A severe weather event described by emergency services as a "tornado" has ripped through Koallah overnight, causing over $1 million in damage to the Lake Purrumbete Holiday Park.
Warrnambool police Sergeant Bec Miles said the tornado-like weather event occurred about 10.30pm on the Purrumbete Estate Road, about 15km east of Camperdown.
"Boats, cabins and white goods were caught in the high winds, with cabins thrown 300 metres away," she said.
"It is estimated to be over a million dollars worth of damage to the park, with debris everywhere."
Corangamite Shire mayor Neil Trotter attended the holiday park about 8.30am on Thursday. He said the aftermath was devastating.
"At this point in time it's hard to assess the seriousness of the damage," he said.
"Some cabins have been spared but a lot are just completely destroyed. The property damage here is huge. Even as you come up the road you can see three to four houses that have lost their roof, there's trees strewn across the road and debris everywhere.
"Thankfully there were only five residents here. If this had happened a week or so ago when the park was full, it could have been much worse."
Geelong's Tom Anderson, whose family owns three cabins overlooking Lake Purrumbete, said he was still in shock.
"One of the cabins is okay, the other appears to have been picked up and shifted in the wind and the third is totally destroyed," he said.
"I just cannot believe it. We only left about eight days ago. We could have been here with all of the kids. On Good Friday there were 1000 people out the front of our cabins helping to raise money for the Good Friday Appeal, we could have died. It could have been absolutely tragic."
Lake Purrumbete Holiday Park committee of management secretary Alan Hector said he felt numb.
"I just can't put into the words the amount of damage I'm looking at," he said.
"There really aren't many cabins that aren't affected."
Camperdown SES unit controller Colin Brian said the park looked like a bomb site.
"I have never seen anything like it," he said.
"I haven't been so overwhelmed by a scene since the rail crossing crash out at Lismore, and that's going back a few years now.
"We were actually called to a job at a house in Camperdown, where the ceiling had caved in due to heavy rain. As we were leaving that job we were pulled over by a person who turned out to be the caravan park manager.
"He said he needed help over at Purrumbete. As we headed out there we found a number of trees across the road and houses with no roof.
"When we arrived the park was in a really bad state. There were cabins and boats strewed everywhere. We could smell gas so the CFA was called in too."
Mr Brian said one resident suffered a cut to the leg and another was knocked to the head.
"They were attended to by an ambulance," he said.
Mr Trotter said the residents of the holiday park were like a mini community.
"Everyone knows everyone and some people have been here for a very long time," he said.
"I've spoken to some of the residents who were here during the storm and they said it was just absolutely terrifying.
"From here, there will be a pretty big clean-up effort and I'm sure the community will really get behind each other. But I ask those who don't need to be here to please stay away, there is debris everywhere and it is not safe."
Corangamite Shire has closed the Country Boundary East Road in Koallah and is only allowing people who live in the area in and out of the affected area.
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