‘Tornado’ obliterates family home in Australia

A BRICK home has been blown apart by a suspected tornado near Bendigo, in regional Victoria.

Photos from the scene, taken by Bendigo Advertiser photographer Glenn Daniels, shows significant damage to the Patons Road property at Axe Creek.

The single-storey home was completely destroyed when a line of storms, described by neighbours as a ‘mini-tornado’, moved through the region on Saturday afternoon.


One person was home at the time but miraculously managed to escape with only a laceration to their head.

Firefighters, police, the State Emergency Service and council attended the property to assess the damage.

Weather forecaster and storm chaser Thomas Hinterdorfer from Higgins Storm Chasing said it was a possible a tornado had impacted the area.

“We have analysed data and while nothing can be 100 per cent confirmed, it is possible that a tornado impacted the Axe Creek area, South East of Bendigo,” Mr Hinterdorfer said.

“Radar data is limited in the area as its between the Melbourne and Yarrawonga radars however the damage suggests a stronger impact than damaging wind gusts and damage/debris is hinting at more than just straight line winds.

“This would mean destructive winds stronger than 125km/h are clearly likely, and even the structures impacted probably required more than 150-170km/h winds for the damage photographed.”

Mr Hinterdorfer said the damage photographed by Bendigo Advertiser’s Glenn Daniels could have been caused by a “quasi-linear convective system” tornado.

“(This) is when a tornado extremely briefly, sometimes for as little as 30 seconds, develops on a cold front or on a line of storms, spins up, touches down and lifts back up between radar frames,” he said.

“These types of tornadoes aren’t foreign to Australia, and often happen in the Southern States during Winter when cold fronts produce very high wind shear.”

Emergency services fielded a “massive amount” of calls for help as the system swept through central Victoria on Saturday.

Every available police unit in the Bendigo area was dispatched to help with traffic control, with countless trees brought down around the Elmore and Goornong area, and south towards Kyneton and the Macedon Ranges.

To view more photos of the destruction from Saturday’s storm, click here.

Although rare, it’s not the first time that a tornado has impacted the area.

An F2 twister with winds up to 150km/h caused millions of dollars worth of damage when it tore through the city of Bendigo in May, 2003.

In less than 10 minutes, the tornado cut a 500 metre wide, seven kilometre long path of destruction through the city’s northern suburbs.

It destroyed eight homes, severely damaged a further 44 and cut power to 18000 buildings.

Miraculously though, no one was injured.

At the time, the Bureau of Meteorology said the tornado was a freak event for central Victoria and was the worst experienced in the state since a similar event in Wonthaggi in 1993.

More recently, however, at least 20 people were taken to hospital – two in a critical condition – after not one but two tornadoes cut a path of destruction across Victoria’s north-east on the night of Thursday 21 March, 2013.

The cells moved across an area stretching from Cobram to Rutherglen just after 7.00pm, ripping roofs from houses and uprooting trees.

Twenty people were hospitalised with injuries ranging from head injuries, spinal injuries and fractures to cuts and bruising.

Many of the injured were hit by flying debris.