Bulahdelah tornado: The Hunter Valley and its history of powerful storms | Photos

There are three certainties in life: death, taxes and wild weather. 

So said a publication by the Bureau of Meterology, titled Stormy Weather: A century of storms, fire, flood and drought in NSW, which collected a history of furious weather event around the state throughout history.

Among them, the text described the Bulahdelah tornado, which struck the area south-west of Forster on January 1, 1970.

Tearing winds and cricket ball-sized hail ripped through the Bullahdelah State Forest, near the small Hunter town of the same name, leaving a 22-kilometre-long wake of destruction.

The tornado was said to have been “probably more intense than any other documented in Australian literature at that time,” according to Stormy Weather.

More than one million marketable trees were damaged or destroyed.

The Hunter Valley has historically been a regular place for powerful wind storms and hurricane-like weather events.

The storm that ran the Sygna aground at Stockton in 1974 measured wind gusts up to 165 kilometres per hour, the smaller storm that saw the Pasha Bulker run aground in 2007 recorded gusts up to 124 kilometres per hour. Though they are typically associated with the United States, data from the Bureau of Meteorology has suggested that Australia has recorded more than 1200 of the high intensity wind storms observed globally over the past two-centuries. 

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