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Residents clean up after wild weather weekend

Monday November 19, 2012 - 10:54 EDT

A big clean-up is underway in south-east Queensland after a fierce storm caught many by surprise yesterday evening.

The weather bureau had forecast the bad weather, but it was much worse than expected.

The storm hit Brisbane and Ipswich just before 6:00pm AEST, with hail stones the size of cricket balls reported in some parts.

Mike Shapland from Emergency Management Queensland says Brisbane's western suburbs bore the brunt.

"The worst-affected suburbs - Mt Ommney, Middle Park, River Hills, Kenmore and Moggill - storm damage jobs, damaged roofs, trees down across yards, tarps needed, roofing repairs and of course water entering houses from that ... rain," he said.

Yesterday's wild weather followed on from , which left a trail of destruction across Brisbane.

Buildings were damaged and thousands of homes were left without power.

Brisbane Lord Mayor Graham Quirk says it has been an expensive weekend for the city.

"All of these things come with a price tag and of course that price tag won't be known until the clean-up is complete," he said.

"There was some very large hail dropped around Middle Park. Jamboree was the one that really did cop it.

"We have had council teams out and about, undertaking repairs."

Two homes were hit by lightning, causing fires, but the heavy rain extinguished the flames quickly.

The SES says it received 400 calls for help and Energex says it has restored power to more than 100,000 customers.

The storms also caused damage and destruction across central Queensland, and farmers in the Granite Belt and Darling Downs have reported crop damage from hail.

Towns and communities were battered by lightning strikes, flooding rain and winds gusting to 125 kilometres an hour.

Bureau under fire

The weather bureau is under fire over the lack of notice given before the weekend's storms.

Warnings were not issued until after Saturday's storms had already passed over much of Brisbane.

But senior forecaster Peter Otto says the bureau was warning of possible storms as early as last Thursday.

"We issue warnings when they show evidence of being strong enough, when they require warnings," he said.

"That was judged when they were getting close to Brisbane City on Saturday and so they issued warnings accordingly.

"[We] certainly issued a lot of warnings during the weekend."

Queensland Community Safety Minister Jack Dempsey has refused to criticise the weather bureau's storm warning process.

A spokesman for the Minister says forecasters had warned on Friday that a series of superstorms were expected in the south-east over the weekend.

He says the public had been told to brace for wild weather and take necessary precautions.

Emergency services were also kept busy along the New South Wales coast over the weekend.

A water spout appeared off the coast of Batemans Bay yesterday afternoon, lasting about 15 minutes.


© ABC 2012

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