Boy crit­i­cal, mil­lions in dam­ages

The Weekend Australian - - OUTLOOK CONFERENCE 2018 - MACKEN­ZIE SCOTT

A Queens­land boy is fighting for life and homes and crops have been de­stroyed in the wake of a su­per-storm cell that ripped through farm­land north of Bris­bane late on Thurs­day, leav­ing a trail of de­struc­tion.

Com­mu­ni­ties be­gan the clean-up yes­ter­day af­ter three sep­a­rate storms and two tor­na­does brought side­ways rain, howl­ing winds of more than 140km/h and ten­nis ball-sized hail­stones, which bat­tered town­ships from Kumbia to Tansey, near Gympie. Wind gusts in some ar­eas hit speeds as­so­ci­ated with cat­e­gory-2 cy­clones.

A boy sus­tained se­vere headto-toe in­juries when a large tree fell on him in Coolabunya. It took two 4WDs to free the boy, who was flown to Lady Ci­lento Chil­dren’s Hos­pi­tal in Bris­bane in a crit­i­cal con­di­tion.

The in­ci­dent oc­curred close to where young mother Fiona Simp­son was sav­aged by hail as she shielded her four-month-old baby and grand­mother. She re­ceived large welts and bruis­ing over her back and shoul­der when large hail­stones broke through the rear win­dow of her car.

Queens­land is ex­pected to re­ceive a fur­ther 100 to 200mm of rain overnight and through to Sun­day.

South­east Queens­land and northern coastal NSW were on flood watch yes­ter­day.

Else­where, a cold front mov­ing towards Western Aus­tralia is fore­cast to bring rain­fall and thun­der­storms.

Drought-stricken ar­eas of cen­tral NSW could see 10mm to 15mm of rain on Tues­day as the front moves across the coun­try.

The dam­ages bill from the su­per-storm cell across the Fraser Coast and Sunshine Coast hin­ter­land is ex­pected to be in the tens of mil­lions.

Kumbia stone-fruit grower Shane Francis said hail stones the size of ten­nis balls ripped through his or­chid, de­stroy­ing 80 per cent of his crop. The dam­age bill was likely to be up­ward of $1.6 mil­lion.

“We were look­ing for­ward to a re­ally nice crop of stone fruit but they were all on the ground this morn­ing, un­for­tu­nately,” Mr Francis said yes­ter­day. This year was the first in 20 years he did not in­sure his crop.

Tansey res­i­dents Greg and Gail Hell­muth crouched on the floor be­neath their mat­tress as the brunt of the storm hit. “Ev­ery­thing was white and side­ways,” Mr Hell­muth said.

About 1000 in­sur­ance claims for storm dam­age have al­ready been lodged.

JOHN WIL­SON

Kumbia stone-fruit grower Shane Francis: ‘We were look­ing for­ward to a re­ally nice crop’

JOHN WIL­SON

Storm dam­age at Tansey, where ‘ev­ery­thing was white’

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Fiona Simp­son, post storm

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