Large tennis ball sized hailstones ripped through parts of central Queensland when a heavy storm cell ravaged through the area on Sunday afternoon.
The Bureau of Meteorology (BOM) reported that giant hailstones measuring up to eight centimetres in diameter battered several regions including Yeppoon, Rockhampton and Mackay, alongside strong wind gusts of speeds exceeding 100km/h.
“Similar size to that of a tennis ball, or maybe a baseball-size,” forecaster Kimba Wong noted.
“The spread of the storm itself was quite isolated and much focused, and unfortunately it ran straight through the suburbs or Rockhampton.”
Windscreens, Windows And Solar Panels Damaged
According to Eddie Cowie controller at Rockhampton SES, more than 40 requests for assistance were received from Yeppoon and Rockhampton, with windows, windscreens and solar panels being smashed as vehicles and roofs got damaged.
Mr Cowie added that he had never witnessed any storm like it in more than a decade.
“We’ve had other storms in the last couple of years, severe storms that have created hail around the region, generally small hail that hasn’t created as much damage,” he said.
During this particular storm cell, tennis ball-sized hail was recorded, and it’s just one of its kind.
The SES team was also called in to a retirement village, which is also a nursing home situated along Dean Street in North Rockhampton where 10 units had been damaged in a single location by the hail fall.
Efforts by the SES crew were hampered last night owing to poor weather conditions and the clean-up process only resumed this morning.
Fruit Trees Were Also Bitten
Ian Grooves, a local fruit and vegetables farmer in Bungundarra, west of Yeppoon, is one of those counting losses in the aftermath of the damaging storm.
The supercell storm also left his solar panels on his packing shed smashed beyond repair.
“We did lose a couple of lychee trees in the wind; the main damage is solar panels and shed roofs around the farm at the moment,” he said.
The local farmer had installed 27 solar panels on his packing shed, all of which were totally smashed by the giant hail. He hopes to recover a bit of the damages through his insurance company.
Thankfully, no injuries were reported on the farm and Mr Grooves adds that it could have been a more terrible situation.
Mr Grooves told Storm Assist that he was hiking with a few of his workers when he spotted the fast- approaching storm.
“We only just got back by a minute before the hail started crashing down,” he said.
“Some of the hail stones were pretty big, nearly the size of a big orange fruit; luckily the hail didn’t cover the ground completely because the hits were somehow a few feet apart, [that is] individual hits.”
While the damage caused to crops and property is a costly one, Mr Grooves chose to make the most of the free and natural ready-made ice descending from the sky.
“We sure did enjoy some cool drinks thanks to the hail since we used the ice to keep them cool.”