A devastating supercell storm hit Brisbane city, Australia late Thursday, November 27, 2014 with torrential rain, destructive wind speeds of about 140 km/h and giant widespread hail.
The storm made direct hit to central Brisbane making extraordinary damage and leaving more than 100 000 residents without power. Trees were uprooted, roads flooded, homes and cars severely damaged.
Queensland state Premier Campbell Newman said it was the biggest storm that has hit Brisbane since 1985 but was grateful none of about 40 injured were seriously hurt.
The storm started as an ordinary cell south of Brisbane on Thursday afternoon and tracked north, encountering moist air from sea breezes that helped it develop into a supercell storm, the Bureau of Meteorology's (BOM) Pradeep Singh explained.
"A supercell has a vortex - the air is spinning around it as it moves up. When that happens, it takes the moisture above the freezing level and keeps it there for a long time," the senior meteorologist said. "Rain particles keep developing bigger and bigger into hail, and because the draft is so strong in supercells, they tend to stay for a long time up in the air and when they reach the right weight, they start dropping down." (CourierMail)
"There has been extraordinary damage across Brisbane, particularly also in the CBD," Transport Minister Scott Emerson said. "I think the damage bill will be more than $100 million [Australian dollars]," Emerson added.
Dr Richard Wardle, weather services manager with the Brisbane BOM, told AAP the storm was certainly at the upper end of thunderstorm strength. "Giant hail was widespread but what made this storm unusual was its direct hit on central Brisbane," he said.
“We had hail that was up to tennis ball-size or softball size, and certainly golf ball-size for a large area.”
The army has been deployed on Friday for a massive clean up operation.
Featured image: Supercell storm over Brisbane, Australia on November 27, 2014. Author: Troy Cassar-Daley (via Twitter)