Wild storms of­fer no re­lief in fire cri­sis

Mercury (Hobart) - - NEWS - CHRIS CLARKE, CLOE READ, MATTY HOLDSWORTH

WILD weather, in­clud­ing cricket ball-sized hail, lashed southeast Queens­land yes­ter­day, but there was no re­prieve for drought-stricken farm­ers far­ther west.

In the midst of a bush­fire cri­sis, se­vere storms bring­ing heavy rain struck the Sun­shine Coast and north of Bris­bane, dam­ag­ing cars and flat­ten­ing road signs.

The down­pour had fire­fight­ers of More­ton Island jump­ing for joy fol­low­ing a morning of evac­u­a­tions yes­ter­day from Tan­ga­looma.

At Pechey, north of Toowoomba, there was no such luck, with fire­fight­ers braced for a “sig­nif­i­cant fire event” well into the evening.

“With th­ese thun­der­storms there is a risk of dry light­ning,” me­te­o­rol­o­gist Lau­ren Mur­phy said.

“We saw sev­eral fires lit by some dry light­ning ac­tiv­ity.”

The Bureau of Me­te­o­rol­ogy was braced for 20 to 50mm of rain in southeast Queens­land.

Bris­bane Air­port re­ceived 14mm in just an hour and 15 min­utes.

The Glass House Moun­tains saw cricket ball- sized hail, while the More­ton re­gion and Bris­bane’s north re­ceived “gi­ant hail” more than five cen­time­tres in di­am­e­ter.

Wool­worths at Currimundi had its roof col­lapse due to the down­pour.

Video footage from in­side the store showed the roof col­lapse about 2.30pm, with gal­lons of wa­ter stream­ing in.

Trees were also down in Bud­erim, crush­ing cars while a 30- me­tre high pine had fallen at Alexan­dra Head­land.

A “mini cy­clone” struck a Ma­roochy River farm, ac­cord­ing to owner Troy Apps.

“It lifted up a huge group of cot­ton­wood trees along the river­bank, 25 me­tres long and just lifted it out of the wa­ter,” Mr Apps said.

De­spite the rain, Queens­land’s fire threat re­mained.

Pre­mier An­nasta­cia Palaszczuk said some peo­ple weren’t tak­ing emer­gency sit­u­a­tions se­ri­ously.

“I re­ally need the peo­ple in ( Tan­ga­looma and Pechey) to lis­ten,” she said.

“I care more about your life, this is ab­so­lutely fun­da­men­tal and I need you to lis­ten to au­thor­i­ties … If you are asked to leave, please do not ar­gue, please leave – hu­man life is para­mount.”

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