Wind storm sweeps through

Mansfield Courier - - Front Page - By SAM ROUGET

MANS­FIELD was left bat­tered and bruised by a wind storm which left a path of de­struc­tion through town last Wed­nes­day night.

It was a busy time for many, who spent the early hours of the morn­ing strap­ping down valu­ables and re­mov­ing fallen trees and branches from roads.

Both the Mans­field SES unit and High Coun­try Tree Ser­vices had their hands full, with calls for help across the shire, par­tic­u­larly in town.

The SES was just fin­ish­ing their first train­ing back for 2020 when the storm ripped through town.

By the end of the storm, they had re­sponded to over 40 call outs; the first be­ing at 9.45pm on Wed­nes­day night.

“Within about a minute, we had all of th­ese other calls com­ing in,” Tom Thoburn, Mans­field SES unit con­troller, said.

“There were trees across Mid­land and Ma­roon­dah High­ways and the Euroa-Merton Road which we fo­cused on first.”

Be­cause there were so many calls for help, the SES was re­quired to up­grade their com­mu­ni­ca­tions level.

One of the worst hit ar­eas in town was Ailsa Street, which on Thurs­day morn­ing was taped off from the pub­lic.

“Ailsa Street and Col­lopy Street had trees blown over and on fences in peo­ple’s yards, as well as trees on sheds,” Mr Thoburn said.

“There were also a few pow­er­lines brought down, and so it was very im­por­tant that we didn’t al­low any­one in there.”

Busi­nesses such as Cen­tral Gen­eral Prac­tice and Mans­field Kinder­garten are lo­cated along the street, as well as the lo­cal bowls club, and upon ar­rival ex­am­ined the dam­age in the street.

At Cen­tral Gen­eral Prac­tice, a tree was up­rooted by gusts of wind and came down – along with power and phone lines.

The same tree also caused a part of a car park to lift, which re­vealed a ca­ble and a large root sys­tem.

“Lucky no one was hurt,” Cen­tral Gen­eral Prac­tice’s Dr Will Twycross said.

In Kitchen Street, three units had tiles lifted from their roofs.

“It was pretty hard go­ing there in the early hours of the morn­ing, putting tarps up to stop wa­ter leak­ing into homes and sheds,” Mr Thoburn said.

Houses in Lo­gan and Kitchen Streets copped it too, with one shed roof even lift­ing off and blow­ing 40m down the drive­way.

“If some­body had have been walk­ing out­side they would have been killed for sure,” Mr Thoburn said.

At the Mans­field Ho­tel, the iconic oak tree in the court­yard suf­fered a beat­ing from strong winds.

While branches were torn down by the winds, luck­ily no one was in­jured.

At 2am on Thurs­day morn­ing, Al Seaton of High Coun­try Tree Ser­vices was busy ex­am­in­ing the trail of fallen trees and de­bris that lay on roads, foot­paths and car parks.

High Coun­try Tree Ser­vices ar­rived on scene and took to Face­book with a video to show the dam­age that had been done.

“We’ve got a big eu­ca­lypt tree here that has up­rooted and come out of the ground,” Mr Seaton said.

“It’s a fairly de­cent tree and was shad­ing quite a few car parks.”

There was also an­other eu­ca­lyp­tus tree that had fallen in the winds not too far from the first, which also ap­peared to be an older tree.

In to­tal, Mr Seaton and the team at High Coun­try Tree Ser­vices have at­tended over 50 jobs and have also as­sisted in cleanup of de­bris around the Shire of Mans­field.

Fol­low­ing the storm, Mr Seaton ad­vises that res­i­dents “keep an eye out for snapped branches and hang­ers, more com­monly known as ‘widow mak­ers’, caught up in trees”.

“Hang­ers and snapped branches will be­come more vis­i­ble as the fo­liage dies off,” Mr Seaton said.

“Th­ese branches can dis­lodge from above, caus­ing dam­age and de­struc­tion to as­sets and life be­low.

“Many trees may have be­come un­sta­ble in the ground af­ter the storms and high winds, but not nec­es­sar­ily failed.

“Mon­i­tor­ing of trees is highly rec­om­mended.

“If cracks in the ground or the po­si­tion of the tree has changed, con­sult with a qual­i­fied ar­borist im­me­di­ately.”

Mans­field’s res­i­dents wish to thank every­one in­volved in the clean-up process – espe­cially the High Coun­try Trees crew and the SES unit.

PHO­TOS: Sam Rouget and Katie Moore

CLEAN UP: The High Coun­try Tree Ser­vices crew busy clear­ing a fallen tree at the Cen­tral Gen­eral Prac­tice car park.

ICONIC: The old and iconic oak tree in Mans­field Ho­tel’s court­yard was dam­aged by strong winds last week.

ROAD CLOSED: The road to Be­nalla at the round-a-bout was closed for a few hours on Thurs­day while High Coun­try Tree Ser­vices cleared up the de­bris.

FALLEN DOWN: Many trees fell on power and phone lines, caus­ing prob­lems for res­i­dents across town.

STEER CLEAR: Trees down along Ailsa Street caused ac­cess is­sues as the street was closed off to ve­hi­cles while it was cleaned up.

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