An Abermain woman is counting her lucky stars after a large tree fell through her house during Monday’s storm.
Lorraine Travers had been standing in her kitchen only moments before the tree came crashing through the roof.
Ms Travers said she has never heard anything like it.
“It was awful, the wind was howling, it was so angry,” she said.
“And the rain was coming down in buckets.
“I thought ‘I’d better get out of the kitchen’, and went into the loungeroom.
“Next minute the tree came straight through.”
Ms Travers and her great-grandson Cory, 15 were home at the time.
Ms Travers’s leg was caught in the debris and she had been struck on the head. Cory helped her get out and they ran down the street for help.
A nearby resident drover Ms Travers straight to Cessnock Hospital, where she was treated for few cuts and bruises.
The house was deemed unsafe to return to, so Ms Travers, her son, grandson and great-grandson are staying at a motel until a suitable rental property can be found.
It has been a tough year for the family, with Ms Travers’ husband Peter passing away in March.
Despite the damage to her home, Ms Travers considers herself lucky after Monday’s storm.
“It certainly made a mess, but at least I’m still standing here and can talk about it,” she said.
Well-known in the Bellbird area for her days as a canteen lady, family members say Ms Travers (who is affectionately known as ‘Nan’) is always the first to help anyone in need.
Her family has started a fundraising appeal to help her to buy some essential items that she is unable to retrieve until the house is assessed and deemed safe for access.
Donations can be made here.
Meanwhile, anyone who has been impacted by the storm and needs extra assistance is encouraged to contact Family and Community Services.
The State Emergency Service had received more than 200 requests for assistance from the Kurri Kurri area as of Wednesday morning, and disaster welfare services were providing assistance on the ground.
Parliamentary Secretary for the Hunter Scot MacDonald said assessments were underway to determine if natural disaster funding could be provided.
“The Office of Emergency Management has provided damage assessment forms to impacted local councils and this information will advise whether a natural disaster declaration is made,” he said.
Most businesses in Kurri Kurri were trading as normal on Wednesday.
Kurri Kurri Community Centre – where two people were injured when the roof of the centre partially collapsed during the storm – will remain closed until further notice, with its activities transferred to Kurri Kurri Youth Centre in Brunker Street.
The library and ambulance hall will also remain closed until further notice.
The out-of-school-hours (OOSH) care – which was based at the ambulance hall – will move to the nearby Kurri Kurri Girl Guide hall for the time being.
Cessnock City Council will waive green waste fees for residents from Kurri Kurri, Weston, Abermain and Loxford until November 14, making it free to dump debris from the storm.