Murrurundi rocked by storm

STORM DAMAGE: Sandra Garland captured images of the hailstorm, which hit Murrurundi on Monday night, including the shredding of her patio roof.HAILSTONES the size of tennis and cricket balls have devastated Murrurundi in a 20-minute assault on Monday night.

Residents say the storm hit about 7pm, rolling up over the range from the Liverpool Plains andpummelling the Murrurundi township, Timor and Ellerston, east of Scone.

By Tuesday morning, 17 volunteers from the SES at Murrurundi, Muswellbrook and Boolaroo near Lake Macquarie were in Murrurundi dealing with 44call-outs.

The SES Deputy Region Controller for the Hunter, Robyn Barco, left Metford SES headquarters at 9.30pm on Monday to travel to the town to act asincident controller.

“In the first hour after the storm the SES had 14 calls for assistance which is a large number for the Murrurundi unit.

“The majority of the calls are for roof damage,particularly skylights, where the hail was so large it just ripped holes straight through,” Ms Barco said.

The storm caused roof damage to the Murrurundi pre-school, closing it on Tuesday; the Murrurundi Public School in Mayne Street; and the Murravale aged care facility in Haydon Street.

Ms Barco said the SES crews have tarped the aged care home as a temporary measure before further repairs can take place.

“These hail stones were as big as the hail I saw at the Sydney hail storm of 1998 and I think some could have been larger.

“As we work through our jobs here today more than 12 hours after the storm there is still ice sitting on the ground now,” Ms Barco said.

STORM DAMAGE: Sandra Garland captured images of the hailstorm, which hit Murrurundi on Monday night, including the shredding of her patio roof.

Ms Barco said the entire SES team in Murrurundi had done an exceptional job and she was urginganyone who needed assistance to contact the SES on 132 500.

Meantime, owner of the Murrurundi Post Office Robyn Turnbull said it was a devastating few minutes.

“There’s terrible damage and it’s all over town and the hail ranged in size from golf balls to tennis balls.

“Our big 5000-gallon galvanised water tanks out the back were full and they’re now nearly empty after the hail punched holes right through them.

“I’ve never seen a storm like it in my life and the Mitsubishi 4WD looks like an overgrown golf ball now,” Mrs Turnbull said.

The car was hit after Mrs Turnbull’s husband, Graham, went to watch Monday night football at a friend’s house down the road.

“I went to see the ‘crash bang’ man, Peter at Murrurundi Body Works, at 9.30am on Tuesday and he told me I was about the ninth person to come through the door with hail damage,” Mr Turnbull said.

Two doors down the road, on Mayne Street, Bob Mahoney had a friend visiting in their brand newcaravan.

The van was wrecked and the annexe absolutely shredded.

Murrurundi SES Local Controller Bob Standen had three hours sleep when the Hunter Valley News spoke to him on Tuesday.

He worked from 6pm on Monday to 3am on Tuesday and was up again at 6am on to carry on with his team of volunteers.

“Anything plastic has disintegrated and the whole town in one square kilometre has been affected.

“There are no trees down but they’ve all been stripped bare, but those hailstones; they were massive and they’ve done a lot of damage to skylights,” Mr Standen said.

Like Graham and Robyn Turnbull at the Murrurundi Post Office, the SES’ Bob Standen and wife, Rosemary, suffered damage, too.

His wife, Rosemary, summed it up.

“Our Holden Commodore looks like a ball of Swiss cheese, the back window’s been blown out, half the sheets that cover the greenhouse are gone and there’s not a plastic peg left on the line,” she said.