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Gold Coast and Sunshine Coast hit by very dangerous storms, BOM warns of flash flooding

Saturday December 14, 2019 - 09:40 EDT
ABC licensed image
Parts of Industrial Avenue at Molendinar have flooded after Gold Coast storms. - ABC licensed

Severe storms have swept across South-East Queensland, dropping giant hail near Gympie and dumping 76 millimetres of rain on the Gold Coast in half an hour.

Most of the cells moved offshore by the evening, including one that swept quickly over Brisbane late on Friday afternoon, with gusts of up to 107 kilometres per hour.

Several powerful cells struck the Sunshine Coast, with 120 millimetres of rain recorded at Biggera Creek Dam in an hour.

Kandanga and Wolvi in the Gympie region were peppered with huge hailstones, some reportedly measuring 10 centimetres in diameter.

Bureau of Meteorology senior forecaster Sam Campbell said there was hail that probably broke records.

"Some really significant, in fact possibly historic giant hail stones around parts of the Sunshine Coast and the Wide Bay, Burnett — some hail of 11-13 centimetres in diameter recorded there and that's some of the biggest hail that's ever been seen in Australia," he said.



Kandanga Snack Bar assistant Kirsty Smith said the hail hit the area around 3:00pm and got larger as the storm passed over.

"It started off just little pebble-sized hail and it covered the ground looking like snow," she said.

"And then it got really big — about to golf-ball size and then really jagged hail, it was coming in at a really sharp angle too.



"There's a couple of houses around the place with smashed tiles on their roof and cars damaged, smashed windows, dents, smashed tail lights."

Cooloola Berries co-owner Kim Lewis said they heard the storm "roaring" for about two minutes before it hit.

"You could hear this funny roaring sound, very aggressive," she said.



"We just had huge hail, there wasn't a lot of it, but massive, bigger than a softball size."

Kandanga farm store owner Tim Scott said fields in the area were blanketed with ice from the storms.

Despite his car getting a battering, Mr Scott said he was pleased to see rain in the drought-affected area.

"I think the good outweighs the bad. A bit of damage is a small price to pay."

Motorists on the Gold Coast were caught in flash flooding after 76mm of rain fell at Southport in half an hour.



The dangerous cell moved quickly over the region before heading offshore.

Steve Nicolai was caught in the torrential rain while working at an outdoor event held by the Southport Chamber of Commerce.

"The wind picked up and pretty much lifted the tent right up in one corner, and then slammed down and smashed and everything just blew out," he said.



"Quite a number of the tables were blown out of the tent area, everything was all over the place."

Labrador resident Jai Herbig was one of half a dozen people whose cars were submerged when the basement of their apartment building flooded.

"I can already see dollar signs, and that's all of my Christmas present plans gone because I need a car first to get a job."

At one point, about 7,500 Energex customers lost power and since noon and there were more than 220,000 lightning strikes.

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- ABC

© ABC 2019

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