South-west battered by gale-force winds and rain | Photos

HIGH winds tore metal sheets from a milk silo at Fonterra’s Cobden factory yesterday.

Gale-force winds persisted throughout the early hours and into the afternoon across the district, peaking in the late morning and early afternoon.

Warrnambool airport recorded an 83km/h gust at 10.30am and Port Fairy clocked a gust of 91km/h at 1.34pm.

The silo at Cobden was damaged at 11.30am when sheets of its outer skin were torn off. 

“Four corrugated sheets came loose from one of our silos at Cobden,” a company spokeswoman said.

“We immediately cordoned off the area and secured further sheeting to prevent it from coming loose. Work is now under way to secure the four loose sheets.”

No injuries and no further damage was caused by the incident.

The company expected to repair the damage yesterday.

The factory remained operational but milk was diverted to Dennington for the day.

A number of trees also came down in the Cobden area.

The State Emergency Service reported 87 requests for assistance from midnight to 3pm in the south-west region, mainly with fallen trees and minor building damage.

“It was busy, but not as bad as the metropolitan area where we had 700 calls,” a media spokeswoman said.

The storm also brought bursts of heavy rain across the district, with Warrnambool recording 9mm to 2.30pm.

The forecast for today is for a few showers with gusty winds and possible hail in the morning.

North-westerly winds of 40 to 50km/h will turn south-westerly at 40 to 55km/h in the middle of the day then decrease to 30 to 35km/h in the late evening.

Warrnambool’s rainfall for July was 88mm, slightly above the 82mm average for the month.

Portland recorded 91mm, below its 110mm average, while Hamilton received 74mm, slightly above its 69mm average. Camperdown received 111mm compared to its 85mm July average.

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