Howling winds caused havoc for unsuspecting residents in the Illawarra early on Saturday morning, with reports of a roof ripped from a home, flying trampolines – and bundles of missing washing.
With no severe weather warning issued by the Bureau of Meteorology, residents across the region were caught by surprise as wild winds lashed the coastline about 2am.
Peak wind gusts of 82km/h were recorded at Bellambi at 6.09am.
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From 4.30am, Wollongong SES had received 33 calls for assistance, mostly relating to trees or branches down from Wollongong to Colecliff.
“We currently have a number of teams out attending to these tasks with 10 jobs still outstanding,” Wollongong SES media officer Menno Schaaf posted on Facebook about 11am.
“We ask that residents stay away from any downed powerlines, trees or property damage.”
Fire and Rescue NSW crews assisted with a job in Bulli where the roof had been ripped off a house under renovation.
The Mercury understands the eaves had been removed from the home, allowing the wind to lift up three-quarters of the roof.
Woonona residents reported a power outage in Duke Street, while a dad in the same suburb said his kids’ trampoline had landed 40 metres away on a neighbour’s shed.
Many across the region were too afraid to look at what had become of the washing they had left on the clothesline overnight.
“Im just about to peek out the window to see if they are still on the line!” one resident wrote on the Mercury’s Facebook page.
“Collected some of mine down the road,” another chimed in.
“I lost 2 sheets and a pair of jeans overnight,” wrote another.
Meantime, a hazard reduction burn planned for Saturday opposite Binners at the roundabout in Helensburgh has been postponed due to the strong winds.
Helensburgh Rural Fire Brigade said crews will assess the conditions Sunday morning.
Winds are expected to ease on Saturday, with a maximum temperature of 20 degrees.
The forecast for Sunday is partly cloudy, with westerly winds 15 to 20 km/h tending southwesterly in the middle of the day then becoming light in the early afternoon.
More to come