Most Australians don’t think we get tornadoes in Australia. Sure, we’ve all seen the waterspouts of the coast, which seem to be increasing in number over recent years. Tornadoes however are a different kettle of fish altogether. We get little ‘dust devils’ and these are fairly common in the outback, but fully-fledged tornadoes – very rare. But even these seem to be occurring on a more regular basis in Australia and we sure experienced one (though short-lived) at work on Thursday last week.
I and another guy that I work with were hedging in any area of the village as a storm front approached from the west. As the storm hit we took shelter under a porch leading to the entrance of a house. As we stood there out of the pouring rain which was quickly becoming torrential, we commented on the rotating clouds toward the centre of the approaching storm. I mentioned that that was how tornadoes started and then very quickly we heard a roaring sound just down the road from where we were standing. We had a bit of a look in the direction of the noise and saw a tornado in the vicinity of the pool area, about 100m away from where we were standing. All manner of stuff was being sucked up into the air and it was fairly clear that some serious damage was occurring. However, it was soon over and seemed to last not much more than 10 seconds. Soon after the hail started and there was plenty of it as we were pummelled by it in the now inadequate shelter we found ourselves in.
After the storm had passed we ventured down to the site of the tornado and found the destruction it had wrought. Thankfully the damage was limited to the outdoor furniture of the pool area and the immediate surroundings of it. We had to pluck a bit of furniture out of the lake next to the pool and there was glass all over the immediate area (from the glass topped tables). Incredibly none of the structures were damaged apart from one downpipe.