A flash storm that ripped through parts of drought ravaged Far West New South Wales has left a trail of death and destruction. Up to 400 kangaroos and 150 goats were found dead in two neighboring properties near Broken Hill.
Tegan Langford said what began as joy and elation over the much-needed rain, later turned into utter disbelief. “It was very eerie down there. It looked like something out of a movie where they say the world is going to end. Everything was just dead.“
Tegan and her husband David own Ktank Station, 30 kilometres east of Broken Hill. The Langfords, like many grazing families in the Far West, were desperately waiting for the rain that lashed the region a week ago.
They did not know, however, that with the rain came a hail storm that killed more than 400 kangaroos and 150 goats.
“We received 18mm of rain at the house, which we were over the moon about, but it wasn’t until a couple of days later that we realised how bad the damage was. We were out mustering a paddock that was next door to our goat paddock when we started to see dead roos and goats for no reason,” she said.
Ms Langford said the hardest part was facing the financial loss after enduring the hardship of a dry winter. Each fully grown Boer goat is worth up to $150 and could weigh in at 36 kilograms.
“We’ve worked so hard and put so much money into feed and it all gets taken away with in a 15-minute storm. We thought there might have been some goats that hadn’t died, but we couldn’t find any. In the end, I was just grateful none of us had been caught in it and that it hadn’t come over the house,” she said.
The Langfords’ neighbours, Sue and Kym Andrews from Avondale station, said they had never witnessed a storm that caused such destruction. “I’ve been here for 37 years and we haven’t had anything like that. To have the hail still underneath the bushes 14 or 16 hours later … it’s incredible, really,” Ms Andrews said.
Greg Curran has been a veterinarian for more than 30 years and has worked closely with wildlife in isolated parts of western New South Wales and Queensland. He said he had never seen anything like this before. “I’ve done a lot of work with kangaroos and kangaroo deaths since the late 1990s, and I’ve never heard of large numbers of kangaroos and goats being killed in this number before. In a storm, the animals can get quite disoriented about where they are and what is going on; it would have been quite chaotic for them at the time of the hail storm,” Mr Curran said.
A few month ago, hundreds of goats were also killed by a violent hailstorm as reported in this video:
That must have been a terrifying hail storm!