EMERGENCY service personnel have been sent scrambling with winds of up to 83km/h causing widespread damage and lightning strikes igniting fires across the region.
Bathurst was issued with two severe thunderstorm warnings this week and what followed was wild winds, rains and more than 18,000 recorded lightning strikes since Monday morning.
Lightning ignited grass and tree fires across the region, with some still burning, which other trees were broken or pulled out of the ground by the strong winds.
The wild weather resulted in widespread blackouts across Bathurst, and 35 calls for help were made to Bathurst State Emergency Service (SES) in less than 24 hours.
SES and NSW Rural Fire Service (RFS) volunteers teamed up to help those in need as quickly as possible.
SES controller Gavan Ellis said crews were called to a severely damaged home on Bryant Street after part of the roof was ripped off in wild winds on Tuesday night.
Roads including Brilliant, Suttor and Mitre streets were blocked by fallen trees, with SES and RFS crews still working through Wednesday to respond to the calls for help
“Trees have caused the most damaged, they have fallen on fences and garden sheds,” Mr Ellis said.
“It was fairly widespread – Kelso, West Bathurst and around central Bathurst. There were also [fallen] trees on Rockley Road, Trunkey Road and the Bridle Track.”
Lightning strikes have been blamed for 11 new fires that have ignited across Bathurst since Monday.
Chifley/Lithgow RFS operations officer Brett Taylor said trees that had been hit by lightning smoulder for a few days before they become noticeable.
“When the hot, dry, windy conditions return the tree that was smouldering may flare up and cause a bush or grass fire a couple of days later,” he said.
“If you do see a tree smouldering call triple-0, but also if you have the appropriate resources I would monitor the smouldering tree and put out any small fires that may start from dropping embers while they are easy to put out.
“Wait for RFS to put out the smouldering tree as the fire may be deep within the tree and require plenty of water and specialised skills and equipment.”
Essential Energy manager community relations northern, David Crough, said there had been 17 unplanned power outages that affected a total of 523 homes and businesses across Bathurst since Monday morning. The majority of these outages were storm-related.
SES crews received their first emergency call for help at 10am on Tuesday and were still working through Wednesday to respond to all requests for assistance.
Mr Ellis has praised the community for its understanding while the wild weather swept through the region.
“Thanks to the community, they understood we’ve got a lot of work to do,” he said.
“Thanks for their consideration because it’s been impossible to get to every job at the same time.”