Boy critical, millions in damages
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.
Kumbia stone-fruit grower Shane Francis: ‘We were looking forward to a really nice crop’
Storm damage at Tansey, where ‘everything was white’
Fiona Simpson, post storm