October 12, 2018
South Burnett farmers and property owners have been left counting the cost of a series of storms which crossed the region on Thursday.
At Kumbia, stone fruit orchards were struck by hail, shredding unprotected trees as well as tearing large holes in protective hail netting.
Workers employed to pick the fruit also suffered, with their vehicles and caravans peppered by hail stones.
At nearby Kumbia State School, hail stones smashed windows in several classrooms prompting an early call to parents to collect their children.
The school will open as usual on Friday, although several classes will be held in the library.
The Bureau of Meteorology reported that hail stones up to 7cm in diameter fell at Kumbia.
The Coolabunia area was also badly hit, with damage reported to farm buildings, silos and private homes.
Three people were transported to Kingaroy Hospital in a stable condition after they were injured at Coolabunia during the wild storm.
A QAS spokesperson said the trio – two women and a baby – suffered multiple cuts and abrasions after hail smashed their car windows.
The hail, lashing rain and wind caused havoc on South Burnett roads, with fallen trees and debris at one stage simultaneously blocking the Bunya, D’Aguilar and Burnett highways.
Roads were also blocked by debris in the Malar, Sandy Ridges, Booie, Runnymede and Glan Devon areas.
Other roads were cut by flash flooding, including several roads in the Goodger and Haly Creek areas.
Police warned South Burnett residents to avoid unnecessary travel due to the hail and storm damage.
The storms left a trail of destruction as they tracked north-easterly across the region.
Hail up to 5cm was reported between Proston and Murgon.
At 3:12pm, a storm cell touched down at Tansey sparking a “tornado warning” from BOM for areas around Kilkivan.
Sheds were destroyed and homes and vehicles damaged by flying debris.
At one point in the afternoon, more than 6000 Ergon Energy customers – from Cooyar to Durong – were without power due to storm damage to the electricity network
At 10:00pm, about 800 South Burnett residents still had no power.
The storms caused widespread disruptions to traffic across the South Burnett.
SES crews and council workers worked non-stop on Thursday afternoon and late into the night to clear roads.
These road closures had been reported by TMR by 7:15pm, Thursday (with updates to 10:00pm):
* Stubbs-Armstrong Road (OPEN), Kearneys Road, Haly Creek Road, Flagstone Creek Road, at Haly Creek
* Harris Road (OPEN), Edenvale South Road, at Kingaroy
* Aerodrome Road, Taabinga
* Coverty Road, Coverty (OPEN)
* Smith Road (OPEN), Pates Road (OPEN), Kahler Road (OPEN), Malar Crescent, Boardman Road, Coolabunia-Malar Road, at Booie
* Roberta Street, Hodgleigh
* Barsbys Road and Royles Road, Coolabunia
* Kunioon Road, Kunioon (OPEN)
* Manumbar Road, Sandy Ridges (OPEN)
* Booie Road, and Robin and Lee Road, at Glan Devon
* Kingaroy-Cooyar Road (OPEN), Bellbird Road, Goodger (OPEN)
* White Rock Road, Weeks Road, at Goodger
* Lankowskis Road (OPEN), Boonenne-Ellesmere Road, at Taabinga
* Walsh Road, Runnymede (OPEN)
* Woods Road, Wooroolin
* Campbells Road, Murgon
South Burnett Regional Council is tracking road closures and other alerts on its Disaster Dashboard
Member for Nanango Deb Frecklington said the storms which had swept through her electorate had hit hard.
“There has been significant damage and we’ve heard reports of at least three people injured,” she said.
“People are shaken up – it was a huge storm system and there may be more storms tonight and over the weekend.
“The coming days are going to be tough for a lot of people in my community as they clean up. We are a resilient bunch but this will test us.
“A lot of farmers were getting ready to pick their crops at this time of year and this will be a massive setback.
“I urge everyone to stay safe and stay indoors tonight and listen to the authorities.”
[Video and Photos by Denise Keelan Photography]
[Published originally as “Three Injured By Hail”]