Baseball-sized hail leaves major damage in Queensland, Australia


A severe hailstorm hit parts of Queensland, Australia, on Sunday afternoon, April 19, 2020, leaving major damage in its wake. According to the Bureau of Meteorology (BOM), the hailstones were up to 10 cm (4 inches) in diameter.

The thunderstorms packing winds more than 100 km/h (62 mph) ripped through the Capricornia and Central coast regions, hitting Rockhampton and Yeppoon.

BOM meteorologist Kimba Wong said the agency received reports of giant hail about 8 to 10 cm (3 to 4 inches) in diameter. "That's like tennis-ball or even baseball-sized, with some even slightly larger ones as well," he stated.

"The spread of the storm itself was quite isolated and very focused, and unfortunately it ran straight through the suburbs or Rockhampton."

The Queensland Emergency Services received roughly 80 calls for help, mostly for structural damage in the Rockhampton area.

A spokesperson for the emergency services said there were calls about damaged skylights and roof damage. "Three-quarters of the jobs were for structural damage, the rest for flooding, trees down, things like that."

7 News Queensland journalist Isla Stanich said the storm lasted about 10 minutes, "but that's more than enough time to rack up a costly damage bill." She noted as well that the weather was sunny an hour before the storm.

A local named Garrett Wells, who helps manage community Facebook group CQ Flood Update, said the residents were alarmed by the storm despite them being used to wild weather. "It didn’t have that whole big build-up; it didn’t look green."

Wells said some cars look like they had been shot up and at least one person was injured. "A fellow over on the southside of Rocky got hit in the head by one. It split him open quite badly. If it was like the ones we got, it would have nearly knocked him out."

Rockhampton SES controller Eddie Cowie also reported that several solar panels were smashed. Windscreens, windows, cars, and roofs were also hit.

Cowie noted that he had not seen such a storm in about a decade. "We've had other storms in the last couple of years, severe storms that have created hail around the region, generally small hail that hasn't created as much damage."

"This particular storm, we had tennis ball-sized hail coming down, so it's been many years since I've seen that sized hail," he continued.

"We attended a retirement village or nursing home on Dean Street in North Rockhampton where we had 10 units that were damaged in one location."

On April 20, local media reported that residents have started cleaning up the damage caused by the storm in the region.

The upper atmospheric trough that caused the severe weather has since moved offshore. Milder weather conditions are expected for the week.

"A chilly start to the week for southern inland parts of Queensland, thanks to dry air, clear skies and light winds! Overnight temps becoming milder through the week as moisture returns from the east and cloud cover provide some insulation," BOM stated.

Featured image credit: @TUPPERWAVEMUSIC/Twitter

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