A freak storm wrought damage in the small Western Australia town of Karlgarin, 15 January 2013. AAP

16 January 2013 (AAP) – The tiny West Australian town of Karlgarin has been virtually blown off the map after a freak storm blasted through it. 

The State Emergency Service (SES) and Volunteer Emergency Service (VES) volunteers said they were working to help people in the Wheatbelt town after destructive storms caused damage to up to 12 buildings in the small community last night.

Authorities said the storm front hit the town about 5pm (WST), bringing heavy rain and strong winds of up to 90km/ph.

Virtually every building in the tiny town suffered significant roof damage, including the school, post office and caravan park.

Hyden VES volunteers were supported by local emergency services volunteers, with Department of Fire and Emergency Services (DFES) staff in Karlgarin to assess the full extent of the damage.

Peter Webster, CEO of the Kondinin shire, said he was not sure if the historic town, which was settled in the 1920s, could recover.

"It is small town, and it is paying the cost this morning," Mr Webster told ABC radio.

"Every building has suffered damage, with most of the roofs blown off.

"It is heartbreaking to see the amount of destruction that has occurred. Being such a small community it might take a bit to come back from that, if it can at all." [more]

Freak storm ruins tiny WA Wheatbelt town


Karlgarin bore the brunt of the freak storm on 15 January 2013, where the local general store and sports hall had their roofs ripped off. At Tressie’s Caravan Park, many trees and a donga used for accommodation were flattened by the forceful winds. Photo: Kevin Lockyer / perthweatherlive.com

By Aleisha Orr
16 January 2013

Residents in the tiny Wheatbelt town of Karlgarin are cleaning up after a freak storm ripped through the town on Tuesday afternoon.

Laurel Trestrail, who runs Tressie's Museum and Caravan Park, said it was about 4.30pm - after the park had already lost power - that it looked like a dust storm was coming.

When it hit, Mrs Trestrail realised it was more than a dust storm.

"I've never been in anything like it before, it was very scary," she said.

Mrs Trestrail said she moved away from the glass doors for fear they would shatter.

While the storm damaged her home's verandah and peeled off part of a wall, she said the bulk of the damage was to the park itself.

As well as numerous trees down, a donga, used for accommodation, was ripped from its foundations and the iron walls and roof torn off and flung 100 metres away.

"I'm glad I wasn't outside," Mrs Tretstrail said. [more]

Roofs peeled from buildings in Karlgarin

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