Storm hits Shepparton causing thousands in damages

By Spencer Fowler Steen

Rain and thunderstorms caused damage and disruption in the Greater Shepparton area this week, prompting dozens of calls for help to emergency services.

State Emergency Services said most of the calls in Shepparton related to damage to buildings, water flowing into properties, fallen trees and minor localised flooding.

The storm on Sunday night also caused damage to a number of medical clinics in Shepparton.

Princess Park Clinic practice manager Leanne Taylor said heavy rain had damaged eight of their rooms as well as expensive equipment including an audiology machine and electric beds.

She said the plaster roof of one of the nurse’s rooms collapsed at around 5 pm when the storm hit, and tradesmen had been working all of Sunday night restoring the clinic.

“When we get really big downpours we occasionally get flooding, but never to this extent,” Ms Taylor said.

“Water’s coming in from different areas all over the building.”

The storm also caused the roof on one side of Shepparton’s Lister House Medical Clinic to collapse on Sunday night, letting water into the waiting room.

Leakage: Heaters drying up water around the electric beds in Princess Park Clinic.

Practice manager at the clinic Jenny Sidebottom said the consulting rooms were wet, but luckily doctors could be reshuffled to other rooms.

“It will probably take a few days for the rooms to dry, but we’re pretty much coping.”

The Department of Rural Health and Shepparton Medical Centre both experienced storm damage as well.

Department of Rural Health Facilities and Services Manager Sally Gill said the fire panels in the walls of the department had alerted authorities to a fault in the electrical circuits when rain leaked in, prompting a visit from two firetrucks at 8 pm on Sunday.

Repairs: Roof leaks quickly patched up.

She said the outdated box drains at the department and medical centre were built to handle three millimeters of rain at a time, with Sunday's deluge overflowing the drains and sending water into the building.

In the medical centre, plaster fell off the ceilings, water flooded into the office space and carpets had to be pulled up, causing inconvenience for visiting patients.

“The damage cost will be quite a lot I’d imagine with the plumbers, electricians, carpenters and fireys we've had in,” she said.

Cleaning up: Water being soaked up in the waiting room of Princess Park Clinic.

SES Regional Agency Commander Neil Payn said up until yesterday afternoon, there had been 15 calls for help in Shepparton, with 72 in the north-east region of Hume.

He said most of the calls related to building damage such as roof tiles coming loose, water leaking into properties and problems with spoutings, as well as wind blowing over trees, causing traffic disruptions.

Before storms, he urged people to clear drains and gutters to avoid flooding and to tie down backyard items such as trampolines.

“With high winds, we suggest don’t park under trees, particularly river gums because they drop limbs,” he said.

The Bureau of Meteorology said 23 mm of rain had fallen on Shepparton up until Monday afternoon, with Dookie experiencing 14 mm, Kyabram 18 mm and Yarrawonga 27 mm.

But it’s not all doom and gloom.

Repairs: Roof leaks quickly patched up at Princess Park Clinic.

One Shepparton resident, Beate Kofler, took to Facebook to thank an anonymous woman who drove her home during the Sunday downpour.

“I express my gratitude to the anonymous, but amazing woman who pulled over for ‘road-side assist’ during our recent severe thunderstorm today,” she said in the Facebook post.

“In an age where we must be cautious of being robbed or assaulted for our kindness, this woman came to my aid regardless and insisted on driving me home.”

Sunny weather is expected tomorrow with the heat returning on Wednesday leading into a fine, sunny Australia Day weekend, according to the Bureau.