Hailstorm leaves trail of destruction

PHOTOS: Ballarat's Wild Storm

UPDATE

THE State Emergency Service is working through 70 jobs across the Ballarat area this morning after last night's super storm.

SES spokesman Lachlan Quick said crews worked through the bulk of it last night, in what he hailed a "huge effort" from the Ballarat and surrounding area units and fire crews.

"Most of the damage was to buildings with trees (knocked over) from high winds, hail and heavy rain," Mr Quick said.

"80 to 90 per cent of jobs last night were in the Ballarat area."

At 1404 Main Road, the roof blew off an elderly couple's home, while the palliative care unit in Sebastopol was also damaged.

EARLIER

A HUGE hailstorm has slammed Ballarat, leaving a trail of devastation in its wake.

Sweeping over the city about 8.30pm, it produced hail the size of golf balls, flooded houses, ripped off roofs and blacked out suburbs.

The State Emergency Service received 120 call outs in half an hour, including 50 for building damage.

“The bulk of them were trees down and traffic hazards,” SES spokesperson Lachlan Quick said.

“They’ll call on surrounding units to help them out.

“Mount Clear, Sebastopol and Mount Helen are the worst hit.”

The road from Damascus College to Buninyong was “end of the world looking”, The Courier journalist Alicia Thomas said, with debris everywhere, trees down and traffic lights out.

On Geelong Road a house’s roof collapsed with two elderly people inside, but both both escaped with no injures. 

Rathkeale Avenue was impassable due to live wires on the road.

Resident Nicholas Reus said there were trees and power lines down and flooded homes.

“There’s quite a large tree across high voltage lines,” he said.

“I’ve been here 40 years and it’s the first time I’ve seen horizontal rain and hail. The winds were so severe it’s twisted the tops out of trees.

“We’ll have a massive clean up.”

One house was struck by lighting and then crushed by a tree.

Liberal candidate for Ballarat John Fitzgibbon, who was in Mount Clear, said a neighbour’s shed landed three of four doors away in someone else’s backyard.

“There is one house with a tree through the roof,” he said.”

Thousands of Powercor customers were left without power and a significant black out at Sebastopol shut down the traffic lights along busy Albert Street.

Sebastopol resident Gary Sinclair said as the storm came over the noise was intense.

He said hail smashed his windows and water flooded the house.

“It was really loud and deafening and you couldn’t see. It was like fog but it was hail. I’ve never experienced anything like that before.

“Cars were actually stopping in the middle of the road because they just couldn’t go any further.

“The power went off and it’s still off.”

Sebastopol resident Ian Hucker said in Naraglen Court, a gum tree had disintegrated in his backyard, which was white with hail.

“The storm has blown the tree apart,” he said.

There were at least two minor car accidents due to cars hitting trees over the road at Ross Creek and Greenhalghs Road, Delacombe, police said.

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