FEW people will forget the storm of February 24, 2013 in a hurry. As the district woke after a fitful night’s sleep on Sunday it did not take long for news of the dreadful damage inflicted on the Shoalhaven to filter out.
The damage to the sleepy village of Terara was unlike anything experienced in living memory, a fact confirmed by two old-timers who had called it home for more than 70 years.
Further north at Kiama, the devastation was even more dreadful, with entire homes destroyed. For a large part of Sunday the town was in lockdown because of the danger posed by fallen power lines and trees. A stretch of the sand track up towards Gerroa looked as if it had been bombed.
In Nowra, the verges of the Princes Highway near the Shoalhaven City Council administration building bore the scars of what locals described as a mini tornado. Trees in its path were snapped like matchwood.
Despite the damage, there were no reports of injuries, which indeed seemed miraculous. And there was a human element to the bad news story – the incredible sense of community that was on show in Terara from the very moment the storm hit, with locals out on their tractors clearing a path through the debris to allow access for emergency service workers. Not only that, they were also checking on the welfare of their neighbours.
And then, of course, there were the angels in orange, the volunteers from the State Emergency Service who were out from well before dawn and still working to clear roads and fix roofs well after this paper went to press.
Once again our gratitude goes to these tireless members of the community who are always there when the going gets tough.