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Tornado tears through crops

Kristy Sexton-McGrath, Wednesday February 17, 2010 - 10:42 EDT

A tornado has ripped through far north Queensland, amazing onlookers.

Residents say the tornado travelled through an area just south of Atherton yesterday afternoon, damaging crops.

Atherton resident Chris told ABC Local Radio, the tornado was strong enough to throw a pile of tractor tyres 100 metres into the air.

"I just couldn't believe my eyes. To the left of me, off the road there, a tornado, a funnel actually dropped," he said.

"The funnel was clear as. It went right up into the sky and you could see it dropping and as it was moving you could actually see it spinning the dust and the corn and it was all coming up to there."

Maize farmer Adrian Gallo says the tornado was about 10 metres wide and went straight through a pile of farming equipment.

"We've basically gone through the property, collecting gear - there's some gear that we've picked up 500 metres away," he said.

"There's a lot that's lost in the grass that we can't find.

"The tyres - I think the furthermost one would have been 50 metres away from where it was."

Weather bureau forecaster Bill O'Connor says the tornado was caused by a passing storm.

"In the past, we've seen damage that's obviously from a tornado. Any thunderstorm has the potential of producing one," he said.

Mr O'Connor says he was surprised by power of the tornado.

"Generally up here we don't get tornados that powerful I suppose but I think they are a little more frequent than what we give them credit for," he said.

"Fortunately they tend to develop in areas that aren't that inhabited."


© ABC 2010

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