Wild winds leave trail of de­struc­tion

Albany Advertiser - - NEWS - Jes­sica Cuth­bert

Michael and Pippa Mur­phy have de­scribed the mo­ment wild weather tore through their farm as ter­ri­fy­ing.

The cou­ple were at their Lower King home last Thurs­day when cy­clone-strength winds howled through their 100-acre farm leav­ing mass de­struc­tion in its path.

At the same time, Al­bany Air­port recorded a gust of 139km/h.

Mr Mur­phy said it was with­out a doubt the worst storm and dam­age they had ex­pe­ri­enced in 30 years of liv­ing there.

“We have been liv­ing here for 30 years and it was the worst dam­age we have seen by a long shot,” he said.

“There is no other way to de­scribe it other than a mini tor­nado — it lasted around five or 10 min­utes but left a trail of de­struc­tion.

“We thought we were go­ing to lose the front of the house.

“I hope I never have to live through any­thing like this again.”

The strong winds up­rooted many 30-year-old trees, de­stroyed gar­dens and caused the cou­ple’s shed to cave in.

A tree also fell on the car­port just a me­tre from the roof of the house.

The cou­ple’s drive­way is now lined with fallen trees and com­pletely in­ac­ces­si­ble.

On the same day, heavy winds caused sev­eral si­los to fall over off Me­nang Road.

Mrs Mur­phy said her hus­band com­pared the de­struc­tion to the af­ter­math of a B-52 bomber strike.

“Michael is an ex SAS and Viet­nam vet and af­ter we went out and saw the dam­age he turned and said to me, ‘this is what the edge of a B-52 bomber strike looks like’,” she said.

“The most gut-wrench­ing sad­ness is that we were only eight weeks away from open­ing our gar­den again to the public for a week­end fundraiser.”

For three years the Mur­phys have opened their gar­den for a Free the Bears fundraiser.

Free the Bears is an an Aus­tralian char­i­ta­ble wildlife-pro­tec­tion or­gan­i­sa­tion aim­ing to pro­tect, pre­serve and en­rich the lives of bears world­wide.

Be­cause of storm dam­age it will be years be­fore the cou­ple can open their gar­den again.

To sup­port Free the Bears, visit www.freethe­bears.org.

Mike ike and Pippa Mur­phy said it was as if a mini tor­nado had howled through their farm.fa Pic­ture: Laurie Ben­son

Mike Mur­phy with a tree up­rooted in the storm.

The mini tor­nado left a trail of de­struc­tion.

The wild winds wreaked havoc.

Mike Mur­phy com­pared the mess to a bomb strilke.

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