Tornado cut a destructive path along coast

Gravestones in Jamberoo damaged by the storm. Pictures: DAVE TEASE
Gravestones in Jamberoo damaged by the storm. Pictures: DAVE TEASE
The clean-up continues in Kiama and Jamberoo.

The clean-up continues in Kiama and Jamberoo.

From the sky it looks like a deliberate brown scar has been carved into the dark green bushland below.

It cuts through Seven Mile Beach National Park like a crooked wound, crossing roads and trailing through farmland before reaching Coolangatta Mountain. 

But when viewed from the ground the story becomes clear; this massive scar is actually the remnants of hundreds of immense trees, now flattened and snapped like twigs.

This is the work of what meteorologists now suspect was at least an F2 tornado.

The 150-metre wide trail begins just 1kilometre north of Shoalhaven Heads and can be easily traced as it crosses Gerroa Road and Coolangatta Road, slicing between properties before again hitting bushland.

Experts from the Bureau of Meteorology now believe multiple tornadoes struck the Illawarra’s south early Sunday morning, leaving behind a trail of destruction.

Although Kiama was worst affected by the intense weather event, pictures are now emerging of damage in other areas.

Andrew Treloar, the bureau’s manager of weather services NSW, yesterday told the Mercury that the tornado that ripped through Seven Mile Beach National Park, near Gerroa, had been even more intense than the destructive Kiama tornado.

Jamberoo was also hit by strong winds at the weekend, causing damage to a number of roofs and toppling enormous headstones from their resting places. 

The scale of damage in Albion Park was less severe, although some homes reportedly lost roof tiles.

Yesterday, the focus for emergency services remained on Kiama where the effort to tackle the risk of asbestos continued.

The residents of 20homes were evacuated  in the  morning due to asbestos contamination fears, although police believe they will be able to return home within days.

The official number of houses declared uninhabitable remained at three following Sunday’s event, but at least 35homes were ‘‘extensively damaged’’,  Lake Illawarra police Superintendent Wayne Starling said.

From the air a definite path of destruction through Kiama can be seen, with the tornado ripping apart homes in Minnamurra Street and Swan Place before passing the Kiama Sports Complex, crossing the highway and tearing across farmland, collecting roofs, sheds and debris as it went.


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