June 18, 2024
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By Bree Dwyer

A wild storm which hit Fraser Coast, Gympie, and Sunshine Coast today has caused damage to houses, cars, and crops.

In some places, hail stones as large as cricket balls were reported. Winds of up to 87 km/hr have also been recorded.

Fraser Coast Regional Council’s Mayor George Seymour stated that the storm was a surprise to many local residents when it struck shortly before 2pm.

He said that the SES (State Emergency Service) has responded to numerous roof blown-off jobs.

SES received 55 calls between Bundaberg to Caloundra as of 3pm. They expect more.

Chris Childs, the acting Area Controller for Wide Bay said that most of the damage reports were due to roof leaks, broken skylights and windows.

He said that there were also large trees falling in the Gympie area.

Gympie was the hardest hit by the storm, according to the Bureau of Meteorology. It happened at around 12pm.

Harry Clark, senior meteorologist at the Mackay Meteorological Service said that the hail size reported by residents may be comparable to the 16-centimetre record set in Mackay for 2021.

He said: “We’re looking at images from social media that have measurements and a ruler next to them.”

It would be a while before he could confirm.

Gympie residents were stunned by the amount of hail that fell in the city.

Jan Watt watched helplessly in horror as Gympie Southside’s garden was ripped apart.

She said that “lots of trees and plants were destroyed”.

Collin Allot captured photos of the storm cells forming over Gympie’s CBD.

Mick Sims, along with his brother Ross, owns a squash farming business on the edge of Gympie. They said that 4 hectares worth of crops were destroyed in the storm.

We’re not covered… the harvest is in full swing, but everything has disappeared. “We don’t even have crops left,” said Mr Sims.

It also shattered my entire greenhouse roof and I have dents in the roof of my home that I just had replaced in 2019.

I can’t believe what you just said.

Kookaburra Farms supplies Coles and Woolworths with approximately 1,200 tonnes yellow button squash each year.

He believes that there will be an upcoming squash shortage between now and the Christmas holidays.

The Gympie Regional Council mayor, Glen Hartwig, said that the storm had been “devastating for farmers”.

He said, “Hail is not something you want to have when you are trying to grow crops.”

They’ve recently come out of a long dry spell and have probably worked very hard to irrigate the crop.

Then hail came through to wipe out the entire project.

You know it is tough to live on the Land.

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