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Feak storm raised the roof

Wednesday, 2nd March, 2011

CLEANUP: Patching roofs was one of the main jobs facing SES crews on Monday night. CLEANUP: Patching roofs was one of the main jobs facing SES crews on Monday night.

By Gayle Hogan

Local residents and businesses were yesterday cleaning up and counting the cost of Monday night's brief but violent storm.

A number of houses and cars were damaged by falling trees and flying sheets of iron after wind gusts as strong as 87 kilometres an hour (47 knots) lashed the city around 7pm and left many without power.

Coles supermarket was forced to throw out meat and dairy products after power to the fridges was out for four hours, with store manager Sue Dowding saying the cost of the lost products was "significant."

Despite the ferocity of the thunder and lightning storm, local insurance agents say they have not been inundated with claims.

CGU Insurance Account Manager Michael McKee said he was not expecting the damage bill to be anywhere near as high as it was after a severe storm which hit the city's south in 2005 and caused "millions" of dollars in damage.

Allianz and CGU Insurance agent Geoff Blake said that while it was "early days" he did not expect a high number of claims.

Bureau of Meteorology (BOM) Duty Forecaster Dimitry Danhul said the Broken Hill weather station at the airport recorded a highest wind gust of 87 kilometres per hour).

The average wind speed was 34 knots.

"It's not a cyclone, obviously," Mr Danhul told the BDT.

The storm also saw hail stones 1.2cm in diameter hit the city as well as 13mm of rain in 10 minutes, according to the BOM.

More than 6,000 homes in the city lost power during the storm, but Essential Energy (formerly Country Energy) said the majority of power was restored by 11pm Monday.

Three homes which remained without power yesterday were reconnected late afternoon, according to a spokesperson for Essential Energy, who said that the power supply problems were internal.

The hospital's phone lines were also damaged in the storm, leaving it without phone lines. Parts were to be flown in from Sydney yesterday with the hospital expecting the phone lines to be up and running last night or this morning.

A spokesman for the local health service asked the public for their patience and wished to remind locals to call 000 in a medical emergency.

A massive cleanup effort was underway yesterday in the city's south, which was the worst hit area with a number of homes losing verandahs and patios and downed trees.

Local State Emergency Service (SES) crews had 38 callouts with the main jobs patching up roofs and removing fallen branches.

The RSPCA had just one dog brought into the shelter, which was later reunited with its owner, but five people had reported their pets as missing following the storm.

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