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'I’ve been really worried': storms rip through WA

Jeremy Story Carter, Wednesday September 25, 2013 - 15:33 EST
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A tree falls on a fence at Gemma Lee Steere's farm. - ABC

“Your heart races.�

Gemma Lee Steere's referring to the moment she steps out of her house to find trees strewn around her property, destroying fence-lines and compromising the safety of her sheep but most importantly, her family.

She runs sheep and grows canola, oats and barley in Boyup Brook, one of the worst hit areas by the storms that have ripped through the South West and Great Southern regions of Western Australia.

“The first thing I noticed in the morning was that our dog’s pen had a massive couple of branches on it. We’d left the dogs on our veranda, thank goodness,� she says.

“I found one dead ewe that had a tree fall on her.�

Approximately twenty thousand residents and businesses have been without power over the course of the week. Three quarters of those have now had power restored, but the clean-up for Gemma and her family continues.

“We had two glass tables on our back deck and they had just blown over and smashed everywhere. You see trees down in front of the house before even leaving the house.�

The immediate priority was to sure up the safety of her stock, which meant “getting the chainsaw out� and repairing fences. With freshly sheared sheep in the yard exposed to the winds and rain, there were also concerns about health of her animals. At present, the single crushed ewe remains the only causality.

The ferocity of the winds have, however, led to several anxious and sleepless nights, where Gemma admits to fearing for the safety of her three young children.

“The wind was so severe; all you could hear was the howling. We were just worried that our roof was going to blow off,� she says.

“The wind at night time is pretty scary for them. I say to them that they’re safe inside the house and nothing is going to happen to them and they’ll be right, and fingers crossed they are.�

It’s the sort of comforting line every good parent uses to reassure their child, but when asked if she really felt safe, Gemma sighs.

“No. I’ve been really worried.�


- ABC

© ABC 2013

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