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F3 tornado devastates Murray Valley towns

Published 22/03/2013

The North East and Metropolitan areas of the state are cleaning up after last night’s severe thunderstorm and tornado activity.

Victoria State Emergency Service (SES) has received more than 1,000 Requests for Assistance (RFAs) across the state, with almost 700 in the Metropolitan area and more than 150 in the North East region. The majority of requests were for fallen trees, trees that had fallen and caused a traffic hazard, and damage to residential buildings.

The wild weather hit between 7.30pm and 8.30pm, with the main area of impact between Koonoomoo (near Cobram) and Rutherglen along the Murray border area.

Hardest hit towns were Koonoomoo, Cobram, Yarrawonga, Bundalong, Mulwala and Rutherglen.

Caravans were overturned, roofs were ripped off homes and a range of buildings sustained significant damage, including partial collapses in some cases. Disruptions to local power and telecommunications also occurred.

Four people were airlifted to Melbourne by Ambulance Victoria with serious injuries with another person airlifted to Wangaratta Hospital this morning. A further 20 patients were treated on scene and transported to local hospitals.

SES crews worked in the areas overnight along with support from local government and VicRoads, and additional crews were deployed from Melbourne, Ballarat and Bendigo this morning to assist with the clean-up in the North East.

Information regarding relief centres and emergency financial assistance is available from the Department of Human Services website.

Community meetings

Community meetings will be held tonight, with representatives from SES, Moira Shire, Department of Human Services and local power companies in attendance to answer questions from residents affected by the storm event.

  • Bundalong - Friday 22 March at 7pm at the Bundalong Hall, Pyke Street.
  • Koonoomoo - Friday 22 March at 5pm outside the Big Strawberry, corner of Cobram Rd and Boulburn Valley Highway.

The following images were taken over the tornado-affected area.