Tornado strikes Black Ranges

REGION - Black Range resident Julie O'Callaghan knows very well that when a hail storm strikes, you can expect a blackened sky.

However, her perception totally changed at 3.40pm last Thursday, when a black sky, a hail storm and a strange reaction from her normally calm pet dog, Meg resulted in a tornado sweeping across paddocks in front of her family home.

"I had been outside and knew there was a storm coming," Mrs O'Callaghan said.

"Our dog Meg is usually okay with thunder and hail, but she was acting strange. She was really on edge, but I didn't think much of it.

"When the hail came, I thought I would get a photo, because it was an amazing sight seeing the ice covering our garden and lawn.

"I guess I was too busy looking at the hail on the ground to notice the skyline."

What would transpire in the next two minutes would amaze Mrs O'Callaghan.

"The dog was still going mad so I put her inside. When I went back out, I looked up and there it was. It really was only a matter of seconds.

"At the time I didn't really know what it was. The sky was black and it was still hailing. It's normal for the sky to be black when it's hailing, that was my only thought.

"My first reaction was to grab the camera and get a photo of the sky. When I looked up again I saw the twister and it looked like it was heading straight for us.,

There was debris flying everywhere so I went back inside. It was really frightening."

Mrs O'Callaghan said she wasn't certain how quick the tornado was travelling, but given it was heading for her property she became concerned.

"It only lasted a minute, but seemed a lot longer than that," she said.

"It was three kilometres away from our property, but was heading straight for us. I didn't know how long it would take to hit us.

"Then suddenly it deviated away to the right, broke down and formed another small twister in a neighbour's paddock.

"It tore trees out, ripped a verandah from the property of a neighbour and left iron resting high in trees.

"It even collected a tool box from the back of a utility. It must have weighed a lot, but the twister picked it up and threw it 100 metres. Then the tornado disappeared over Great Western.

"It all happened so quickly, but seemed an eternity when you're watching the damage it was causing."

Mrs O'Callaghan said she was thankful no-one was injured by the strong wind gusts and was equally surprised the tornado was yet to be recorded on any Bureau of Meteorology website,

It must have just been one of those freaky things, but you don't expect to see them in your own backyard," she said.

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