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BeachClosedSign

Summer Bay's Beach is forced to be closed because of the storm.

The Great Storm was 4 episodes in Home and Away which focused on a severe storm which crosses over Summer Bay and leaves several of the serial's characters in danger.

Plot

When John Palmer hears a severe weather warning issued via the local radio, he sends Xavier Austin to close the beach down. Alone, John collapses from a ruptured spleen. Sasha Bezmel takes cover in the Austin household where she discovers John unconscious. When the ambulance crews arrive to save John, Sasha steals supplies from the house but is stopped by Xavier. Sid Walker takes charge at the hospital responding to those injured in the storm.

Dennis Harling convinces Harvey and Roo to take his boat out on a business venture with potential clients. Alf and Romeo receive a distress signal from Harvey stating that their boat has capsized. Alf ensembles a response team and heads out to the national park. They find Roo and Dennis when they swim to the shore. Romeo tells Alf to take them to the hospital while he rescues Harvey. Romeo finds Harvey who has a deep laceration to his leg and is losing blood. When they attempt to drive back a tree fall ditches Romeo's vehicle and falls to the edge of a cliff. Romeo eventually manages to drag the car out of the ditch and seeks medical treatment for Harvey. Leah Patterson-Baker and Elijah Johnson take shelter in the Pier Diner. Leah is worried when her son VJ Patterson (Felix Dean) goes missing, but Elijah finds him on the beach. Leah feels ill and tells Elijah that she is bleeding and thinks she has lost her unborn baby.

Miles Copeland and Gina Austin (Sonia Todd) set up a shelter at Summer Bay High. Heath arrives seeking shelter with his daughter Darcy Callahan. Tegan Callahan arrives in search of Darcy, she is annoyed that Heath took her without permission and drives off with her. Water begins to leak into the school and Colleen Smart warns everyone that the storm is getting worse, though she is ignored. When the problem water gain worsens Gina decides to evacuate everyone to the other side of the school. Ruby Buckton and Casey Braxton are nearly injured as part of the roof falls behind them. As they run, Bianca stands under the remaining segment of roofing.
BiancaAndHeathScreenShotStorm

Heath and Bianca are left unconscious after the roof of Summer Bay High collapses.

Heath plunges to save Bianca as the roof caves in on top of them. They remain trapped under the wreckage for a while, but rescue teams manage to save them. Colleen is found trapped using a lavatory which she rushed to use because of stress. Charlie Buckton attends a car accident in which Tegan is trapped in. Tegan cannot break free as she is trapped under the steering wheel. After she is cut out of the wreckage, she is taken to hospital for surgery where she later dies. As the storm passes the residents of Summer Bay come to terms with the events and begin the clean-up operation.

Creation and development

In June 2011, the serial's producer Cameron Welsh revealed that Home and Away would air a special week of episodes featuring a storm. In July, Welsh told entertainment website Digital Spy that there were plans for the "biggest stunt/disaster storyline" that production team had ever undertaken. He said they were in the final stages of post-production meaning that it would come to air "very soon".

In August, Rhiannon Fish who plays April Scott told TV Week that the storyline would focus on a "deadly storm" that crosses the path of Summer Bay. Fish said that filming of the storyline was "full on" and wind and rain machines were installed on set to create the correct environment. Fish added that the cast felt like they were filming during an actual storm. Ada Nicodemou who plays Leah Patterson-Baker revealed that one character would die in the storm, but was not permitted to reveal their identity. She also said her character Leah would become trapped inside the Pier Diner and worried about the whereabouts of her son VJ Patterson. As she is pregnant, when she discovers bleeding she presumes that she has miscarried. Nicodemou said the ill turn is down to the stress of the storm. Welsh later revealed more details on the storyline and the effects it would have on the characters. The main storyline threads feature the characters of Harvey Ryan and Roo Stewart facing danger when their boat capsizes during "rough seas". Alf Stewart and Romeo Smith (Luke Mitchell) then go on the trail to save their lives. The serial's local school, Summer Bay High would become the "evacuation centre". Then a collapsed roof then traps the characters of Bianca Scott and Heath Braxton.

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