Melanie Giles inspects the storm damage to her home in Gatelys Road yesterday.
Melanie Giles inspects the storm damage to her home in Gatelys Road yesterday.

COFFS? TURN FOR SEVERE STORMS

By CRAIG McTEAR

THE Giles family was sitting down to dinner when Tuesday's savage storm struck.

Melanie, her husband, Laurence, and their children Emma, 5, Kimberley, 10, and Anna, 13, knew they were in for a rough ride when the roofing iron on their rental home on Gatelys Road began to lift off after 7pm.

They had watched the tempest closing in only moments earlier from their perfect position in the hills high above Coffs Harbour.

"We were thinking it looked really cool," Melanie said.

They'd moved their outdoor furniture out of harm's way, thinking all would be fine.

But a 10- to 15-minute onslaught resulted in about a quarter of their roof peeling off, while the roof over their porch was torn away and unceremoniously flung into a nearby gully.

"I was pretty scared, actually," Melanie said.

"We saw it coming, but we didn't realise how windy it would be. We've had some big winds before and the house has stood up to them.

"The wind was strong enough to blow you over, and the driving rain was coming in at a 45-degree angle.

"It flooded the kitchen, the office and cupboards."

Neighbours rushed to their aid and ushered the children to safety, while seven SES personnel went to work with sandbags and tarpaulins to undertake makeshift repairs on the mangled roof.

The family spent the night at a local motel and returned yesterday morning to their battered home.

"The roof will definitely have to be replaced," Melanie said.

"The house normally rocks when there's a storm because it's a pole house. I've had nightmares about ending up down the hill.

Thankfully, Melanie and Laurence will be covered for damage to their possessions after taking out contents insurance only three weeks ago.



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