Wingham storm damage December 2018

Tree branch hanging on the powerline at the Wingham abattoirs. Photo Amy-lee Kneebone
Tree branch hanging on the powerline at the Wingham abattoirs. Photo Amy-lee Kneebone

Most of Wingham’s residents have been left in the dark after last night’s (December 20) storm wreaked havoc across the region.

Lightning, strong winds, hail and rain hit the area just before 8pm causing trees and powerlines to fall.

As the sun began to rise this morning (December 21), residents began to assess the damage.

Amy-lee Kneebone posted a photo of a tree branch hanging on a powerline out front of the Wingham abattoirs on Facebook, while Kristy Jane posted a photo of the crushed swing set and mangled clothesline in her backyard.

Emergency crews from NSW SES, RFS, MidCoast Council and Fire and Rescue had a busy night with call outs to a range of incidents. 

NSW RFS Mid Coast district officer, Stuart Robb said calls started coming in at around 7.30pm and continued for about two hours.

“We had 48 jobs from Bulahdelah to Port Macquarie overnight,” Stuart said. “We had 20 units supporting the SES and Fire and Rescue.”

The call outs included storm damage to property, powerlines down, motor vehicle accidents, verandahs collapsing and roofs being blown off.

MidCoast Council crews joined in the clean up overnight.

“Last night’s storm event caused widespread damage across the Mid Coast area, particularly in terms of trees down over roads,” a representative from council said.

“The main focus for council crews today (Friday December 21) will be making roads safe for the community, with trees and branches being removed from roads to make them passable. A full clean-up will come after the Christmas break.”

Crushed swing set and mangled clothesline. Photo Kristy Jane

Crushed swing set and mangled clothesline. Photo Kristy Jane

Council will be on break from close of business Friday December 21 until Wednesday January 2 and has indicated that green waste, including fallen trees on council property, will not be removed until crews return to work.

Essential Energy also has crews out assessing power outages across its network in the North Coast area with about 24,000 customers still without power as at 10.30am on Friday December 21.

“Additional Essential Energy crews from outside the region are on their way to help with rectification works. Helicopters will be taking to the air shortly to assist with assessing and repairing damage.”

Essential Energy warns that customers should not attempt to clear any fallen trees at this early stage and are reminded to stay at least eight metres away from any damaged powerlines or equipment and report to Essential Energy on 13 20 80.

Essential Energy thanks customers for their patience as its crews work safely and quickly as possible to restore power to all customers as soon as possible.

For most of the Wingham region, Essential Energy estimates the power will return by 10pm this evening (December 21).

For updates on the power outages, visit www.essentialenergy.com.au/outages-and-faults/power-outages