Total crop losses in Paddock

2011-12-05 00:00

FARMERS in Paddock are still counting the millions in losses they suffered in a short, but severe, hailstorm on Thursday night.

The five-minute hailstorm was accompanied by very heavy rain and wind.

Rowan Borchers, who does tunnel farming, had over 20 tunnels completely destroyed.

“It only lasted for a couple minutes, but that is all it took to do this massive damage,” he said. Borchers is still calculating his losses, but estimates the figure at well over R300 000.

“The wind was so strong that it actually took off the entire roof on my shed, which is about 20 by nine metres.”

He added that the hail was as big as golf balls and broke windows as well. “I have been living in Paddock for most of my life and have never seen weather like this before,” he said.

Carol Heaver, who has lived in the area for 20 years, also said they have never seen anything like it. “It was very scary. The sound of the wind was terribly deafening. It was like a tornado had hit us,” she said.

Heaver said all the windows on one side of her house were broken by the hail.

“I was sitting on the floor with my little daughter and we had to cover ourselves with blankets because the broken glass pieces were flying all over and cutting us.”

The Heavers run a transport business in the area. In the aftermath of the storm they found one of their trailers tipped over. The roof of their stable also caved in, but none of the animals was injured.

“Trees on our yard were uprooted. We found dead doves and other birds that were knocked out of the trees. We also lost all our goslings and the adults were bleeding as well,” Heaver said.

She said many farmers lost entire crops and some farms were completely flattened.

“The macadamia [nut] farmers lost their entire crop for next year. The tomato farmers, butternut farmers, sugarcane farmers all suffered severe losses amounting to millions.”

The Paddock Farmers’ Club could not be reached for comment at the time of going to press.

The Telkom lines in the area also went down as a result of the storm and only came back on Saturday night.

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