Christmas Bells

Christmas Bells
Christmas Bells - Blandfordia nobilis

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Winds tearing the Southern Highlands apart

We have had strong winds in the Southern Highlands. They started yesterday - during the day. Then we had a short, sharp and violent thunderstorm last night. And this morning even more winds. Strong violent winds.

I took some photos of "wind" at home this morning. Firstly, just below the house, the Blackwood Wattles were swirling around. With their pale yellow-green straight leaves (phyllodes), they look like a plate of Spinach-flavoured Tagliatelli.
Across the road, a row of young Eucalypts (Brown Barrells), being taller, and thinner, were whipping around.I drove to Bowral, and took these photos. Before I got there, a tree had come down, across the Sheepwash Road. Workers were clearing the road, and as there was a traffic hazard, I did not take any photos, for risk of making the hazard worse. However, on the way back I was able to take this photo of the trunk of the large tree, completely snapped in half. It is a smooth-barked Eucalypt, probably one known (appropriately) as "Brittle Gum". It is noteworthy that right beside it is another old tree trunk, also one which snapped in half. That suggests a problem with many of the trees in this location.
In Bowral, I took more photos of wind blowing trees around. This first is a blue-grey Eucalypt, perhaps an "Argyle Apple" (Eucalyptus cinerea). Its thin branches were whipping and swirling to make this picture.
In East Bowral, there was a Council Worker cutting a tree which had clearly fallen from Council lands, across a fence, and had damaged the roof of the house. As there had been some temporary repairs to the roof (black plastic sheeting nicely weighted with sandbags and lashed down) I assume this was an SES repair conducted after the violent thunderstorm last night.
Here is the tree trunk, snapped in half. Clearly it is growing outside the fence, which has been damaged. The tree is obviously diseased, almost certainly damaged by termites. Oh dear, another bill for Council?On the drive back to Robertson, I took photos of snapped and broken trees. This one is a medium-sized Cootamundra Wattle (Acacia baileyana), simply snapped off at mid-trunk level.
Back at Sheepwash Road, there was a second tree across the road. At first I thought that the workers had left the first tree halfway across the road. Surely not! Perhaps it was a safety issue, that there was a risk of further branches coming down. No. In fact, I was able to check and the first tree had been cleaned up very nicely indeed by the emergency workers. However, a second tree had snapped off a large branch, about 200 yards further down the road form the first tree.This wider shot shows both the trunk of the first tree (high on the right) and the second tree across the road, in the distance.And this mature Gum Tree in the middle of a paddock simply fell over - snapped at the roots.
All in all, it has been a wild 36 hours in the Southern Highlands.

The Moss Vale weather station records the maximum wind gust as 56 km/h. That of course, is for the 24 hours till 6:00 a.m. this morning, so it covers last night's storm, but not the winds today.

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