Wobbly Wollongong billboard a sign of wind’s strength

HAZARD: SES workers work to stabilise a panel blown loose from a prominent street sign off Crown Street. Picture: Adam McLean

HAZARD: SES workers work to stabilise a panel blown loose from a prominent street sign off Crown Street. Picture: Adam McLean

Wild winds have interfered with a landmark Wollongong billboard, prompting a three-hour response from the city’s emergency services workers.

When we get a storm warning, we’d like people to take notice of them and start securing objects. - Menno Schaaf

The SES was called about 7am Wednesday to secure a disused sign overlooking Crown Street’s Dicey Riley’s Hotel, after a heavy plywood panel blew loose in strong winds and threatened to fly free. 

Wollongong SES’s Menno Schaaf said the responding crew was unable to remove the panel as the strong winds persisted. 

“Our vertical rescue operator was able to abseil down to the sign and secure the loose part of it with screws,” he said. 

“It’s a temporary measure, but the owner of the sign will still need to come back and secure it.” 

The job was one of five in the Wollongong local government area on Wednesday morning, as winds reached 50kmh, gusting to 80kmh. 

The conditions prompted a damaging wind warning overnight, and into the morning. 

In Dapto, a trampoline was lifted and sent bouncing down a street. 

Mr Schaaf said the incident served as a reminder to respond to weather warnings.  

“While a trampoline is a large object, it can be picked up by wind quite easily,” he said. 

“It needs to be secured to the ground either through spikes through the legs or tied to a very solid object.

“When we get a storm warning, we’d like people to take notice of them and start securing objects.” 

The weather warning was cancelled later Wednesday morning as conditions calmed. 

Meantime, a man walked away unscathed after a tree fell on top of his truck as he drove along the M1 Princes Motorway at Figtree. 

Emergency services were called to the northbound lanes of the motorway, just before the Masters Road exit, about 12.25am Wednesday.

The tree came down onto the windscreen of a pantech truck in blustery conditions. 

The driver was unharmed and was able to bring the truck to a safe stop before quickly removing it from the crash site. 

Northbound traffic in the area remained heavy for about an hour as the tree was removed. 

Mostly sunny conditions are forecast for Thursday, with winds calming to 15-20 km/h.

For emergency help in floods and storms, ring your local SES Unit on 132 500.

The story Wobbly Wollongong billboard a sign of wind’s strength first appeared on Illawarra Mercury.

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