It's six years since Bunbury was hit by a tornado which cut a 100m wide swathe of destruction through the city.
One of the iconic buildings of the city, St Patrick's Cathedral, was so severely damaged that it had to be demolished. The city recently celebrated the opening of its replacement.
Here's how journalist Jamie Muirhead reported the aftermath in the Bunbury Herald on 17 May 2005:
''It was a miracle no one was seriously injured by the frightening tornado that ripped through the city yesterday morning.
Cars were beaten to a pulp by fallen trees and collapsed buildings, schools were closed, the central business district brought to a halt and drivers confused by the chaos on the roads.
Bunbury police said it was a miracle that they did not attend any incidents concerning injuries.
‘‘Every tree is gone in some streets,’’ Acting Sen. Sgt Mike Howard said.
‘‘The Bunbury police station power went down with all outside communication cut and we had minimal structural damage.’’
Bunbury Senior High School and College Row Support School were closed by the Department of Education and Training due to storm damage.
Yesterday afternoon, the State Emergency Service had responded to more than 70 callouts to Bunbury homes, district manager Paul Carr said.
‘‘Bunbury currently has at least 50 volunteers, supported by teams from Harvey, Busselton, Donnybrook, Collie, Waroona, Manjimup and Nannup, Murray and Augusta-Margaret River,’’ Mr Carr said.
‘‘The damage started near Boulters Heights and followed down through Sandridge Road, Blair Street and Picton.
‘‘We’re talking everything from some minor roof damage through to some properties that don’t have a roof at all.’’
Mr Carr said trees had been uprooted, blowing branches over roads.
‘‘In some cases the trees or power lines have been snapped off at the base and have ended up 15m away,’’ he said.
‘‘It’s probably the most significant storm impact to have hit Bunbury in about five years.
‘‘We had a big event last year but this appears to have caused a lot more damage.’’
Australind residents had called in eight reports, mainly of roof damage, and Harvey had 14 call outs by yesterday afternoon including tree damage and two vehicle rescues.
Bureau of Meteorology tropical cyclone service coordinator Kevin Smith said a strong frontal system that hit the coast early in the morning was responsible for the severe damage.
‘‘Based on information from the SES and a private resident, the track is about 10km long and 100m wide,’’ Mr Smith told the Bunbury Herald yesterday.
The strongest recorded wind gust of 91kmh was reported at 6.19am, about the same time as the tornado hit. ‘‘The tornado would be much stronger than that,’’ Mr Smith said.The rain gauge was filled with 96.4mm between 6am and 10am yesterday, with a total of 183.4mm recorded since rain began falling at 3pm on Sunday.
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