A family in Victoria has escaped death by a whisker after strong winds brought four huge gum trees down on their house.
Severe winds with maximum speeds of 107 km/h caused damage to property in the state on Monday night and Tuesday morning. The winds have been blowing through Melbourne city and neighbouring areas all day long.
By midday yesterday, the State Emergency Service (SES) had received up to 420 calls from residents seeking help and the figure jumped to 523 by today morning.
The Cartwright family based in Millgrove, east of Melbourne told stormassist.com.au that several trees came tumbling down on their 30-year old home while they were sleeping.
One tree missed crashing them by just 180cm, lamented John Cartwright, adding that the family heard a “big whoosh and crash” as the trees fell onto the home.
“I didn’t know whether he [my son] was hurt or not,” he said.
On the other hand, Jenny Cartwright remarked that their home had been “smashed to smithereens” and this included their recently refurbished kitchen with the dishwasher being damaged beyond recognition.
“But we’ll rebuild it, we’re here and that’s what’s the most important thing,” she said.
‘Spring is generally storm season’
According to Tim Bolden a senior meteorologist at the Bureau of Meteorology, a heavy cold front tracked through Victoria late Monday night through to Tuesday morning.
Mr Bolden noted that the front is expected to head east on Tuesday evening and come to a halt in Victoria’s northeastern area by Wednesday morning.
Wind gusts moving at speeds of up to 107kph were witnessed at Mount William, with winds of 106kph recorded at Mount Hotham. Tullamarine Airport experienced winds of 100kph as Essendon Airport recorded winds moving at speeds of 93kph on early Tuesday morning.
The deputy chief officer at the SES Mr Alistair Drayton reported that the weather conditions of the last few days were considered “quite severe.”
He explained that 380 distress calls received by midday on Tuesday related to fallen trees.
“This is not unusual, spring is generally storm season,” he said.
Mr Drayton asked the residents to be cautious and prepare for the worst as the weather conditions predicted for September were generally more extreme and could cause damage.
“We will see potential flash flooding this month,” he said, adding that future strong winds could uproot trees that have been weakened by the current winds.
Mr Drayton concluded that residents in Victoria should embrace themselves for a spring that would be “entirely different” from last year’s.
“Sixty per cent of the state will exceed an 80 per cent chance of above-average rainfall during spring,” he said.
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