Widespread destruction after storm

A Marong couple has woken to widespread damage across their property this morning after strong winds ripped through the area last night.

Doug Smith had just walked into his shed about 7pm when he heard the door slam close.

“All of a sudden this horrific noise came and I thought, ‘God, that’s heavy rain’,” he said.

“Then when I opened the door to come out all the branches were across the shed door.”

The storm lasted about 15 minutes, but there was one really big gust that lasted for about 60 seconds.

“We’ve had good storms but nothing like this,” Mr Smith said.

“This was awful strong wind.”

Mr Smith and his wife, Sandra, tried to survey the damage after the storm hit, but it was too dark. At first light, Mrs Smith was out the door and couldn’t believe what she saw.

The Smiths' front drive way this morning. Picture: GLENN DANIELS

The Smiths' front drive way this morning. Picture: GLENN DANIELS

Trees and branches now littered the ground all around the couple’s home of 27 years, falling across the verandah, fences and shed. 

The back window of Mrs Smith’s car has been smashed and one of the verandah’s posts has been snapped by a branch.

Little rain fell on the 20-acre property but the couple was unable to leave this morning with large branches across their driveway.

“I just think it’s crazy,” Mrs Smith said. “I was really horrified.”

The back window of Mrs Smith's car, which was undercover during the storm.

The back window of Mrs Smith's car, which was undercover during the storm.

One tree that hasn’t survived was bought for 50 cents and planted by the couple 20 years. Before last night, it was a favourite hiding spot for the grandchildren.

“It was the most beautiful tree,” Mrs Smith said. “Everything is just gone.”

The full extent of the damage is yet to be uncovered, as everywhere the couple looks, more destruction is found.

Immediate neighbours appear to have escaped unscathed, but a shed is missing on a nearby property.

The shed door that blew closed when Mr Smith was inside last night.

The shed door that blew closed when Mr Smith was inside last night.

Bureau of Meteorology senior forecaster Stephen King said no severe wind gusts were recorded at the Bendigo Airport in last night’s storm.

The nearest significant reading was at Hopetoun, with winds of up to 100km/h reported.

Marong SES media liaison Robin Neller said crews were called to 16 jobs with the majority being large trees down across roads.

Crews also responded to one report of building damage and flooding in a backyard, but most were in the Ravenswood, Lockwood and Eaglehawk areas.

Ms Neller said the most disappointing thing was people continuing to drive at speed on roads where crews were working.

It comes a little over two weeks after the state government’s controversial new rule was introduced, requiring drivers to slow to 40km/h when passing emergency service vehicles with flashing lights.

Ms Neller said the drivers last night weren’t even driving to conditions, let alone dropping to 40km/h.

“The crews were disappointed to see people travel at high speeds,” she said, urging people to take care on the roads, with more wet weather forecast.

“Just be mindful of the safety of emergency workers who are putting their lives at risk to help the community.”