*Perilous Times and Global Warming*
*Raging winds batter Australia*
May 29, 2007 04:47pm
Article from: AAP
SEVERE STORMS with winds in excess of 140km/h have battered South
Australia and Victoria today leaving house roofs torn off, city streets
closed and fanning a fire.
In Melbourne inner city streets were closed due to flying debris, as
workmen tied down loose sections of office tower roofs in a bid to avoid
adding to the chaos.
Victorian SES spokesman Allan Briggs said about 500 calls for assistance
had been received since 8am (AEST) today.
"They're coming in at about three calls per minute," Mr Briggs said.
"Of that, 357 (calls) have been in Melbourne suburbs.
"Most of the calls have been reports of trees falling on roofs, across
power lines, on cars and across carriageways (roads).
"I think it will ramp up as people knock off and get home from work and
discover the damage."
Students at Gisborne Primary School were forced to evacuate a classroom
after windows were broken and a tree collapsed on to a vehicle as a
result of the weather.
Motorists on the Western Highway have reported strong winds pushing cars
Gusty winds were fanning a fire in a tree plantation northeast of Melbourne.
The fire was first reported about 11.25am at a tree plantation in
Watsons Road, Kinglake, the Country Fire Authority (CFA) said.
Fifty firefighters and 11 tankers were this afternoon fighting the
blaze, which had destroyed 50ha of private property.
The cause of the fire was thought to be a burn-off which reignited
because of the weather conditions, the spokeswoman said.
"Strong winds haven't helped the firefighters," a CFA spokeswoman said.
"Smoke is also creating visibility and access issues."
Relief may be on the way with Bureau of Meteorology spokesman Phil King
predicting the first spots of rain should by the afternoon.
"There's a fair bit of rain coming down from Ballarat and even Seymour
in the north so I'd think we would start to see some patchy rain develop
in the city sometime in the afternoon, probably around two or three," Mr
"Probably the best of it will be this evening."
Melbourne can expect about 10mm while other parts of the state,
including the north and west, can expect dumps of 30mm.
And Mr King said there would be no relief from the gale force winds
until the next front hits the city this evening.
The SES has warned motorists to take caution on the roads and secure all
outdoor furniture around the family home. The SES can be contacted on
In Adelaide the State Emergency Service was kept busy with 37 call-outs
between midnight and 9am(CST).
Powerlines were brought down and several homes damaged, with one having
a verandah dislodged and others having roofs blown off or damaged by
"There has been a steady stream of jobs, but luckily no one has been
hurt," SES state duty officer John Thorne said.
With the severe conditions, motorists had been urged to take particular