Blustery weekend takes its toll

WILD, wet and windy weather made for a miserable weekend in the Hunter, with wind gusts of nearly 100km/h tearing the roof from a building at the Calvary Mater Hospital.

State Emergency Service volunteers were kept busy throughout the weekend, responding to about 100 calls for help.

The most significant was on Friday afternoon, when the howling wind blew the roof from an aged-care building at the hospital.

No services at the hospital were affected.

The roof covered a plant room on top of the old convent building.

The hospital’s director of clinical services (nursing) Ailsa Hawkins said no one was hurt when the roof was torn from the building.

‘‘It took out a radio communications antenna,’’ Ms Hawkins said.

The annual Wallsend Winter Carnivale was supposed to go ahead yesterday, but organisers decided to postpone it due to the weather forecast.

The event has been rescheduled for September 9.

The Darby Street Festival Bohemia was also postponed and will be held on August 25.

Dangerous surf conditions made for some spectacular images, but kept most people away from the city’s beaches.

Scott Gilbert from Cameron Park photographed a group of teenagers on the blocks at Merewether Beach trying to defy the huge surf on Saturday afternoon.

The State Emergency Service responded to more than 1200 calls for assistance across NSW, including about 100 in the Hunter, mostly in coastal areas slammed by the south-westerly winds. About 6000 homes lost power in the Hunter, including parts of Raymond Terrace, Rathmines, Fennell Bay, and Arcadia Vale.

Minor flooding was reported on the Tomaree Peninsula.

The huge surf that pounded the Hunter coastline over the weekend will slowly drop off this week as the wild weather calms down. The Bureau of Meteorology continued a severe weather warning for the Hunter and Central Coast yesterday that included swells of up to five metres and winds in excess of 60km/h.

‘‘A deep low pressure system over the central Tasman Sea and a high near Adelaide are producing a strong southerly air stream over the NSW coast,’’ a Bureau spokesman said.

‘‘Wind gusts can be 40per cent stronger than the averages provided and the maximum waves may be up to twice the height.

‘‘Winds will slowly ease tonight as the low moves further to the south-east.’’

Scattered showers and dangerous surf are predicted to continue today.

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