SES respond to more than 600 calls after Illawarra winds

State Emergency Service crews responded to more than 600 calls for help in the wake of the winds that hit the region on Tuesday night.

Strong winds lashed the region, with Albion Park recording wind gusts of up to 115 km/h at 4.15pm and Bellambi Point reporting 113 km/h at 7:30pm.

An SES spokesman said they received 619 calls for assistance from around 4pm on Tuesday and there were still 300 outstanding as of 11am on Wednesday.

‘‘Most of the calls came through between four and six o’clock last night when people were coming home,’’ the spokesman said.

‘‘As it starts to get dark you don’t get to see that much, but as the winds started to pick up later at night and people would hear branches cracking, people will go out and do a bit more investigation and start putting some more jobs in.

‘‘Our crews were starting to wind down at about 11 to 11.30 last night and they’re back out again this morning.’’

They will be assisted by at least eight crews that have come in from other regions for the clean-up.

While suburbs across the Illawarra reported jobs, the spokesman said the ‘‘bigger-impacted areas’’ were Wollongong City, Kiama,Shellharbour and Coniston.

The spokesman said the majority of calls have been for fallen trees or those threatening homes.

‘‘We’re not really seeing too much in terms of major damage to houses,’’ he said.

‘‘A lot of it is things like sheds or pergolas.’’

The calls for help peaked last night but the spokesman said SES crews were preparing for more this afternoon.

‘‘They’ve eased off a little bit due to the weather but with the potential forecast for strong winds later this afternoon we are expecting them to increase again,’’ he said.

‘‘If people need help we encourage them to call the SES on 132 500.’’

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