into today.