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Storm threat eases in Tasmania

Friday November 9, 2012 - 20:45 EDT
ABC image
The storm warning covers the south-east and the Derwent Valley. - ABC

The nature of today's wild weather in southern Tasmania has been described as unprecedented.

Authorities raised the alarm when minor tornadoes were spotted this morning on Hobart's Mount Wellington and at nearby Sorell.

They were followed by damaging thunderstorms, hail and heavy rainfall in the upper Derwent Valley, Southern Midlands and the entire south-east district.

Several areas reported heavy hail and localised flooding.

At Kingston, south of Hobart, 570 workers at Vodaphone's call centre had to be evacuated after its roof collapsed in the deluge.

The workers were sent home due to hazards associated with electrical equipment.



Kingston bottle shop owner Simon Hantke says he has never seen anything like it.

"I've been to Queensland and I've seen hailstorms, but not like this. It was absolutely incredible," he said.

"It created absolute carnage here. People pulling over, people scared, worried, it was just amazing."

Meanwhile, businesses on Hobart's eastern shore were hit by flash flooding and hail covered properties at Howrah and Kingston.

The State Emergency Service fielded calls from dozens of residents seeking advice about securing their homes.



Kingborough Council spokesman Paul West said a handful of homes were flooded but the worst of the wild weather appeared to be over.

"My understanding is that the worst of the front is past and there's probably a little bit more to come, but I think we've had the worst of it," he said.

"We're just monitoring the situation, we've got our workforce on call and on stand by ready to respond if necessary."

Police said there were four car crashes around the state during the severe weather.

The storm also delayed the start of the Sheffield Shield game between Tasmania and Queensland at Bellerive.

The severe thunderstorm warning was cancelled late in the afternoon.



Aurora Energy has apologised for posting a bogus storm photograph on the internet.

The image of a tornado in Ballarat was posted on the state-owned company's Twitter feed and labelled as a Tasmanian tornado.

Aurora spokesman Richard Wilson says the company was sent the image and tweeted it in good faith.

He says an apology was posted on Twitter as soon as Aurora became aware the photo was not taken locally.


- ABC

© ABC 2012

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