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Snow-like hail and tornado lash Darling Downs in severe storm event

Tuesday October 19, 2021 - 01:32 AEDT
ABC image
Hail blanketed the Coles car park at Highfields. - ABC

Queensland's Darling Downs is reeling from severe storms that hit "like a freight train", bringing a tornado, large hail and a deluge of rain.

The Bureau of Meteorology confirmed reports of a tornado at Pittsworth, south-west of Toowoomba, just before 11:00am.

"It seemed to be a fairly low-intensity tornado, but [there are] clear signs that it was one," forecaster Shane Kennedy said.

"In this case we had both social media photos and video, so we could see some clear rotation and [the tornado] reaching the ground.

"It obviously did not strike a particularly populated area, but it certainly does pose a risk."

No injuries or significant damage has been reported but the bureau is continuing to investigate.

'We don't need those rocks'

More than 51 millimetres of rain was recorded in 30 minutes this morning at Centenary Ridge, while Blackbutt in the South Burnett received 69mm.

Darling Downs agronomist Paul McIntosh said it was the most severe storm he had witnessed in years.

"We have been in Toowoomba since 1993 ? and there has been nothing like this in Toowoomba as I can recall," he said.

"I am talking 20 or 30 years since I've been in a hailstorm like the one that happened today at Highfields."

Mr McIntosh welcomed the rain in the region but said he could have done without the hail.

"We got 30mm of rain, and we need the rain, but we don't need those rocks," he said.

"Thankfully they weren't golf-ball size.

"It doesn't look to be too much damage [but] some of my windows got a bit of a rattle and the tin roof certainly rattled."

'Freight train coming through'

Toowoomba resident Jeremy Coverdale said his wife was at work in Highfields when the storm hit and reported hail "a bit over pea-size to thumb size".

"It was like a freight train coming through," he said.

"She popped out the back for a minute and came back to that winter wonderland."

The BOM said there had been reports of hail of up to five centimetres across near Mount Larcom in central Queensland, with severe thunderstorms expected throughout Queensland most of the day as the storms track east.

"It's certainly been a fairly active start to the season," Mr Kennedy said.

"For tomorrow, we'll likely see some unsettled conditions, but the risk of severe thunderstorms should largely have passed."


© ABC 2021

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