Winds wreak havoc as wild storm strikes
BUILDINGS were damaged, debris was scattered hundreds of metres into neighbouring properties and residents were left without power when a wild storm ripped through Clarenza late Tuesday.
Those at St Andrew's Christian Community School were among many caught up in the ordeal, with two of the school buildings severely damaged by strong winds and falling trees when the storm front hit about 4.30pm.
Most of the roof was ripped from school's industrial arts workshop, resulting in extensive water damage to tools and supplies inside, and a large shelter was left leaning at a precarious angle.
Principal Mac Lindsay said it was extremely lucky the storm came though out of school hours.
"I was quite shocked to see the extent of the damage," Mr Lindsay said.
"The covered outdoor learning area is now leaning at 45 degrees and is in danger of collapsing.
"Some of the big metal cupboards holding power tools in the workshop were thrown for metres and were found outside the workshop.
"There are probably a dozen large trees down and lots of branches everywhere.
"We are really thankful to God there has been no loss of life or injury to students or staff."
Mr Lindsay said none of the other buildings suffered any damage and, aside from having no power during the morning, classes ran as normal yesterday.
Nearby residents Eric and Margaret Wheeler were at home when the storm struck.
"The whole sky was filled with loose leaves swirling around and there was a terrible whining noise," Mrs Wheeler said.
The couple has lived in Clarenza for 30 years and had never seen a storm like it.
"We've had a couple of big ones in the past but not as big as that," Mr Wheeler said.
He said the storm and destructive winds had followed a narrow path, damaging some properties while others were left virtually untouched.
John and Sue Bloomer returned home from work to discover their lawn strewn with broken roof tiles and their large workshop destroyed.
Two extra-large shed doors were completely blown off and the steel frame twisted, while next door a pile of timber was unaffected.
"The green shed next to it doesn't have a scratch on it," Mr Bloomer said.
While the couple was waiting for insurance assessors to arrive yesterday afternoon, they said they were extremely grateful to the SES for their help.
"The SES volunteers were fantastic," Mrs Bloomer said.
"They were up on the roof of the house working in the rain, even in the dark. We can't thank them enough."