By CAM LUCADOU-WELLS
IN a burst of several seconds, cyclone-like winds reduced parts of Keysborough to a “war zone” last night.
A fast-food outlet, homes and cars in Sylvan Avenue, Sargasso Avenue, Cheltenham Road and Parkmore shopping centre were battered by what meterologists described as a “micro-burst” about 7pm.
Scores of tiles flew from roofs in Sylvan Avenue, cladding the tarmac and piercing a car window, a home’s wall and another’s top-storey window up to 40 metres away.
“It’s fortunate it happened when there were no children outside playing in the street,” Greater Dandenong SES unit controller Paul Daniel said. “It would have been a very dangerous situation.
“The residents were staggered at the amount of damage in such a short period of time.”
A crane was taking down a standing sign outside the nearby Fasta Pasta’s store this morning after the sign was tilted off its pole during the burst.
One of the store’s roof signs sailed 200 metres across Cheltenham Road landing outside Hungry Jack’s.
Several air-conditioning systems on the store’s roof were flattened during the brutal gale.
Store manager Suzie Lazarovski said she was gobsmacked by the state of her battered store, which she declared was still open for business.
Sylvan Avenue resident Jean Hanrahan, who lost large numbers of roof tiles from the front and rear of her home, saw some irony in the Henry Lawson poem Said Hanrahan’s famous line: “We’ll all be rooned.”
She said she’d never encountered such an extreme gust that “blew through the house like a train.”
Without warning, the gust dismantled a canvas swing-chair in her back yard, and scattered roof tiles across the avenue.
A 10-metre section of resident Gwen Thompson’s back fence was sheared off its posts, sailed across the yard and wedged her clothesline against her house’s wall.
The SES’s Paul Daniel said 20 volunteers from Greater Dandenong and Frankston units patched up 11 homes, covering roofs and windows with tarpaulins and plastic sheets.
He said the worst-hit home lost 70 per cent of its roof tiles – some of which flew up to 40 metres away.
Mr Daniel said “substantial gums” had fallen and crushed cars in Parkmore shopping centre’s car park.
“We’ve had quite a bit of building damage work in Keysborough before – it’s like a wind tunnel down there.”