SES responds to hundreds of calls for help in the Hunter amid polar blast

The State Emergency Service (SES) has responded to more than 550 calls for assistance across the state overnight, a majority of those here in the Hunter Valley. 

The ferocious storm which ripped through the region just before 6pm yesterday was the start of the wild winds which have brought down trees and power lines right across the region. 

The Bureau of Meteorology recorded wind gusts of up to 100km/hr at places like Nobby’s and even stronger further up the Valley with 120km/hr wind gusts recorded.

SES State Operations Centre Coordinator Sharon Fox said the calls for help in the Hunter region were widespread from Edgeworth to Wallsend, Raymond Terrace, Mayfield, Rutherford, Cessnock and Muswellbrook.

“We’ve had lots of partner agencies supporting us locally on the ground throughout the evening and will continue to do so today so just urging people if they wake up and find trees down from overnight to give us a call on 132 500, if its life threatening always call triple zero,” she said.

“Thankfully we haven’t had any serious injuries reported which is fantastic, but we do expect those winds to continue well throughout today and into this evening so we just need people to stay vigilant and keep an eye on the forecast and any warnings in your area.”

Many areas are still without power too. 

Ausgrid are working to restore power as quickly as they can to areas around Raymond Terrace, Medowie, East Maitland, Wallsend, West Wallsend, Richmond Vale, Abermain, Cessnock and Toronto. They’re estimating power should be restored by 11am.

There is a Severe Weather Warning still in place with the weather bureau said a deep low pressure system over the southwest Tasman Sea will maintain a vigorous westerly flow over NSW today causing damaging winds with peak gusts reaching up to 90 to 100km/h are likely on and east of the Great Dividing Range, with gusts to 110km/h possible about exposed higher ground. Winds are expected to ease in the north later today.

Saturated soils bring an increased risk of gusty winds toppling trees and powerlines, particularly along elevated terrain.

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