A storm armed with powerful winds, hail and heavy rain hammered Brungle on Thursday afternoon.
Trees were uprooted, knocked over or had huge branches torn off them and outbuildings and farm infrastructure suffered heavy damage. Torrents of water left mud and debris everywhere.
Homes were flooded as the Brungle Creek rose dramatically at night.
SES, RFS and Snowy Valleys Council crews have been busy sandbagging, tarping roofs and cleaning up after the storm.
Tumut landholder Jan McGruer said the wind struck first (mid-afternoon on Thursday), then hail, then heavy rain.
The wind completely tore off the roof of the massive hay shed on the McGruer property, dumping most of it about 200 metres away.
“First it blew a gale, with cyclonic wind, then came the hail, then rain creating a dreadful amount of water coming down from the hill, which shredded everything,” she said.
“All hell was unleashed.”
Mud quickly filled the patio and the house itself was coated with shredded leaf debris and dirt.
“The fences have all got trees over them and roads are inaccessible. It is a hell of a mess; a lot to clean up.”
The McGruer’s rain gauge recorded 95mm of rain from the storm. Insurance assessors are assessing the damage, and the McGruers are hoping the quality of the hay in the shed is not too compromised.
Mrs McGruer has found plenty of positives in all the mess.
“At least no one was hurt, and we have had lots of offers of help from friends,” she said.
She said her neighbours were in the same boat, and one of these is the Davidsons, whose shed and garage was destroyed when the wind tore it right off. A car that was in the garage at the time fortunately only suffered minor damage.
Part of a a big elm tree that was rotten inside fell onto another shed, but the family home, over 100 years old, remained perfectly intact.
Jack Burnes lives in the Brungle village itself, and his yard was hard hit.
“There were coin-sized bits of hail; it was hectic,” he said.
“You could barely hear yourself talk.
“The trampoline flipped over onto the driveway and nearly hit dad’s car, then it landed in a tree” he said.
“Our guinea pigs nearly drowned; we had to rescue them. We saved a few birds who were trapped when trees came down; one was pinned under the tree.”
Tumut SES unit commander Leanne Gregory said that the SES and Brungle and Tumut RFS crews had four jobs at Brungle on Thursday night, three of which involved sandbagging at homes which had been inundated with water from the rising creek, and another assisting a woman who slid off the wet road in her car. Fortunately she was not hurt.