Turbulent wind caused chaos through the Teviot Valley last week.
Debris and fallen trees blocked roads and damaged property while damaged power lines left more than 500 customers without power, many overnight.
The Millers Flat hall was opened for people left without electricity to warm up, cook meals and have hot drinks.
MetService forecaster Gerard Bellam said the winds were a “significant weather event”recorded at the Roxburgh aerodrome at 11am.
“The data shows there were very strong gusts in a northerly flow ahead of a front,” he said.
For Millers Flat man Ernie Brown, a quick outing to walk the dog in the winds nearly resulted in disaster.
The 82-year-old returned to find he could not get his home.
In less than 30 minutes, severe wind gusts had downed pine trees like dominoes along the drive to Mr Brown’s 100-year-old home, preventing all access.
Mr Brown said he was “incredibly lucky” not to have been on the driveway when the trees fell.
“I’ve never seen it like that before hard gale-force winds,” he said.
“I came back and then the driveway was covered with trees.”
Despite the damage, a wool shed directly below the trees was left unscathed.
“If the trees had fallen in another direction, it would be a completely different story,” he said.
Mr Brown’s wife, Irene, was home at the time.
However, she was too busy securing outdoor furniture and worrying about losing the roof to see or hear the trees falling.
“It’s hard to believe blowing so hard,” Mrs Brown said.
Neighbours helped the couple to clear the trees but further work would be needed to prevent the driveway eroding as a result of holes from the tree roots lifting out of the ground.
“It was bizarre how by lunchtime there wasn’t a breath of wind, but there was a lot of damage,” Mrs Brown said.
“The strength it took to do that was incredible.”
“We’re going to have to live for a very long time to be able to get through all this firewood.”