Dark clouds rumble over the Lockyer Valley during yesterday’s wild weather.
Dark clouds rumble over the Lockyer Valley during yesterday’s wild weather. David Nielsen

Furious storm batters Ipswich

THE Ipswich district was battered as a sea of dark clouds delivered heavy rain, strong winds and hail yesterday.

Rainfall of more than 50mm was recorded during the thunderstorm which swept across from the south west about 1.15pm.

Despite a tell-tale, deep blue- green tinge to the cloud, only smaller-sized hail was reported.

The strong winds however were blamed for causing severe damage throughout the region, with the SES fielding more than 70 calls for help in the first hour.

Wind gusts were blamed for downing powerlines and trees across the region and bringing down a section of the ceiling at the Ipswich Health Plaza on Bell Street.

The large metal sheet collapsed near the entrance to the plaza about 1.30pm, fortunately missing nearby pedestrians.

A witness said there was a large number of people around at the time.

“It was very, very lucky that nobody was hurt; I think someone was smiling on us today,” she said.

Police blocked both ends of Bell Street to vehicles while firefighters came in to check the area.

The metal sheet was left dangling precariously about 150cm off the ground.

The storm also affected commuters at the train station next door to the plaza, with Queensland Rail closing two platforms, causing delays during peak hour.

Power outages were reported in Booval, Brassall and North Ipswich, where a tree came down onto a house after being struck by lightning.

Chubb Lane resident Michael Corner, 55, said the branches from the tree also brought down power lines.

Mr Corner was home with his 13-year-old son Aaron when the storm came over.

“There was a big bang and sparks,” Mr Corner said.

The tree hit the front of the house, bringing down the front guttering, fence and a downpipe.

It was the second time lightning had struck the tree in the last 18 months.

He said he felt lucky it was just the house which was damaged, as his two-year-old grandson was also in the house at the time.

The storm caused an estimated $40,000 in damage at Brassall, where wind tore apart the shade sails in the shopping centre car park.

Brassall Shopping Centre manager John Tofte said it was lucky there were no injuries.

“The wind just got underneath the shade sails in the car park and tore them to pieces,” he said.

Ipswich Mayor Paul Pisasale said it was the worst storm he'd seen in years.

“We are just pleased nobody was seriously injured,” Cr Pisasale said.

“I've really got to thank the SES for their efforts; they are like angels.”

A Telstra spokeswoman said there was no significant impact on phone services in the region, with outages limited to individual customers.

Queensland Times rain watchers between Boonah and Ipswich reported wild conditions but no major damage.

Mutdapilly resident Don Hines had the most rainfall, with 52mm falling on his property.

Down at Roadvale there were falls of about 40mm.

The Department of Community Safety yesterday issued a warning to south-east Queensland residents to be aware of the dangers of flooded waterways.

A spokesman said motorists should avoid trying to drive across flooded roads.

To report storm damage, call the State Emergency Service on 132 500. In a life-threatening situation, call Triple-0.

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