Storm fury!


MULLAWAY and Arrawarra looked like a scene out of the natural disaster film 'Twister' yesterday morning, after a freak storm hit the area on Thursday evening.

The fury - which has been described by some as a mini tornado - lasted all of about 15 minutes, but in that time ripped roofs from houses, smashed trees into cars, tore gardens from their beds, threw debris across roads and caused widespread power outages.

Dal Phoonie, who resides in Woolgoolga but owns a property on the western side of the highway at Mullaway, lost the roof of his Mullaway property.

"The whole roof was blown off - it landed only 15 or 20 metres from the highway. Luckily the trees were there and stopped it - there would have been a roof in the middle of the highway."

Luckily, the house was unoccupied.

"I got a phone call from the lady next door. We rent the property out - there was no-one there," Mr Phoonie said.

Unfortunately, his story was not unique.

Several residents sustained damage to houses and garages, mainly from trees.

Mr Phoonie was astonished at the strength and speed of the storm.

"Dad left at about 5.15pm, and I was back here at 5.25pm and it had all happened."

The SES were kept bust, with 36 calls before midnight on Thursday, which grew to 50 as daylight showed the extent of the damage.

"Most of the calls were for tress on houses and cars, roofs off houses," Coffs Harbour City SES local controller, Bob White, said.

"On Thursday night we had three crews working; one from Corindi and two from Coffs. Today (yesterday) we'll have four; one from Corindi and Coffs and two from Grafton."

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