Hero Mum Battered As She Shields Baby In Hail Storm
Super-cell storms and tornadoes have torn roofs from homes and destroyed crops, leaving a trail of destruction in southern Queensland.
Two women and a baby girl suffered cuts when huge hail stones hit their car, smashing its windows as they were driving on the D'Aguilar Highway between Kingaroy and Nanango.
Fiona Simpson shared photos of her injuries on Facebook, sustained as she tried to shield her baby from the damaging storm.
Farmers about to harvest their crops are now looking at huge financial losses, including one who watched debris flying around inside his house and lost the roof of his dairy.
Crews are working to clear roads and restore power in the South Burnett region and other parts of the southeast, as residents count the cost of the wild weather which also produced a vast amount of hail.
Some hailstones were the size of tennis balls. Smaller hail fell in huge volumes in other places but was no less damaging, destroying wheat, barley, stone fruit and melon crops.
And cyclonic winds have done a large amount of damage to homes and businesses.
The Bureau of Meteorology said the region copped the brunt of three severe storms, two of them super-cell storms, with two tornadoes also sighted.
At Blackwater, in central Queensland, winds gusted to 144km/h, a wind speed associated with a Category 2 cyclone.
Queensland Dairy Farmers president Brian Tessmann said the storm's fury at his Coolabunia farm was like nothing he'd ever seen, with winds tearing the roofs from his home and dairy.
"... the roof came off and it was bedlam from there, trying to hold doors shut, and water coming through the ceiling, and things flying through the air. It was quite something," he told the ABC.
"I saw it leaving out the window."
Residents described the terrifying noise that came with a tornado when it hit Tansey, further north, about 3pm.
Sandra Jaschke told the ABC there is extensive damage at her property, with the winds destroying a large carport, her laundry and a pump house, and an old abattoir on a property next door.
Teresa Francis says she's lost fruit crops, with damage to her Kumbia orchard put at $2 million.
"It knocks you down. I've stopped crying but there's worse things that can happen. We are still all ok," she told the broadcaster.
South Burnett Mayor Keith Campbell says farmers who were about to hit harvest season have suffered very significant losses.
"The hail was simply intense when it fell. It was very very prolific. It simply shredded the ears of wheat and barley that was out there to be harvested," he said.
State Opposition Leader Deb Frecklinton will ask the government to help residents in her electorate of Nanango, saying farmers had suffered a massive setback.
There are also reports that lightning has killed some cattle.