Australians are funny about tornadoes. Most of us have a strong belief that they don’t occur here. It’s hard to shake. Sure, we have violent thunderstorms. Hailstones as big as cricket balls. Violent winds that blow down trees over wide areas. But no tornadoes. They only occur in America, like in the movie Twister.
We have dust devils. They’re know locally as willy-willies. Most of us who have driven out in the bush during a summer drought have seen them. Columns of swirling dust being sucked high into the clear blue sky.
Plenty of people have seen water spouts descending from storms out to sea on the Far South Coast. But tornadoes are not a common sight.
Bombala residents were astonished to see a twister touch down near the Bombala sewerage works on Tuesday November 8. The storm caused extensive damage to homes, roofs and a number of sheds.
The day began with a very light breeze from the north but at noon temperatures plummeted seven degrees in an hour and the wind built from the south.
Locals were drawn outside by a roaring sound before the twister touched down near a home in the town’s west, before leaving a 20 metre wide path of destruction through trees and properties. Real estate was damaged but thankfully no one was hurt.
Locals will never forget the tornado in Merimbula. Violent thunderstorms were forecast for the south east of the state for that evening, but the day was sunny and pleasant. Miraculously no-one had been hurt. A lot of houses had been destroyed, the bowling club badly damaged and a motel completely wrecked. It had hit Merimbula from the north, gone through part of the town, disappeared before it reached the main street, then had come ashore again at Pambula Beach, a few miles south, where it had mangled a caravan park, gone up the hill and had left a trail of devastated houses, before disappearing into the bush.
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