Cruel twist of fate for business

Owners Christine Blackshaw and Becky Plowman. Picture: David Baylis d423083
Owners Christine Blackshaw and Becky Plowman. Picture: David Baylis d423083

Willetton Wedding Flowers and Corporate Floral senior floral designer Christine Blackshaw said she was alerted to the damage about 5.30am last Monday.

‘The entire two-storey windows, doors and frames were blown outwards into the carpark,’ Ms Blackshaw said.

‘A large amount of stock and display units were broken in the force.’

Having operated on Gympie Way for 23 years, Ms Blackshaw said it was the first time something like this had happened. She said no other buildings in the street were damaged and she was thankful no one was injured.

‘We are currently trading as normal even with the major disruption inside the shop, and we are determined to come back bigger and better,’ Ms Blackshaw said. ‘Even a tornado can’t dampen the spirits of our team.’

Tin sheeting has temporarily replaced the shattered shop front window.

Bureau of Meteorology severe weather services acting manager Bradley Santos said that between May and September, strong wind fronts and deep low-pressure systems had the potential to produce severe weather.

‘For a cool season tornado to form, we need a shower or thunderstorm on a day when the winds change markedly with height,’ Mr Santos said. ‘It’s the large variation of wind with height that is critical for cool-season tornadoes.’

Mr Santos said on average, the Perth Metropolitan area had two to three reports of tornadoes each year. The same day that strong winds shattered the Willetton shop front, tornadoes were confirmed in the Hilton/O’Connor and Beeliar area.

Department of Fire and Emergency Services (DFES) district officer Chris Kin-Maung said the State Emergency Service (SES) received 85 calls for assistance on Monday, July 14. ‘Calls were mainly for damage to roofs, water damage and fallen trees and powerlines,’ he said.

Mr Kin-Maung said the SES had two requests for assistance in Parkwood and one request for help in both Willetton and Ferndale.

Details
DFES recommends several safety measures to prepare for storm season:
– trimming branches around the home to prevent them falling on roofs or cars;
– hiring a contractor to clear trees from powerlines;
– clearing gutters and downpipes of leaves and blockages;
– checking the roof for cracked ridge capping, loose tiles or loose nails;
– preparing an emergency kit with a portable battery operated radio, torch, spare batteries and a first-aid kit.
For more advice about what to do before, during and after a storm or flood, visit www.dfes.wa.gov.au