Hailstones the size of cricket balls fell in the Sunshine Coast hinterland as parts of Brisbane and the Sunshine Coast were hit by storms on Sunday afternoon.
Lauren Murphy from the Bureau of Meteorology said severe thunderstorm activity on Queensland’s east coast, south of Rockhampton, as well as “several significant cells delivered large to giant hail around the Sunshine Coast hinterland”.
The BOM issued a warning for people in parts of Redland City, Sunshine Coast, Brisbane City and Moreton Bay late on Sunday for “destructive winds” and “giant hailstones”.
Severe thunderstorms were detected on the weather radar near Redcliffe, Beachmere and Brisbane Airport.
Videos posted to social media showed cars being hammered by large hailstones and fierce winds whipping up leaves and other debris in suburban streets.
One Maryborough resident was spellbound by the unusual sight of his backyard covered in hailstones.
“It’s a winter wonderland!” he exclaimed as his young daughter was seen picking up pieces of ice off the grass.
He appeared unfazed by the apparent damage to his sheds.
“Look at the size of these!” he yelled.
At Southport on the Gold Coast visitors to Sea World sought shelter as hail pelted the theme park for several minutes.
Brian, a resident of Strathpine on the Sunshine Coast, said he was driving home from Mooloolaba when the storm hit.
“I had to pull over to the side of the road; I couldn’t see, it was terrible,” he said.
“I was just getting pelted with a hell of a lot of hail and it was very noisy. It seemed to go for a fair while.
“We were on the beach when we saw the storm front coming. We knew it was time to go but didn’t quite get far enough.”
Another man reported damage to his car, while another said the local Woolworths had been damaged in the storm.
Stacey, another resident, was inside a cafe having lunch when it hit.
“Hail and rain started coming in everywhere,” she said.
“It just started bouncing off everywhere, it was quite big.”
Her young daughter, who had been scared by the storm, chimed in saying “it hit me on the finger”.
Just landed in Brisbane for the first time in years…and it is hailing. What happened to Queensland as the sunshine state? Can’t deplane until the thunderstorm passes through Brisbane Airport 😂🌧 pic.twitter.com/IXKH2ZWl23
— Andrew Hawkins (@AndrewNJHawkins) November 17, 2019
Almost 20,000 homes in Queensland’s south-east were without power after the storms.
Buderim and Mooloolaba on the Sunshine Coast were the worst affected.
Trees were brought down in Buderim, crushing cars, while a 30-metre Norfolk pine tree fell at Alexandra Headland.
The BOM warned lightning could make conditions worse for fire crews.
“We saw several fires lit by some dry lightening activity yesterday and that risk continues again today,” BOM senior forecaster Lauren Murphy said.
“We saw isolated rainfall totals between 20 to 50 millimetres when multiple storms head over the same location.”