Roofs have been torn off buildings and thrown up to half a kilometre away by what is believed to have been a tornado that tore through parts of south-west Victoria.
Emergency services were kept busy overnight as a storm left a trail of damage from Camperdown to Lake Purrumbete.
The Lake Purrumbete Caravan Park bore the brunt of the weather event.
Camperdown SES controller Colin Brian said SES volunteers had to cut their way through half a dozen trees that had fallen onto roads to get to the park.
“We worked our way through that and found a horrific scene. It’s something I’ve never seen before,” Mr Brian said.
“There were cabin [roofs] blown away, boats in the middle of the road, trees down everywhere.
“Hundreds of metres, half a kilometre some of the stuff was blown. It was just bedlam, it’s hard to describe.
“I haven’t seen anything like that in my time at the SES. [The caravan park] is just gone.”
Part of the major damage sustained at the Purrumbete Holiday Park near Camperdown by a possible tornado. Photo thanks to Wendy Gerring. This is what remains of the cabin she shared with her Daughter @abcmelbourne @3AW693 @JaneBunn @MikeLarkan @StormHour pic.twitter.com/nMSC4EL0yT
— Vic Storm Chasers (@VicStormChasers) May 2, 2019
Mr Brian said it was fortunate only “five or six people” were at the caravan park, so injuries were minimal.
“One person … got hit on the head, and one got a minor cut,” Mr Brian said.
No one has been able to confirm definitively that it was a tornado, but Mr Brian said that description made sense.
“There’s trees [blown down] one way and then trees [nearby blown down] facing the other way,” he said.
“There was damage to houses before you get to the caravan park — roofs off, trees down [and it’s all in] one strip through the west side of the lake.”
From out of nowhere
At the nearby Lake Edge Cafe, owner Lois Dupleix said she was counting her blessings.
“There’s a large verandah on the front of the cafe which is in many pieces. I’m so in love with my old building and it survived, so I’m rapt,” Ms Dupleix said.
“But my son lost a shed, all his office equipment, a caravan that’s just a pile of pulp in a tree.
“Very luckily a guy that was sleeping in it [the night before] left — a German backpacker sleeping in it the night before — who would have had an interesting experience to go home with.
“My heart goes out to the caravan park and the next door neighbours who’ve got the roof off their house. We’ve still got houses and things so we’re all still good, but a bit of work ahead of us.
“Nobody knew it was coming, there was no real warning, but kaboom. It was just a massive storm.”
But every cloud has a silver lining.
“We wished for rain and got some, so that’s the good news,” Ms Dupleix laughed.