Strong winds play havoc

A tree toppled onto a home in Cannons Creek. Pictures: NARRE WARREN SES

By Brendan Rees

Narre Warren State Emergency Service volunteers responded to 36 jobs after strong winds hit the region over the weekend of 8-9 February.

Many residents awoke to find damage after trees and limbs fell onto homes, sheds, vehicles, and roads – as wind gusts reached up to 80km/h.

This included a gum tree which toppled onto a car and shed in Stirling Avenue, Cranbourne North on Saturday while another tree fell on a shed Connie Court, Cranbourne on Sunday morning.

Narre Warren SES spokesman Damian Burns said the easterly winds were less common, with Casey taking a battering.

“It was an unusual wind we don’t normally get. It’s the second time in this calendar year we’ve had a strong easterly wind and each time we’ve had a lot of trees come down,” he said.

SES crews were also called out to a job in Hampton Park whereby a tree fell onto a Hanley Street pergola, damaging a fence, while volunteers used a pole saw to remove a tree which landed on a roof at a home in Cannons Creek.

Mr Burns said crews tarped a roof in Cranbourne after a vent blew off, adding crews were stretched at one point after being forced to leave incomplete jobs to attend a traffic hazard on Baxter-Tooradin Road near Fisheries Road, Devon Meadows where a fallen tree caused chaos.

“We just had jobs coming up one after the other,” Mr Burns said, adding they had to call Greater Dandenong SES unit for help and relief crews from their own unit before clearing all jobs by 11pm on Sunday.

Bureau of Meteorology duty forecaster Dean Stewart said trees were more susceptible to falling in easterly winds which he described as “rare”.

“In the westerly and northerly wins which are more common directions they build up a bit of resilience,” Mr Stewart said. “When we get the strong easterly winds we often get reports of trees coming down”.

“The trees aren’t used to coping with those strong winds”.

Luckily, no one was injured in any event as SES recording 559 trees falling across the state. The previous weekend, Narre Warren SES received 32 requests for help in 30 hours during wild weather.

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