'The most terrifying thing I've been through in my life'
JULIE Dale couldn't bear to watch her newly-renovated home being torn apart.
As wild weather lashed parts of the region over the weekend, the Imbil resident learned the terror a storm could bring, and the devastation it could leave behind.
"It was absolutely the most terrifying thing I've been through in my life," Miss Dale said.
"It was terrible; so scary."
She described the sound of the wind as a "jet taking off" when the storm blustered through on Sunday afternoon, but that wasn't the most worst part.
"It's the stuff you hear flying in it, the crashing," she said.
Miss Dale has been preparing to offer farm-stay accommodation, and had been renovating an old house on the property for guests.
She was in her own home 100m away when the storm struck, and watched in horror as the roof slowly peeled away on the house she had worked to restore.
"I got that scared, I just went back to bed," Miss Dale said.
"I thought, 'I can't watch this.'
"I just curled up in the foetal position, and thought, 'Well, I can't do anything about it.'"
The conditions became so severe, she couldn't see the house if she wanted to.
When she emerged after the storm to survey the property, the extent of the damage was a slow revelation.
"The house was flooded inside, so that was pretty devastating," Miss Dale said.
She said she had only just finished the new kitchen, and the newly-installed smoke alarms kept going off days later because there was water in the roof.
"Every time I look at the house I just burst into tears," she said.
She circled around the damaged house to find a bare patch of earth.
"I thought, 'There should be a black water tank there,'" she said.
That brand-new water tank, installed just a week earlier, blew away and was found in the neighbour's property, about 200m from where it started.
The property was a mess of fallen trees - one of which fell on her garage.
"We've got an olive grove here, and we lost eight full-sized olive trees, they just blew clean over," Miss Dale said.
"They've been there for over 20 years, and they just ripped straight out of the ground."
The renovated house isn't covered by Miss Dale's insurance.
Once she finishes clearing the fallen trees, she will repair the damage and continue preparations for the farm-stay, which she hopes to have up and running by the end of next year.
She was immensely grateful to Clinten Forbes and Neville Noon from Outdoors Handymen, her "knights in shining armour" who arrived to help secure the roof just half an hour after Miss Dale put out an urgent call on social media.