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Dangerous storm tears roof from home, cuts power to south-east Queensland suburbs

Tuesday March 14, 2017 - 19:52 EDT
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This home at Goombungee, north of Toowoomba, lost its roof in the storm. - ABC
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Heavy rain caused flash flooding in Goombungee, where one house lost a roof. - ABC licensed

A south-east Queensland family is homeless after Tuesday's powerful thunderstorm tore the roof from their house.

Chris Lee's Goombungee house lost its roof about 8:30am when the powerful cell, which also cut power to thousands of properties and brought down trees, passed over his property north of Toowoomba.

"I was working up the road here, it was a mad rush of rain, then the wind picked up real bad," Mr Lee said.

"The wife gave me a call and said, 'you need to come home, the roof's come off'."

"I came inside and into the kitchen. The water was coming through the roof internally … I looked out the back and noticed the roof had basically flipped over and was laying down on the ground … debris in other places throughout the yard.

Mr Lee has lived in the area for the past two years.

"I've always said in Goombungee it's like we live in a dome and the rain always goes around us … it never really hits us," he said.

"But when it does hit us we cop it hard, but only for a short period of time. And after that the sun comes out like nothing happened."

'We've had hail, trees down, trees snapped off'

Goombungee business owner Mark Light said about 50 millimetres of rain fell over the town in less than 20 minutes.

"We've got a lot of damage through our workshop and we have no power either at the moment ... just the amount of water, the drains just couldn't take the water away so we've got a fair bit of cleaning up today," he said.

Esk resident Helen told ABC Radio Brisbane the storm caused substantial damage.

"We've had hail, trees down, trees snapped off at the top of the root," she said.

"Esk Hampton Road is blocked to Esk and I believe that Somerset Regional Council are getting workers out there now to clear that road."

The BOM said the heaviest falls were in Dayboro, which recorded 61 millimetres of rain in an hour.

As the storm moved further east, by 11:30am power was cut to more than 14,000 properties in the Moreton Bay council area.

As it hit the coast, the Bureau of Meteorology (BOM) downgraded the storm from dangerous to severe, with the storm warning finally cancelled about 12:15pm.

Energex spokesman Danny Donald said the storm had knocked out the Brendale substation, north of Brisbane.

"We have just lost the Brendale sub, which is probably the largest substation on the northern suburbs," he said.

"It's taken out power to approximately 13,500 customers — so we're talking Cashmere, Joyner, Lawnton, Petrie, Strathpine and parts of Bray Park.

"In total, we're looking at around 15,080 in south-east Queensland. So mother nature is certainly telling us that she is in charge right now."

Senior forecaster Brett Harrison said the storm had damaged the roofs of several properties in the Darling Downs.

"Some trees down have been reported too and just recently some pretty heavy rainfall as well ... almost 30 millimetres in 10 minutes just to the west of Esk," he said.

The storm has hampered a police search for a woman missing in bushland near Esk.

Police said Valerie Donaldson, 71, was last seen walking her dog in local bushland near Argyle Court on Monday.

Mr Donald said more than 600 customers around Esk lost power.

"We've got 10 wires down out that way as well, so it is fairly destructive as our crews are reporting out there," he said.


© ABC 2017

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