Ballarat East family counts storm damage cost

PHOTOS: Wild winds hit Ballarat

‘Mini-tornado’ rips through Ballarat North 

A BALLARAT East family are cleaning up today after yesterday's "mini tornado" ripped their backyard to pieces and uprooted a 50 year old, 12 metre pine tree.

Branches and debris were strewn across the Otway Street home's backyard as the gusty wind tore its path of destruction.

Narelle Dopper, who was just eight when her family moved to the home 30 years ago, said the backyard had been dominated by shady trees as long as she could remember.

Now, for the first time in decades, her parents have plenty of sunlight greeting them at their back door.

Ms Dopper said it was strange seeing the pine tree she used to climb as a kid on its side.

She said it was also fortunate the storm happened on a Thursday night.

"Lucky it wasn't a weekend - my kids would have been up the back playing in their cubby house," she said.

"There's nothing left of the cubby now."

Her father, Allan Dopper, said he couldn't believe the force of the storm which tore one of his biggest trees from the ground.

"It was like a steam train coming straight through the house," he said.

"The whole house shook."

Mr Dopper said his property had never received such damage.

"We've had a bit of wind before, we had a tree come down because of the drought, but nothing like this," he said.

"There's about six with the tops ripped out of them, and three that have come down completely."

He said crews from Bacchus Marsh, Ararat and Hepburn arrived to help the Ballarat crews work long into the night.

Some jobs, including cases where trees were leaning against buildings, had to wait for this morning because the wind and rain made working conditions too dangerous.

The storm hit the city around 3.30pm, with reported winds of up to 80km/h and heavy rain.

Widespread power outages and property damage were reported within minutes of the storm hitting the region.

Mr Gillett said it there was still plenty of work to do today, with crews already responding to more calls for help as residents wake to inspect damage to their properties.

"We've had another dozen jobs this morning, and they're still coming in," he said.

"We'll have a full day by the looks of it."