Wind storm sweeps through
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.
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.