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20 hurt as tornadoes and powerful storms hit Victoria's nort

20 hurt as tornadoes and powerful storms hit Victoria's(Australia) northeast

Erin Marie, AAP
From:Herald Sun
March 22, 2013

RESIDENTS have told of their terror after tornadoes and powerful storms smashed Victoria's northeast, leaving 20 people injured including two critically.

The severe storms hit several towns including Yarrawonga, Mulwala, Bundalong, Rutherglen and Euroa about 8pm, the SES said.

Caravans were overturned, roofs were ripped off homes and buildings were damaged as tornadoes travelling up to 50km/h ripped through the area.

Dozens of residents remained unable to return home this morning while the clean-up effort is expected to take days.

One man was filling his car with petrol in Euroa when the tornado caused the Shell service station to collapse.

“The tornado came to my car - I actually thought it was going to pick my car up," the man, Daniel, told 3AW.

"I was stuck inside the car outside the actual service station, and everything around me just collapsed on top of my car”.

Bureau of Meteorology senior forecaster Richard Carlyon said video footage confirmed there were tornadoes in the region.

"We may have had tornadoes running for around 20km/h or 50km/h, causing extensive damage across a 100m-200m path. It’s hard to estimate how strong the winds were," he said.

Ambulance Victoria spokesman Peter Swan said paramedics responded to dozens of calls, with some people suffering serious injuries from flying debris.

"We are on standby expecting that there may be other patients around this morning," he said.

"This is certainly a very unusual event to occur in Victoria."

Manager of Emergency Management Jon Byrne said paramedics treated and transported 20 people to Yarrawonga Hospital, including four who were then taken to Melbourne by air ambulance.

A man in his 50s is in a critical condition in the Royal Melbourne Hospital with head, pelvis and abdominal injuries.

Yarrawonga District Health Service chief executive officer Terry Welch said the hospital had put patients up in hotel rooms to free up beds.

"We've really pulled on every resource we can," he said.

"We've paid for hotels for those that we could because we needed the bed capacity.

The SES received more than 150 calls for help in the region, and about 1000 from across the state.

The main streets of Rutherglen and Yarrawonga both suffered widespread damage, a SES spokesman said.

"This is certainly some of the fiercest weather I've seen, and some of the more experienced hands have echoed that view," he said

Wild winds also battered other parts of the state yesterday.

A Knox boy had a close escape on his way to school when a tree fell in his path.

The SES was also called to remove a large gum tree that fell on a car after hitting a power line in The Basin's Old Forest Rd.

One driver was being checked by paramedics after a tree crushed his car in Kilmore  during high wind gusts.

A woman called for help after a tree fell on her vehicle in Kew, bringing down live power lines on the ground around the car.

She was told not to leave the vehicle for fear she could be electrocuted. Firefighters, SES and ambulance officers were on the scene to safely remove her from the car.

St Kilda recorded a top gust of 100km/h. Tullamarine reached a top of 94km/h with other suburbs had winds between 70km/h and 90km/h.
Tornado rips through two states in Australia, injuring at least 20 people

Two caravan parks and a forest in Victoria and part of New South Wales were hit by the tornado which touched down around 8pm local time, leaving scenes of devastation which witnesses likened to a warzone.

A tornado ripped through parts of Australia on Thursday injuring 20 people, local media reported.

The storm struck around 8pm local time in the northeast of Victoria, razing two caravan parks and destroying a forest, according to local emergency officials.

It also affected parts of New South Wales, where another caravan park appeared largely destroyed. One young driver in the state had a lucky escape. Footage filmed from inside his car shows the tornado touching only metres from the road, with power lines exploding as they were hit by the twister. Daniel Clarke, 24, was forced to accelerate away at speed in a bid to escape.

Visitors to the caravan park and witnesses likened the scene in Mulwala to a war zone.

"Everyone's lost everything," one woman, who arrived on Friday morning, after the tornado struck, told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation.

An elderly woman, who did not give her name, recalled "bits of timber and trees and pieces of caravan just flying past, I don't think I'll ever forget it. It's dreadful."

She said she and her husband were lucky that the tornado did not hit their caravan, where they were at the time.

Earlier, an ambulance team manager in Victoria said 19 people were first airlifted to a local hospital, and five of them were later flown to Melbourne for medical treatment.

Local media said initial reports suggested winds picked up to between 180 and 250kmh (111-155mph). Forum Index -> EARTH, Quakes, Weather
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