Weather’s fury unleashed

Climate. Damaging winds and thunderstorms have lashed the Circular Head region, and the message from the Bureau of Meteorology is: “It’s not over yet.”

Photos show the extensive damage to Marrawah Tavern caused by a lightning strike in the area on Monday night. 

Regular cold fronts have produced wind gusts of over 100 km/h in Smithton and Cape Grim over the past 48 hours, with another forecast to cross the state on Thursday.

The mix of heavy winter extremes has emergency services urging residents to take extra caution while conditions persist, with winds expected to ease slightly by the weekend.

BOM media and communications manager Mal Riley explained the reasons behind the recent weather phenomenon, which caused power outages in parts of Smithton on Tuesday night.

“There have been cold fronts every 10 or 12 hours,” he said. “Each one of these is going to kick up the wind and rain somewhat.

“I think what is probably unusual is we’re getting three days of really strong winds.”

Strong rain has been accompanying the intense gusts, with 10.8 millimetres recorded in Smithton on Monday and 26.8 on Tuesday.

At Marrawah, there were reports of a number of lightning strikes hitting properties on Monday night, including a shocking account of a destructive strike near Marrawah Tavern.

The pub’s manager, Steve Bryan, was serving tourists at the bar around 5pm when a loud clap shook the entire premises.

“There was a massive explosion, a big ball of light . . . It sounded like a bomb,” he said.

Shortly after, the group inspected the damage: the tourists’ campervan had a broken windscreen; mortar in the brickwork of the building had been shaken; windows in several of the residence’s rooms were shattered; and nearby trees had been sliced.

“It was just like a big knife had gone through them,” Mr Bryan said, adding: “Noone was hurt, that’s the main thing.”

CONTACTS

TasNetworks (power faults) – 132 004
SES (flood and storm emergency assistance) – 132 500
For the latest information in severe conditions, listen to your local ABC radio or check www.ses.tas.gov.au.

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