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Wednesday, April 17, 2024

Charlton storm damage revealed

After the tumultuous storm that wreaked havoc across Victoria last Tuesday, the extent of Charlton’s devastation became shockingly evident. Within mere minutes of nature’s fury, the town bore the scars of what seemed like a mini-tornado. By Thursday of that week, the aftermath was plain to see: countless trees and massive limbs strewn across roadsides and nature strips, disrupting the town’s usual tranquility.

Charlton’s High Street bore witness to the chaos, with foliage thrust onto kerbsides and a steady stream of vehicles and workers engaged in the extensive cleanup effort. By Friday morning, thanks to tireless cleanup work, much of the debris had been cleared, and life was gradually returning to normalcy.

Miraculously, no injuries were reported despite the ferocity of the storm, and relatively few structures suffered significant damage. The timing of the school day ending at 3:15 p.m. instead of the usual 3 p.m. likely spared many from potential harm, such as the explosion of the Post Office window, which was later confirmed to be due to the force of the wind, not a fallen tree branch as initially thought.

The northern entry to the town bore the brunt of the storm’s wrath, with a swath of fractured tree limbs littering the area between Gordon Park and the Charlton swimming pool. Workers clearing the debris discovered numerous deceased birds, casualties of the tempest’s fury.

Power restoration efforts were underway, particularly along the Borung Highway, where traffic was regulated to facilitate the repair of downed power lines. Beyond Charlton cemetery, signs of the storm’s impact diminished.

The Traveller’s Rest bore visible scars, with flattened signage and damaged units at the Charlton Motel serving as stark reminders of the wind’s power. Motel managers Mark O’Connor and Donna Kupfer expressed dismay at the extent of the damage, with five units severely affected and infrastructure like the pool and tennis court left in disarray.

Despite the setback, plans were in motion to accommodate the upcoming ‘Ok Motels’ event, though the storm undid recent renovations, leaving the managers disheartened. Cleanup efforts continued, with damaged roofs slated for tarping by Friday.

Conversations buzzed with tales of the storm’s intensity and sudden cessation. As residents shared stories of property damage and enduring power outages, the hope lingered that such a visitation from nature would not recur. Along the Borung Highway near the Vale of Avoca exit, the hum of activity signaled the gradual restoration of normalcy after a tumultuous week.

By Friday, while debris still dotted High Street, Charlton’s resilience was evident as the town emerged from the shadows of Tuesday’s freak weather event.

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