In the darkest hours of November 26, 2008, somewhere on the flat Plains of New South Wales Australia, a monster storm front brewed and frothed like peculated coffee. Hosting savage wind gusts of well over 100 km /hour. It ravaged everything in its twisted path. We lay directly in that path and it was more than ready to spit us through its ugly teeth.

A severe storm warning sounded throughout the sleeping township of Moree, but it was 11.30pm and many were asleep. They would not know what hit them, nor would we. Our farm lay ten km south of town. Our electricity was already out. All we could hear was the wind. To us, it was just another violent summer storm.

It was mid harvest time. The Grain Storage Silo in town was besieged with trucks, as their drivers waited for their turn to unload.  Word quickly passed down along the line-up. Bad weather was on the way. Along with that dreaded word, Tornado.

My husband also waited in that line. He knew I was at home alone with the kids and that we would be in bed, asleep. Several times he tried to call me on the landline phone but he couldn’t get through. It went out with the power. He tried to reach me on the mobile phone. I couldn’t hear him, the wind was too loud. Abandoning the truck he raced for the Utility. Home was a twenty minute drive. He knew the storm was already on us.

It struck at midnight. Enormous pressure built up around the house. A mighty fist punched against its walls, and tried to force it off its footings. The roar of the wind drowned our voices. We secured the doors and windows. We heard everything slide and crash outside. We did what we always do, huddled in the safest area of the house and waited.

 

There was a drum storage area in our western paddock that contained around eighty 44gallon drums. Unknown to us, they were airborne and spewed through the sky like a massive salt or pepper shaker. Some killed livestock and smashed into trees and fences. Many landed in the dam and some in the house yard. Others landed over half a kilometre away.

Trees twisted like giant cork screws. Some snapped off at the ground, others eight to ten meters higher up. Most of them looked as if they had just been savaged. The roller door of my stable was torn off. It was slammed into the chook yard fence.

An old caravan was picked up by the wind and hurled onto its back. The power lines came down, their cross arms snapped like twigs. A tree in our front paddock received a direct hit from a lightning bolt. It was on fire and its sap boiled all the way into the earth.

 

Our neighbours two new rain water tanks travelled through the paddocks and were eventually found half way to town. That’s about eight km’s away. They may have passed my husband as he was trying to get home to tell us that this was no ordinary storm. He arrived just as the worst of it had passed.

It wasn’t just one Tornado. There had been an unknown number of them.  The monster had dragged its heathen claws and gored great weaving scars across the landscape. Leaving some things destroyed others untouched. The power of nature had vented itself upon us all and we were truly blessed that no lives had been lost.

Moree received its VERY rude awakening about 20 minutes later. ….

© musicgal2012 – Lorelle Press

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