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Strong winds batter southern Tasmania cutting power, damaging property

Tuesday May 22, 2018 - 18:18 EST
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Boats broke their moorings in the strong winds at Montague Bay, near Hobart. - ABC

Strong winds have brought down power lines and caused property damage around southern Tasmania, with gusts in Hobart topping 120 kilometres per hour.

Ten days after , some residents are again cleaning up after a night of wild weather.

The Bureau of Meteorology (BOM) said the area experienced wind gusts in triple figures overnight.

Power was cut to about 2,500 properties.

The State Emergency Service (SES) has received more than 60 calls from the public reporting property damage, including roofs blown off, shattered windows and damaged chimneys.

The worst-affected areas were South and West Hobart, Lenah Valley and Glenorchy.

Boats broke their moorings at Montagu Bay and Lindisfarne and some Hobart streets were closed while debris was cleared.

BOM forecaster Matthew Thomas said most of the wind has been concentrated to the south-east of the state and gusts are expected to ease throughout the day.

"The windiest location was Mount Wellington where we saw a wind gust of 144 kilometres an hour, Hobart received a wind gust of 113 kilometres an hour, Maatsuyker Island 111 kilometres an hour," he said.

A crash repair business in Claremont had the front of its building blown off about midnight.

"No power, no phones obviously, structurally we don't know how sound it is until the engineers come," said worker Judelle Hall.

"So we are just waiting for confirmation. There's still some loose bricks up there. When I pulled it was just very devastating to see."

The Royal Hobart Hospital is working to secure a section of scaffolding at the redevelopment site in Campbell Street.

Safety is our priority and the Managing Contractor is working with Worksafe to ensure the site is secure," said project manager Ben Moloney.

Historic tree knocked down

The Royal Tasmanian Botanical Gardens will be closed today after wind gusts brought down four significant trees.

Horticultural botanist Natalie Tapson said one tree was about 150 years old.

"The trees are in the pinetum and our records say the pinetum was planted in 1860," she said.

"The National Trust has a list of significant trees in Tasmania so these are ones that are either very old or rare in cultivation, and three of the four trees that blew over were significant."

Ms Tapson said they would take centuries to replace.

"I was really disappointed. I was almost teary because we have a beautiful Dawn Redwood above the pond and that had been taken out by another tree that fell over," she said.

"It's a tragedy, 150 years worth of growth. It's nature, to a degree, but it's a real shame.

"Trees are the backbone of the gardens. It's our 200th year this year and these trees have looked over the gardens for almost all that time."

Another SES spokesman, Leon Smith, warned residents that wet soil from recent heavy rain could make backyard trees unstable.

"There is still wet ground and potential for trees to come down so always look up and be aware," he said.

"Things can still dislodge."


© ABC 2018

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